Leadership Team

Rufus Pollock President and Co-Founder

Rufus Pollock

Dr Rufus Pollock is President & Founder. He’s engaged with our strategy, fundraising and our commercial-style work. He also helps oversee key governance and overall health of the organisation. He was a member of the Board of Directors for Open Knowledge from its founding in 2004 until 2013, when he stepped down as a Director but continues to act as Board Secretary.

Rufus was a Shuttleworth Foundation Fellow, and the Mead Fellow in Economics at Emmanuel College, University of Cambrige; he is an Associate of the Centre for Intellectual Property and Information Law at the University of Cambridge. He has worked extensively as a scholar and developer on the social, legal and technological issues related to the creation and sharing of knowledge. More information can be found on his home page.

Laura James Chief Executive Officer

Laura James

Laura is CEO of Open Knowledge. She’s responsible for overall management and direction of the organisation, and oversees all of our activities except for our commercial work.

Laura is a dynamic and adaptable leader who makes things happen, builds things and solves problems. She has worked extensively in technology, innovation and leadership roles in R&D, startups and other organisations, and enjoys making a positive impact on the world through her work. She has worked at AT&T Labs, was VP Engineering and the first employee at, a connected home startup, and was Head of Knowledge at True Knowledge, a startup creating an artificial intelligence search platform. Laura holds Masters and PhD degrees in Engineering from the University of Cambridge, received the Royal Academy of Engineering Leadership Award and a NESTA Crucible Fellowship, and is a Chartered Engineer. Laura is also Co-founder and Director of Makespace. More information can be found on her home page.


James Hamilton Development Director

James Hamilton

James handles grant fund-raising and reporting, and assists with financial reporting and forecasting. He is particularly interested Open Knowledge's work in developing countries, and learning more about how we can measure the impact of our amazing work.


Naomi Lillie Network Director

Naomi Lillie

Naomi has been working for Open Knowledge since 2011, and has been leading the Network team since 2012. She has a professional background in project management and coordination, and has worked in academia where the closed nature of information was a source of much frustration. Naomi lives in Edinburgh and still considers herself an English Literature graduate, although these days she reads for fun.

Neal Bastek Digital Engagement Director

Neal Bastek

Neal supports Network Unit activities including liaising with Local Groups, Working Groups, and other organisations working in the open knowledge space. He’s currently based in Williamsburg, Massachusetts, but has roots that stretch coast to coast in the U.S..

Neal is a seasoned open Internet advocate who helped launch the campaign that brought the issue of Network Neutrality into mainstream U.S. politics back in 2006. He served as the web director at Free Press for several years and landed at the Open Knowledge Foundation after a brief detour into the world of money in politics and institutional corruption at Rootstrikers.

Neal holds a Master's degree in English and is an adjunct faculty member at the University of Oregon's Applied Information Management graduate program where he teaches courses on information architecture, digital engagement, and digital content policy. He advocates for open space close to home with the [](Mill River Greenway Initiative).

Beatrice Martini Events Manager

Beatrice Martini

Beatrice curates the global events strategy and is currently organizing OKFestival 2014.

She has a Masters degree in Music Studies, sharpened her team leadership skills at digital media academy Hyper Island, Stockholm and has years of experience as project manager in the Internet startup sector.

Currently based in Berlin, she's also a core member of OpenTechSchool, a community initiative offering free programming workshops and meetups.

Theodora Middleton Press Officer

Theodora Middleton

Theodora joined Open Knowledge in 2010, and has helped out with a range of activities including managing the blog, compiling annual reports and organising the first Open Government Data Camp. She currently lives in London and works two days a week as the Open Knowledge Press Officer. Offline, her background is in grassroots campaigning for social and environmental justice, and she has a BA in History from the University of Cambridge and an MA in Legal and Political Theory from UCL. She's currently studying more law, and sometimes works in adventure playgrounds.

Christian Villum International Community Manager

Christian Villum

Christian is the International Community Manager for the Open Knowledge global network. He lives in Copenhagen, Denmark, and has a background in media and culture entrepreneurship, co-working facilitation, community creation, hacktivism - and is a dedicated open-everything advocate. He holds an MA in Culture, Communication & Globalization from Aalborg University and has previously lived, worked and studied in Berlin, New York and Chicago. On the side he is a member of the Science Friction art & technology collective and runs a few smaller projects including Uhrlaut Records, a boutique record label for challenging electronic music from Scandinavia.

Katelyn Rogers International Community Manager

Katelyn Rogers

Katelyn is the Working Groups Community Manager. She grew up in California and is currently based in London, after a four year stint in the southwest of France.

