Im thinking heavily about running an Unconference or QualCamp at Sydney Uni next year..a what? I hear you say...
Here is how it works..first the things not done
No pompous plenaries or panels
No prepared talks
No $780 rego fees
No horrible meals
No domination by people who want to show off
Unconferences are a new trend, about 5 years or so in Australia, (see News-com.au article ) where the emphasis is placed on collaborative learning rather than pontificating....basically everyone is a particpant, they all turn up and through skilled facilitation develop the agenda on the first day.....a number of streams might be developed, cented around actual problem solving, story telling and also teaching technical skills...but there are no dyadic talks..maybe 7mins max of talk time given to many people, then discussion...
If we held one at Uni, for example, 100 people might meet in the quadrangle then split up based on interests and find spaces to run sessions.. uni cafes, parks, Glebe Point Road cafes, lecture theatres, lecture rooms wherever..
Instead of panels there are Unpanels done in a fishbowl discussion style with speakers in the middle, rotating with participants..
Spectrograms can be used to place people along a continuum of agreement/disagreement with a controversial topic..people are then interviewed along the line
Community-Mapping can be done to visually picture how everyones research projects are related to each other....
..also Lightening Talks, SpeedGeeking and more...
There are many other creative ideas..check this blog and others.......want to be involved?