Carla Swank Fox
Co-founder & Lead Organizer for Craft Content Nashville
July 5, 2018 · 5 min read
So, what's an unconference, anyway?
ProductCamp Nashville is one of several "unconference" events hosted by members of the technology community in Nashville.
What's an unconference? We're so glad you asked.
Believe it or not, the term "unconference" actually has its own Wikipedia page now. (Yes, really. You can read it here.)
Nashville is home to three unconferences — ProductCamp Nashville, BarCamp Nashville, and Craft Content Nashville — and all are backed by TechFed Nashville, a non-profit organization formed to support and grow the grassroots tech talent in Middle Tennessee. Each unconference is organized by a team of volunteers, who donate their time and energy to make each event successful.
While each unconference in Nashville has its own unique characteristics, there are several shared values:
Content is driven by the attendees. That means that the people who sign up to attend the event help control the topics discussed during the event. An open call for session proposals is held and the planning committee does not curate sessions.
The event is easily accessible. Other than some incidental costs, the event is produced at little to no cost to the attendee.
The "Law of Two Feet" applies. This is one of the more unique aspects of an unconference. If you’re in a session and it’s not what you thought it would be, or there are two sessions happening simultaneously and you want to catch a little bit of each, you can get up quietly and walk out. It’s not rude … in fact, it’s encouraged! There’s a constant sense of movement throughout the day, giving the event a unique energy. This is your event and we want all attendees to get as much out of it as they can.
Conversation is strongly encouraged. Did you attend a session that really captured your attention, and you want to continue the conversation? It’s OK to skip a time slot and keep talking. We only ask that you vacate the session rooms in a timely fashion so the next group of presenters and attendees has enough time to prepare. Some of the most valuable takeaways at unconferences happen during impromptu conversations between, during, or after sessions.
So that's an unconference! If you've never attended one, why not make PoductCamp Nashville your first experience? We'd love to see you there.
Carla Swank Fox is the co-founder and lead organizer of Craft Content Nashville, a sister unconference to ProductCamp Nashville, and has been involved in the planning of unconferences since 2008 in both Nashville and Pittsburgh. She is also Marketing Coordinator for TechFed Nashville.