Friday, April 24, 2009

Unconference matters at Museums and the Web 2009

One of the best bits at Museums and the Web 2009 in Indianapolis was the Unconference or ‘Contributed Content’ Session. The idea is for the agenda to be set by the attendees, so what happened was that a convenor encouraged delegates to propose subjects for discussion, with these ideas being put up on whiteboards.

The ideas were then grouped into like subjects and delegates asked by a show of hands who was interested in joining the group. Whenever more then 8 people were, they were asked to break out into separate allocated rooms. The whole process took no more than half an hour and there were quickly up to 40 groups hard at work throwing around ideas. In fact the process then continued with the breakfast tables next morning being allocated to particular subject matters.
The nature of the web and social media is that we are all feeling our way, so a conference like this was a perfect forum to throw around ideas and share experiences, and these sessions made that possible.

Interestingly, possibly because of this forward looking, an issue I noted at the conference was the lack of whinging – most museum conferences I go to around the world contain too much complaining about the state of the world and of the sector in particular – Not here!

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