I am on the train coming back from a great couple of days at EventCamp East Coast. The model is that of an Un-Conference – a safe place for attendees to gather and to exchange knowledge and ideas though user generated content. EventCamp is a conference that has developed through a group of events professionals that have come together through many channels but originally met and are still involved on twitter and the eventprofs #hashtag.
This is the third in what is an ongoing conference series. The National EventCamp will be in Chicago on February 11-13, 2011. The EventCamp East Coast was planned around the format of Adrian Segar Un-conference style that he wrote about in his book Conferences that Work – Creating Events that People Love.
Here are my observations:
I really enjoyed the style of this smaller more intimate conference. We all were placed on an equal playing field with a beginning roundtable of introductions that allowed us all to hear about each other.
In retrospect I realized that this and other methods employed really allowed us all to get to know each of the 40 people well, better then other conferences that I have been to with 2000 attendees. It is kind of a fascinating idea if you think about it.
The content was developed through ideas that we all brought to the table. Adrian took us through the process that he has developed and that process involved our interests and our knowledge. We all participated in identifying the sessions that we wanted, rated them and added our expertise level if applicable. We did this through writing on sheets of paper. This all took place over a dinner and cocktail evening of networking. After all the info was in, Adrian worked with a team of several people to identify what each one hour block of time would be for our curriculum for the next day.
When we arrived to the venue we had our schedule. At that time I learned that I would indeed be facilitating a class in Design. I recruited the other designers at the event as I knew my session needed to be a focused conversation. I was happy to jump in and I am excited to explore my topic in a more focused way in the future. This process made me accountable for my topic and although I have been thinking of teaching a class on design this activity catapulted me into ACTION. I appreciate that! And I believe all of us involved in my session had a good learning experience.
Knowledge and Interaction
Overall the sessions I attended went smoothly as I learned a lot, both about the un-conference structure and the knowledge I gained at each session I attended. Another benefit was the excitement I now have about my topic that I am determined to uncover more. Meeting new eventprofs and continuing established relationships was great and as I said earlier – the quality and depth of relationship that we were able to achieve in this short time was remarkable.
Face to Face Engagement
In my view, this particular EventCamp had a “camp” feel, no fancy props, not a lot of tech, in fact many pens and paper. This crowd is fairly tech and social media savvy and I found our task at hand caused us to “be in the moment” and it kept us all off of our mobile devices and computers. My point in bringing this up is that we truly all were paying attention to each other and our topics and this proved the un-conference style worked and it once again proved that there is NO REPLACEMENT for Face to Face engagement!
Howard Givner‘s observations
Sam Smith‘s thoughts
Cameron Toth weighs in
Eric Lukazewski‘s POV – Back to Basics part 1
Carolyn Ray says
Mitchell Beers perspective
What Jenise Fryatt has to say
Jenise also says
A different look at it all from Michael McCurry
BizBash speaks again! My back is in this shot!