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Unconference Definition

Page history last edited by Amanda French 10 years, 3 months ago

So Just What Is An Unconference?

 

According to Wikipedia, an unconference is "a facilitated, participant-driven conference centered around a theme or purpose. The term "unconference" has been applied, or self-applied, to a wide range of gatherings that try to avoid one or more aspects of a conventional conference, such as high fees and sponsored presentations. See also http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unconference

 

So, what does the unconference avoid that you would find in a typical conference?

 

  • sitting in one place for a long time
  • the need for lots of caffeine
  • letting others do the work  

 

Participants at an unconference are expected to propose topics they'd like to discuss ahead of time, usually on a wiki. Participants come prepared to discuss the topics they have proposed, though modification and even new topics are allowed and encouraged. When the conference begins, a list is made of the the topics people would like to discuss or present. A final agenda is then decided based on participant interest—with some topics falling by the wayside.

 

Unconferences have a reputation for being inspired gatherings were the drive and initiative of the participants is allowed to direct the proceedings. Instead of papers being read that represent work that is several months old, unconferences allow participants to present work that is absolutely current and perhaps more importantly, fosters unexpected collaboration and discovery. This is because much of the real work of an unconference takes the form of a roundtable or workshop where the presenter/audience structure is largely removed and each participant is a fully engaged contributor.

 

It seems to us that MCN is an ideal environment to launch an unconference-within-a-conference since it is a gathering of highly motivated, often ingenious participants who come to the museum from a very broad range of disciplines.

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