Barcamps: The Unconference Revolution

 Have you ever attended a conference and felt like the sessions were too scripted or the speakers didn't engage with the audience? Enter barcamps, the antidote to traditional conferences.

Barcamps are participant-driven unconferences where the attendees create and present the content. The concept originated in 2005 in Silicon Valley and has since spread worldwide, with events held in diverse fields such as technology, education, politics, and art.

Unlike traditional conferences, where speakers are selected in advance, barcamp attendees propose sessions on the day of the event. These sessions can be talks, workshops, discussions, or even performances. Attendees then vote on which sessions to attend, creating a more democratic and participatory experience.

One example of a successful barcamp is the annual Rotary Barcamp, which brings together Rotarians from different clubs and districts to exchange ideas and best practices. The sessions cover topics ranging from membership growth and community service projects to leadership development and fundraising strategies.

Another example is the Global Education Barcamp, which focuses on innovations in education and brings together educators, policymakers, and activists from around the world. Sessions cover topics such as edtech, student-centered learning, and global citizenship.

Barcamps are more than just a new way to attend conferences. They represent a shift in the way we approach learning and collaboration. By putting the participants in charge of the content, barcamps create an environment where creativity and collaboration can thrive.

In the context of Rotary, barcamps offer a unique opportunity to connect with other Rotarians and exchange ideas across different clubs and districts. By bringing together Rotarians from different regions, barcamps create a space for networking and cross-pollination of ideas. This can lead to new partnerships, projects, and initiatives that can have a real impact on communities around the world.

In conclusion, barcamps are a revolutionary concept that challenge the traditional conference model. They provide an opportunity for participants to take control of their learning and create a more collaborative and democratic experience. With successful examples in the Rotary world, there is no reason why more organizations shouldn't embrace this concept to drive innovation and collaboration.


Das erste Rotary Distrikt 1910 Barcamp findet am 4. März 2023 in Wien statt. 

This article appears in Rotaract Newsletter No. 2

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