The Unconference

I was just browsing through the program for the Innovate/Activate Free Culture conference going on in Berkeley this upcoming weekend and I saw a word in a timeblock that I hadn’t seen in a while: “Unconference

I’ve come across this term in the past, and always kind of dismissed it. I was here at this conference to learn something, damn it! I’m not going to waste my time shuffling around with other conference goers chatting idly.

But when I saw the word again, my entire impression changed. I think I got a sense, for the first time, of what an “unconference” was.

It was a formal timeblock for conference goers to have all the conversations that normally take place in half-stolen seconds between panels, and in poorly lit and loudly played night scenes. It was a space for idle notions to grow into yearning projects. A space to bring yourself to the table, among other people who were there for the exact same reason.

I have no idea if the “unconference” of reality is anything like the sylvan garden I’ve described above. But this is my idea of what it might be.


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