Prior to joining Open Knowledge she worked at Wateraid on WASHwatch, an online platform for monitoring governments on their delivery of water and sanitation commitments. She holds a BA in Philosophy and French from UCLA and an MSc in Public Policy and Management from KCL where she wrote her dissertation on open government data policies in the Global South.

Megan McGrattan Event Co-ordinator

Megan McGrattan

Megan is currently organizing OKFestival 2014, and with a background in storytelling and advocacy for non-profits she is an able and active connector of people and organisations.

Having previously worked for Google, where she spent much of her time working with various charities to better connect them with technology and enhance its potential for impact on their work, she is passionate about the intersection of technology and social good and works on various external projects in this field.

With a BSc in International Management, where she wrote one dissertation on Global Governance and another on Organisational Behaviour & Change Management, her interests are pretty varied, but focus around political systems, education policy and technology advocacy, with a large helping of entrepreneurship on the side.

Susanne Kendler Communications Manager

Susanne Kendler

Susanne manages Communications at Open Knowledge. She has previously split her career between working in the IT & social media industry, and in the non profit and charity sector, managing integrated marketing operations, partnership programmes, public affairs, brands, communications and social media.

Susanne is a strong believer in active citizenship and using technology to enhance communication and interaction between people, civil society organisations and politics. She is an Austrian EU citizen living in the UK, and has previously lived in Germany and the US. In her spare time Susanne campaigns on EU-cooperation and democracy issues.


Lucy Chambers Knowledge Director

Lucy Chambers

Lucy leads the Knowledge Unit, which focusses on supporting data users (particularly journalists and NGOS) by organising training via School of Data and building software tools to fix data problems.

She has been at Open Knowledge since 2011 and has worked on the OpenSpending project as a researcher and community coordinator. She co-authored the report for the Global Initiative on Fiscal Transparency on how technology can be used to promote transparency and accountability around government finance. She was also one of the editors of the the Data Journalism Handbook.

Michael Bauer Data Wrangler, School of Data

Michael Bauer

Michael lives in Vienna and works as a Data Wrangler with Open Knowledge mostly around the School of Data. After a detour in biomedical research, where he learned to love datawrangling, he spent some time doing advocacy for his passion: freedom in the digital age. He joined Open Knowledge to satisfy his curiosity. He will gladly jump on any topic that you point him to.

Tony Hirst Data Storyteller, School of Data

Tony Hirst

Tony Hirst works part time for the School of Data in shaping the materials, masterminding the blog and running workshops. He'll also be out and about on site visits to learn more about how organisations use data "in the wild" to help build on and shape the courses.

When he's not with us, he's a Lecturer in the Department of Communication and Systems at The Open University, Visiting Senior Fellow in Networked Teaching and Learning at the University of Lincoln, and regular blogger at

With a background in electronics and artificial intelligence, he has authored on OU courses ranging from robotics to information skills, and most recently a course on computer game design and appreciation. He is passionate about open and lifelong education, and is actively involved in developing course models to support informal as well as formal education.

Zara Rahman Open Development Toolkit Lead

Zara Rahman

Zara is currently based in Berlin. She previously worked for OpenOil, where she worked on opening up data in the extractive industries, focusing especially on contract transparency and improving accessibility of public domain information around the oil industry, and joined Open Knowledge as the International Community Manager in early 2013, before moving on to work on the Toolkit this year. The Open Development Toolkit provides tools and training around development data, aimed at making it as easy as possible for civil society and journalists in low-income countries to access and understand development data.

She holds a BA in Modern Languages and Cultures (French, Spanish and Arabic), and enjoys writing and reading on feminism, diversity, and a range of other topics.

Milena Marin Project Coordinator and Trainer, School of Data

Milena Marin

Milena is based in London and joined Open Knowledge as Project and Workshop Coordinator for School of Data. Among others, she will be working with and supporting local partners, building the School of Data network around the world, and organising events, workshops and trainings. Before joining us, she worked for over 4 years with Transparency International (TI) as Data and Technology Coordinator.

Anders Pedersen Community Coordinator and Business Developer, OpenSpending

Anders Pedersen

Anders Pedersen is Community coordinator at OpenSpending and currently based in The Hague. He holds an MA in Political Science from University of Copenhagen (2010). As an independent journalist he has crunched numbers on issues like health care, lobbying, taxation and the financial crisis in EU. He has worked as analyst and media professional with both the International Criminal Court and the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. As a civil servant he worked on community outreach among Somalis in Copenhagen. Through volunteer roles he has conducted trainings across East Africa and since 2010 assisted an initiative to establish a community FM radio station in Puntland, Somalia.

