BarCampMelbourne is an open, participatory, not for profit event run for technically minded people. When run in the sticks, we call it a StixCamp. When a StixCamp is held in Gembrook, we call it StixCampGembrook.
BarCamps are unconferences – gatherings of people who come together to share information, knowledge and experience in a friendly, laid back environment. BarCamps are participatory rather than passive events – attendees are expected to present, to share and to contribute to the event. In this vein, the agenda for the BarCamp is set on the day, through a tradition of attendees who wish to speak writing their topic on a post it note. The post it notes are then combined into streams.
Attendees then choose which presentations they want to see – this is the ‘rule of two feet’ and helps to ensure that people get the most out of BarCamp. Presenters who don’t have a huge audience are not offended in the least – as attendees are learning what they wish to.
Organisers, who are volunteers, often use social media such as Twitter, IRC etc to run BarCampMelbourne. Participants use tools such as blogs to make their presentations and follow up materials available after the event, usually on a Creative Commons basis. BarCamps usually provide free internet access and it is usual to see lots of laptops, gadgets and techy toys. The organisers seek sponsorship from companies and government to help make the event as cheap as possible for participants.
The behaviours encouraged at BarCamp are sharing of knowledge, participating through activities such as presenting, organising and contributing to questions and discussions. The behaviours discouraged at BarCamp are those such as excluding or belittling others, not participating, or detracting from others’ presentations.