What is a BarCamp?
Barcamp is an international network of user generated conferences — open, participatory workshop-events, whose content is provided by participants —
Totally different to regular conferences, BarCamps are more open and less structured. This means, when you arrive, you’re going to see a white board with empty time table, where you can jot down what you’d like to talk about. It’s an opportunity for people from all backgrounds and all skill levels to have a go at sharing some knowledge.
How can I prepare?
- Have a think about the general theme of the event & associated topics that interest you: Could you talk about any experiences you’ve had, questions you’ve answered by either successfully completing a project or, if you’re brave, through a failure you’ve gone through.
- Look at the list of attendees, which should be public at Barcamp Ethiopia registration page. Anyone you want to meet and get to know? The day will fly by so be sure to go say hi at the first opportunity!
- Have an open mind: Join a session on a topic you know nothing about, play a game with new friends or start a conversation with the next stranger you meet.
- Arrive on time: Come early if you want/can help with registration and setup, but don’t show up too late or you might miss on some of the social activity and goodies.
Tackling your first presentation
Presentation slots are generally 30-40 minutes, so you don’t need to do a doctorate thesis. It’s definitely not all about monologuing in front of the group for the full half-hour, it’s about sharing your experiences, asking others to pitch in with ideas or just leading a useful conversation.
- Present something simple that people with less experience, who are new to the topic, might be interested in.
- Not sure what level of knowledge others will have? Present something completely wild and silly (“how to make the perfect margarita”, “how to build a helicopter with waste material”, “how to dance Salsa”)
- Nervous about being in front of people? Do a shared presentation with someone who complements your skills well. You’ll have someone to lean on when you’re not sure what to say next, and it’s more fun together.
If I don’t really want to make a presentation?
Still getting cold feet? You can still help in a number of ways. The organisers are volunteers and (generally) have only two hands each. So if you’re not too keen on doing a presentation, why not lend a hand with registration, coffee breaks, cleaning up or setting up the sound system?
Documentation is one way to participate. Record a video and upload it on youtube, write a blog about the sessions. Tweet regularly; use the hash tag of the theme. Take pictures and guide some people when you feel they are lost.
What do I need to pack?
It is a two full day’s event. You need to pack certain items that you might use at barcamp.
- Laptop if you want to blog or take notes during the event. Don’t forget your charger (and adaptor) your screen adaptor if you need to plug into a projector.
- Business cards: more cards come highly recommended. Make sure you have somewhere safe to store the cards you’re given.
- Scribble notebook & pen: You might not want to have your laptop out at all times, so pen and paper is essential.
- Power extension: If you can, bring a power bar to plug into the much-coveted few outlets. It’ll allow more people to benefit from power during the day.
- Video/photo camera: Immortalize the day in video and photos. Be sure to upload your content and tag it with the event’s hashtags (eg. #bce13)
- Money: It is advisable to bring some cash to buy food & drinks.
- Materials: Bring your presentation or demo (if you have one) on a USB stick.
*: most of the content of this gridline is taken from a website “that Canadian girl archive”