What is BarCamp Manchester?

Posted on Posted in BarCamp Manchester 2015

BarCamp Manchester is an annual 2 day tech unconference. While attendees predominantly hail from the tech sector, our topics also often cover all STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and maths), and much much more!

So, what is a BarCamp?

Long before BarCamp, there were conferences. And they sort of sucked in various ways. Lots of people found that the interesting content at conferences wasn’t so much the formal presentations as the discussion that took place in the hallway, the “lobby track” as it has come to be known. It seems quite strange: you pay sometimes quite a sizeable amount of money to attend a conference, and then you don’t spend any time actually listening to the material presented at the conference.

But there is a problem with the lobby track that doesn’t exist with the formal tracks: it doesn’t necessarily scale to include everyone. If you are a little bit shy or socially awkward, perhaps you don’t get talked to if you try and enjoy the lobby track. What if there were events where the formal track and the lobby track were very, very similar?

Enter the unconference. The unconference is a conference that every attendee is allowed to participate in, much like anyone can have a blog, or anyone can edit Wikipedia. The distinction between speakers and listeners is blurred because if you are attending, you will probably be speaking also. Sessions are less like lectures and more like conversations. There are lots of small groups. To use an academic analogy, it is more like a seminar than a lecture; organisers and speakers are more like convenors than lecturers. The traditional conference panel is rarely present in unconferences.

What makes a BarCamp so special is that the relaxed environment and wider appeal means that the range of attendees and the subjects they are interested in varies much more than targeted audience conferences. This means that there are more new people for you to connect with, more information that can be shared and more topics to learn about.

The other big aspect of the BarCamp is the fun factor! While being less strict on what topics can be covered, there are all sorts of new and interesting things you can discover at a BarCamp. We’re big on pushing the community aspect too, so all BarCamps are free to attend, with costs covered by sponsorship from companies who want to support the community and get more involved, and we have plenty of cool SWAG for you to take home too!

So if you’re still not sure if a BarCamp is for you, I’ll tell you a secret, BarCamps are for EVERYONE! If you have passion, a thirst for knowledge and a desire to get involved then the BarCamp is the perfect place for you.

BarCamp Manchester 6 will be held on the 26th and 27th September 2015 at the Auto Trader Offices on First Street in Manchester. If you would like to join us, please join our mailing list to make sure you’re the first to find out when tickets will be released.

If you’re interested in sponsoring this year’s event, please check out our available sponsorship packages here.

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