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Museums and the Web

An annual conference exploring the social, cultural, design, technological, economic, and organizational issues of culture, science and heritage on-line.

UnConference Topic Proposal Session





Date & Time: 

April 12, 2012 - 1:00pm - 2:00pm


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Archives & Museum Informatics EIN: 77-0708617; GST / BN 887978914


Once again, we've set aside some time at for ad hoc un-conference sessions.

What is an un-conference?

The un-conference model emerged from the popularity of “self-organizing” BarCamps, and Open Space informal meetings, where the agenda is set by the attendees, on the spot. People come to ‘camp’ events interested in common issues and ready to share.

We’ve kept this format as a part of the conference, to offer a place to discuss emerging issues, pose [and with luck answer!] questions that are on your mind, and do it all in a less formal setting. It’s early in the meeting, so that you can find others who share your interests, and pursue those connections throughout the rest of the week.

There are a few principles to an un-conference:

  • anyone can introduce a discussion topic for a session
  • everyone is expected to engage, participate and contribute. If you hate public speaking, offer to take notes and blog them for everyone to share, or find another creative way to add something.
  • if you find yourself somewhere that you are not comfortable, follow the "Rule of Two Feet": use your own two feet to move somewhere else where you can contribute.

The session will be in two parts, pitches and breakouts.

Un-conference Pitches

Got something you want to discuss? Looking for people interested in the same things you are? Make a pitch and form an un-conference session.

  • a pitch is succinct – it can take no more than 3 minutes to express, ideally less.
  • your pitch should persuade the attendees to want to discuss it further  – open questions are much more inviting than your answers

Things to remember about pitching – un-conference sessions are:

  • topical and current – breaking news and emerging issues are the most engaging
  • informal and conversational – this is not the place to give the paper you forgot to propose
  • non-commercial – you can find out about products and services in the Exhibit Hall
  • distinct from things going on elsewhere on the program – don't trump your presentation later in the week by pitching the same thing here

We'll listen to all of the pitches together, and assign discussion spaces based on a 'show of hands' indicating interest.

Unconference Breakout Sessions: immediately following Pitches

After the pitches, groups will move to breakout areas for discussion. You'll have a good chunk of time to get your teeth into a question.  Then, we’ll all get back together for a reception in the Exhibit Hall.

Want to test the water?

Try out your idea in a comment here. See if others respond. Generate some intrerest, and be sure you'll have the best conversations you can @ MW2012.