I’ve heard that “unconferences” are ways of organising such participatory events, but I’m not sure what unconferences are, or how to find out about them. It all seems so daunting. Where should I start?
In my experience, I think that when you don’t know where to start, you should first go and browse and search for relevant information to understand what is non-conference. After reviewing the material and having an understanding of the basic concepts, you can go and read the appropriate literature to clarify the next tasks and goals.
For this two-week assignment, I read Chapter 4 of Mob Rule Learning : Camps, Unconferences, and Trashing the Talking Head’s HOW TO PLAN AND EXECUTE A SUCCESSFUL CAMP(Boule, 2011).
Having read this section I believe that, having built and empowered an open arts learning toolkit, the next step is to make a relevant time plan for the unconference.
- 1 year to 2 months before the event
- Form a Planning Group — PG (2-5 people)
- Decide a topic
- Find a location for the event and specify the number of people
- Decide on the style of facilitaion.（And the engagement of participants — schedule, presentation or facilitation styles, and topics）
- Create a time limit
- Manage accommodation (if the unconference is more than one day)
- Dealing with food matters (snacks, drinks, regular meals, etc.)
- Addressing funding needs (sponsors/fees)
- 1-2 months before the event
- Online promotion and publicity（on lists, blogs, Twitter, and Facebook, and through professional organizations）
- Engage in guerrilla marketing.（flyers, wear a T-shirt or button advertising your unconference — Other professional conference members）
- Informing participants of schedules and plans (full information in advance)
- Create a tentative schedule（Detailed unconference schedule）
- Collect and order commemorative gifts for the event
- Call for event volunteers
- 1-2 weeks before the event
- Print or provide name tags.
- Gather the supplies needed:（power strips, flip charts,
- markers, blank paper, pens, projectors, laptops, etc.）
- Double-check the venue, food order
- The day of unconference
- Make sure that all participants know their jobs, and then let the mob loose.
- Explain the procedure to newcomers before the event and ensure that volunteers are available to answer questions.
- Have Fun.
With such a time schedule as a reference, we can adapt it to our content and time, and prepare and plan in a step-by-step manner before the non-meeting starts, then there will be no procrastination or anxiety.
Another thing I think of when I don’t know what to do is to talk to my friends and ask for advice and help from my peers when necessary. Being on our own often creates anxiety when we are overwhelmed, but talking to people does not. This is because when we are faced with a difficult problem, we always get stuck in our own closed minds. But because everyone thinks and thinks differently, we can always come up with new inspiration when we share and discuss with others. For example, in Weird, at first I had no idea what to do with the material I had already worked on, but after discussing it with the group, we came up with the idea of using the cards to plan our Score, so I think that discussing it with your peers can be a very effective option when you don’t know how to proceed.
- Boule, Michelle. Mob Rule Learning : Camps, Unconferences, and Trashing the Talking Head, Information Today, Inc., 2011. ProQuest Ebook Central, https://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/ed/detail.action?docID=775443.