Wednesday, 28 May 2008

Barcamp NorthEast 08

In contrast to the hyper organized Thinking Digital conference, the first Barcamp NorthEast took place this weekend. Barcamp is has been described by some as the Wikipedia of conferences (in that they are user created) but i'd say is probably best described as sort of Open Source training.

Barcamp NorthEast was held in the Artworks art gallery, set up by Alistair and Gareth, and attended by Tara Hunt (or missrogue as she is sometimes known, one of the founders of the original barcamp in the states). There was no admission charge, projectors were borrowed from a local business, the food stored and prepared in a local church, chairs came from the SVDP charity across the street and each of the attendees did a talk for free (including some of the same speakers that presented at thinking digital). There was a real buzz to the event and genuine feeling of community, people borrowed each others power packs and adaptors, and worked together to come up with presentation graphics.

In many ways this was the simplest way to run a conference in the world, in other ways a completely unique experience. I met some very interesting people, added some new contacts to twitter, and learn't some very cool stuff. It was both a pleasure and an honour to attend.