Meet the OpenCarers

What can we learn from under-the-radar projects at the intersections of open tech & science, communities and healthcare?  

In this event we meet their protagonists and present findings from a massive 2 year research project on community driven care.


A track within the OpenVillage Festival

19-21 October 2017, Brussels

OpenCares are a global community of individuals working together to make health- and social care accessible for all, open source, privacy-friendly and participatory. We start from the assumption that state and private institutions will be unable to meet the demands for care in the 21st century and that new, more open, participatory, community-based methods are required.

For most of humanity’s history, care services – which today we call health and social care – were provided by communities: family members, friends and neighbours would check on each other to make sure everyone was fine, keep an eye on each other’s children or elderly parents, even administer simple medical treatments. Starting from the second half of the 20th century, developed countries switched to systems where the care providers were professionals, working for the government and modern corporations.

This new solution has achieved brilliant results, based on the deployment of scientific knowledge and technology. However, over the past 20 years it has come under growing strain: the demand for professional care (health care, social care, daycare for children, care for elderly people…) seems limitless, but the resources our economies allocate to it clearly are not. Additionally, any attempt to rationalise the system and squeeze some extra productivity out of it seems to dehumanise people in need of care, who get treated as batches in a manufacturing process.

What if we could come up with a system that combines the access to modern science and technology of state- and private sector-provided care to the low overhead and human touch of community-provided care?

We are attempting to do just that. Meet the OpenCarers will showcare the results of OpenCare, a two-year, 1.6 million euro research project to design and prototype new care services.  By the end of this project we will have:

  • collected experiences of community-driven care services
  • validated them through open discussion, both online and offline.
  • augmented them with state-of-the-art maker technology (3D printing, laser cutting, biohacking…)
  • combined everything we learn into the design and prototype of next generation community-driven care services.

This is way too ambitious for us to do alone, so we are doing it with everybody, leveraging collective intelligence. The whole process is – and will stay – open to anyone who wants to participate. We operate under a social contract to acknowledge each and every contribution; we do not make participants into a crowd of rightless volunteers.

Care is deeply human. Everyone has first hand experience of it. Even those of us who are not doctors or nurses or caregivers are occasionally patients (even doctors!); we all have first-hand experience of giving and recieving care. So, everyone is welcome to join the conversation and the subsequent prototypes.

In Meet The OpenCarers, a track within the OpenVillage Festival, we will:

  • Participate in community care-related talks, debates, workshops & business development
  • Explore new technologies, methodologies & collaboration opportunities in community care
  • Discover innovative new technologies, products and services in the exhibition.

To get a ticket to this part of the OpenVillage Festival is easy:

  1. Create an account on
  2. Read 3 conversations about how others are innovating in care & leave thoughtful comments here
  3. Submit a proposal for a session, or tell others about your experiences of giving and receiving care. Share this as a story here


Partner organisations

This track of the OpenVillage has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 688670