BarCampNorthEast

So on top of the thinking digital conference there was also a barcamp arranged by Gareth and Alistar. I had heard there were troubles with the venue right to the very last day regarding costs but the event went ahead without a problem. Unlike most other barcamps, the North East one took place in a small art gallery in Newcastle. the venue was very open and sometime you did get bleed from other speakers near by, but generally the spaces were big enough to accommodate most people. There were 4 spaces, and 2 of them had projectors. So most people opted for talks instead of presentations. These actually worked very well, for example Tara Hunts talk about mind hacks was attended by almost everyone in a werewolf like circle. But it wasn't just the celebs drawing the crowds, a session about the gender unbalance in geek events went down a storm and some of the guys said they felt privileged to have been involved. Smaller talks like the OLPC vs Thin Client computing went down well with some passionate debate. Talking about passion, the werewolf games after midnight started a huge debate about cross examination and the rules of the game. Without going into so much detail as to bore you all. If you got someone defending themselves and you want to butt in on a point. I feel you should be able to, if its very relevant and timely. No you can't start a conversation and no its not in the rules, but hell i'd let it go if I was moderating. Having official cross examination time slows the game down and isn't always needed speacially if the players are as passionate to kill the werewolves as last night. Another point about yesterday, never listen to a player for the final word once the game as started. Always speak to the moderator directly as he/she will give you the correct/right answer. Not one which suits themselves. Emma did a great job of telling everyone the rules but after the cards were delt. This is maybe the reason why the werewolves won the first game so easily.

Generally the BarCamp lacked people, there were at the peak about 40 people i beleive. About 10 stayed over which is a good percentage I guess. The food was ok, but we could have done with some more variaty I guess. There was also no end session, just everyone going to Belle & Herbs (which is great) which was a shame because it would have been nice to get peoples view on how it all went. I also felt having some people wondering through the barcamp looking at art pieces was a little ignoying and made me feel a little less trusting of leaving my stuff around. The board slots were also quite empty too, this could be down to the lack of people. If we had more people say 80, it would have felt more packed and more like a event. Overall it was a good event and worth attending, Gareth and Alistar worked hard on this event with additional help from people Vikki and Meri. I wouldn't mind using the same venue again for number 2. But theres already plans a foot for number 2. Keep your eyes peeled

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Author: Ianforrester

Senior firestarter at BBC R&D, emergent technology expert and serial social geek event organiser.