Neil Ashton Technical Writer and Analyst, Labs & School of Data

Neil Ashton

Neil Ashton contributes documentation, blog posts, and other web content to Open Knowledge projects including School of Data, OpenSpending, and Labs. He also collaborates with the Open Knowledge global network on research projects as a data wrangler and scientific writer.

Neil is a writer and computational linguist. His interests resist categorization, ranging from ancient languages to functional programming and combining the abstract and the socially engaged. He has done graduate research at Cornell University and the University of Alberta.

Sam Leon School of Data Fellow

Sam Leon

Sam is the School of Data Fellow, embedded in Global Witness. He lives in London and has a BA in Philosophy and an MA in the History of Ideas. He is interested in debates around open culture and the emerging discipline of the Digital Humanities.

Heather Leson Community Engagement Director

Heather Leson

Heather Leson is a community builder and idea hacker who works all aspects of community at Open Knowledge, specifically on strategy and support. She is also leading the Partnership for Open Data - this project aims to help foster Open Data community in the developing world.

Previously, Heather created and managed programs for Ushahidi’s diverse community, and mentored members of its open-source developer ecosystem. Her earlier leadership in open source communities such as Random Hacks of Kindness and CrisisCommons saw her successfully organize numerous participant-driven “unconferences”, workshops and hackathons. She is a Humanitarian OpenStreetMap board member and a Crisismapper.

Heather has 15 years of experience in technical incident management, software life-cycle development, customer care, and Internet communications. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Combined Political Science and History from Carleton University in Canada’s capital city of Ottawa, and a Library and Information Technician diploma from Seneca College of Applied Arts and Technology in Toronto.

(Photo by Photojunkie, Podcamp 2011)


Sander van der Waal Projects Director

Sander van der Waal

Overseeing many of the grant funded projects that Open Knowledge is involved with, Sander ensures any funded project will benefit maximally from cross-fertilization with other related initiatives across the wider Open Knowledge global network, both nationally and internationally. Sander has a strong background in the open source world, having advised academic projects on open source software development at OSS Watch, based at the University of Oxford. He is a committer and contributor to the Apache Software Foundation and co-organised several big and smaller open source events.

Lieke Ploeger OpenGLAM Community Manager

Lieke Ploeger

Lieke is the Community Manager of the OpenGLAM initiative and Project Manager for the DM2E project, promoting free and open access to digital cultural heritage data. Before joining Open Knowledge, she worked at the National Library of the Netherlands, where she was involved in several large-scale European research projects in the areas of digitisation and digital preservation, such as IMPACT and SCAPE. She holds an MA in Modern Western Literature and Translation Studies and also worked as a freelance translator of Dutch, English and Portuguese. She lives and works in Berlin.

Marieke Guy Project Community Coordinator, LinkedUp

Marieke Guy

Marieke lives in Cirencester and is the Project Community Coordinator for the LinkedUp project, supporting the adoption of open data by educational organisations and institutions. She previously worked as an Institutional Support Officer for the Digital Curation Centre (DCC) helping raise awareness and building capacity for research data management at UK Higher Education Institutions. Her love for all things open began during her 13 years at UKOLN, a centre of expertise in digital infrastructure and information policy based at the University of Bath. She is a big fan of remote working and writes a blog on related technologies, cultural issues and organisational attitudes.

Michelle Brook Community Coordinator, LinkedUp

Michelle Brook

Michelle is community coordinator for the LinkedUp project. She is an idealist who wants to make the world a better and more fair place. With a background in policy, she is passionate about diversity, civil liberties, democracy, and equality. She has strong interests in in open access and open research data.

When she’s not asking questions or reading, she can be found on twitter or lurking in coffee shops in London.

Mark Wainwright Open Data Evangelist

Mark Wainwright

Mark is a gay generation-X Cambridge graduate, who has worked in ESL, housing and stonecutting, inter alia. He is an expert communicator and has done a range of work for Open Knowledge, including research, documentation and testing, business development and designing and delivering training. He is particularly interested in open data as a tool for transparency and sustainable development, and in open research data. He has degrees in maths and linguistics and is addicted to crosswords and tea.

Jonathan Gray Director of Policy and Ideas

Jonathan Gray

Jonathan coordinates policy and advocacy activities to expand the open knowledge commons and helps to catalyse new projects and collaborations that use this commons to improve the world. He has helped to start numerous initiatives at Open Knowledge, including the Data Journalism Handbook, Europe’s Energy, the Open Data Challenge, OpenGLAM, OpenSpending, the Panton Fellowships and The Public Domain Review. He studied Philosophy at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge and is currently doing research in philosophy and the history of ideas at Royal Holloway, University of London.

