Links on unconferences
We are talking about "Reboot and other unconferences" at work, so I have been collecting all kinds of relevant links (more at del.icio.us/mathemagenic/unconferences):
An Open-Source Conference: BarCamp by Anders Ramsay - for an impressionistic overview. Also, on "why?":
More than just an alternative model for facilitating a rich exchange of ideas, BarCamp seems to represent a generational break from conventional professional gatherings. They usually take a year or so to plan, cost tens of thousands of dollars to execute, often have some corporate backing, and are mostly planned over email. In contrast, the first BarCamp was put together in about six days, mostly via instant messaging, SMS, and ad-hoc wikis, for a cost of about $1,500, which is less than the price of a single ticket to some of the more high-end tech conferences. Stripped away are the constructs adopted by major conferences from academia, such as keynotes, posters, formal calls for papers, and peer reviews. Gone too is the presenter/attendee divide, where those not giving talks too often are passive spectators, except maybe for the occasional end-of-talk Q&A.
The informal feel of the event also makes people less concerned about presenting fully developed ideas, instead, increasing the comfort-level of throwing out off-the-wall ideas just to see what the response is. And by the same virtue, an audience who, in a more formal setting, might politely listen quietly to a not-so-great presentation, is more comfortable speaking up, maybe even turning the presentation into a workshop to see how a bad idea can be turned into a good one.
Conference vs. Unconference by David Gammel - summarising the alternatives
- high-level organisation
- facilitation and specific tips
There is definitely more :)