What is an Unconference or Camp?

This is the question I put to Twitter today.  Here are some of the responses I received:

@DartmouthMuseum  No idea what it means. Needs explaining in 140 chars or less

@NeallM  that it should be a good concept but actually makes me think it will be a disorganised mess.  Is that good or bad? @NeallM Bad. It makes me think I won’t get much from it, and won’t be worth my time / money. I am aware that am basing this on a few bad experiences. But marketing / blurb would have to help me overcome that.

@JanMinihane  an informal gathering of people with a common interest who want to throw ideas around/push boundaries 🙂 Have been to 1

And my favourite: RT @jenniwaugh: Cake!

But what *is* a Museum Camp or an Unconference?

It’s a forum for like-minded people (in this case anyone who visits, likes, works, wants to work, etc with museums, galleries, culture venues). While they might be new to some, these productive gatherings have been running successfully for a few years.

What do they do?

It starts by members pitching ideas of what to talk about.  You might come with a discussion in mind or you might be there to listen.  Or you might be there for networking. Or cake.

People share their ideas for a session and roughly 5 or 6 are chosen.  Those not speaking can choose which talk they’d like to attend.

The talks are usually less than an hour.

As a speaker, this doesn’t mean you’re forced to talk for an hour though – it only means you get the conversation going with your thought/idea and others join in with their thoughts and ideas.

As a member, you’re not committed to stay for the hour should you feel it’s not for you.

Basically, it’s an organized chaos but in a worth while way!

Is there an agenda for the day?

No.  Not really.  There are a few people that will attend with ideas but it’s not a requirement. The goal of the day is to flush out thoughts and ideas that don’t fit conventionally in other conferences and meetings.

Why should I attend?

  1. It’s Free.
  2. To gain knowledge
  3. To participate
  4. To network
  5. To have a forum to ask questions that aren’t addressed ‘normal’ conferences
  6. Cake!