Sally Deffor Project Coordinator, Open Data & Privacy

Sally Deffor

Sally works part-time as the Project Coordinator for the Open Data & Privacy project. She is a former Google Policy Fellow who supported the development of some initiatives on Creative Commons, Open Access and OSS at the Kofi Annan ICT Centre. She has also worked as a communications specialist with the Tax Justice Network (Africa) and the USAID/ICFG (Ghana). She currently lives in Preston where she is finishing a PhD at UCLan, looking at the digital practices of online news-making. She also spends some time volunteering in her local community.


Irina Bolychevsky Commercial Director

Irina Bolychevsky

Ira is based in London, and is the CKAN project manager and product owner. Ira oversees most things CKAN-related - evangelism, strategy, road map, design, clients, communications - and is always happy to point people in the right direction. Irina is a web-tech geek who enjoys finding better solutions to problems. In the rare moments when she isn’t busy with CKAN, she likes tea and dancing.

Nigel Babu Data Wrangler and Developer

Nigel Babu

Nigel is a web developer working out of Bangalore, India.

He loves open source as it enables him to contribute to an ever-growing intellectual pool of knowledge. When he isn't writing code for Open Knowledge, he likes to cook, play with his Raspberry Pi, or contribute to Mozilla. In the past, he's worn various hats, including a sysadmin one. Nobody is sure if he actually ever sleeps.

Vitor Baptista Developer

Vitor Baptista

Vitor is a developer at Open Knowledge, based in Brazil.

Adrià Mercader Developer, CKAN

Adrià Mercader

Adrià lives in Newcastle upon Tyne and is a software developer focused on the Web and Open technologies in general, and the geospatial field in particular. Before joining the CKAN team he built and managed several geo-related projects for different organizations, ranging from online map viewers to spatially enabled services and APIs.

David Raznick Technical Lead, CKAN

David Raznick

David lives in London and is a data analyst turned web developer with a maths background. His main interests are in databases and the general organisation of information/data, with the thinking that if everything could be organised better and people made more accountable, the world would be a better place. He formally used to work for a human rights charity in this role and wants a future sorting out more data.

Sam Smith Designer

Sam Smith

With a background in design agencies, where he spent the first seven years of his career, Sam is a graphic designer experienced in design for both on and offline media. Sam has good all round design knowledge but specialises in digital design, with a hands on approach to HTML and CSS.

You can see what Sam has been working on recently on his website.

Joe Tsoi Developer

Joe Tsoi

Joe is a developer at Open Knowledge who provides professional services and support for those interested in making the world a more open place.

Tryggvi Björgvinsson Developer and Project Manager

Tryggvi Björgvinsson

Tryggvi is a software engineer and a digital freedoms activist/promoter based in Iceland. He holds a Civilingenjörsexamen (M.Sc. equivalent) in computer engineering from Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden and a Ph.D. in software engineering from the University of Iceland. Tryggvi has a passion for digital freedoms in all of its forms and his expertise lies in free and open source software. He co-founded the Icelandic Digital Freedoms Society (FSFÍ) and has worked for and consulted the Icelandic government on various things related to our freedom in cyberspace.

Sean Hammond Software Developer and Support

Sean Hammond

Sean lives in Berlin and focuses on Python web development at CKAN. He has previously worked as the lead developer for CLICK-EAST, a research study that is developing an iPad game to help children with autism learn social and communication skills, and as a Java programming lecture at The University of Edinburgh. For his PhD, Sean developed a story authoring app for children. He enjoys crafting good code and working with open technologies.


Michelle Heydon Operations Director

Michelle Heydon

Michelle is an administrative operations all rounder. Having spent the first part of her career as a Systems Administrator, she was part of a small group from the Xerox Reseach Centre Europe who spun out a new software start-up. Although that one didn't take off, she went on to be at the birth of a further 3 IT start-ups, where she did "everything but the software" during the first few years of rapid growth. As well as being Operations Director at the Open Knowledge Foundation, she is also a director of Digital Economy Consultants and administers the Press Fellowship Programme at Wolfson College, Cambridge.

Meg Foulkes Foundation Administrator

Meg Foulkes

Meg studied English at Cambridge. Since then, she has worked as a librarian, private tutor and lawyer in Asylum and Immigration. She also works for the Freedom Movement for Syria and is a published poet. Meg is very happy to now be working for Open Knowledge.

Joel Rebello Systems Administrator

Joel Rebello

Joel is the main system administrator at Open Knowledge.

Cassandra Woolford Accounts Administrator

Cassandra Woolford

Cassandra is the Open Knowledge accounts administrator and book-keeper.