BarCampMediaCityUK coming to BBC North this September

Next month will see Media City host it’s first ‘Bar Camp’ – an informal conference with discussions, demos and activities all organised by the attendees.

BarCampMediaCityUK will take place at BBC North on the 17th and 18th September, and is the brainchild of Ian Forrester, Senior Producer at BBC R&D.

We caught up with Ian to find out exactly what a Bar Camp is, and what people can expect from BarCampMediaCityUK….

Q. In a nutshell, what is a ‘Bar Camp’?

A: BarCamp is an international set of user-created conferences (or also known as unconferences). They are open, participatory events and the content of is provided by the people who make the event. Everyone helps shape the event and make it a special event.

Q. What kind of activities and sessions do you expect will be taking place at BarCampMediaCityUK?

A: The nature of BarCamp is that anything can be discussed. People can give a presentation, lead an open talk, give a workshop or tutorial, almost anything goes within the allocated session time.

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Ian Forrester, BBC

In the past there has been talks about how to mix the perfect cocktail, how to ride a segway, what is openness, how to inspire your employees to more practical things like a debate different modern programming languages, making use of twitter for marketing, working from home more effectively, etc, etc.

Q. What is your aim in organising a Bar camp at Media City, and what do you hope the outcome will be?

A: From the very start, I always felt the BBC would be a fantastic place to host a BarCamp. There’s a real spirit that we’re creating something very new in MediaCityUK. Part of that spirit is opening up the BBC for our audiences to collaborate directly with us. By running a barcamp we are opening the door wide for people to tell us whats important to them. No matter how difficult that might be to hear.

Q. Do you see Bar Camp at Media City becoming a regular event?

A: The nature of BarCamp is its an event which you only get to host once, this is why we are pulling out all the stops to make this an unbelievable event.

Saying that, I believe BarCamp is one of those extraordinary and inspiring events. Once you host a barcamp, you can host almost anything. There’s already thoughts about other community events we could host following BarCamp.

I expect MediaCity will be a destination for some incredible and hopefully life changing events.

Q. What kind of people do you expect will be interested in Bar Camp?

A: BarCamps is for everyone… Although it has a geeky image and most of the ones in Manchester to date have fit in that mold. There have been noticeable exceptions and they have been extra special.

BarCampManchester2 was held at the Contact Theatre on Oxford Road and there was a mix of young people giving talks and performances which brought something special to the BarCamp format. One of the defining moments of that BarCamp was having geeks beat-boxing with the inner-city youth of Contact.

So we’re really unsure of who we may get, we just hope there open, sharing and willing to give there whole to the experience of BarCamp. Thats all we can hope for…

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BarCamp Manchester

Q. What advantages does Media City provide as a venue for Bar Camp, if any?

A: MediaCity has a vibe that the rules are not set, there’s a real feeling that we can change the BBC, the industry and the country forever in a great way forever. It will take time and this may only be a single step in that direction.

As mentioned before, its something I’ve personally been trying to get off the ground for 5 years and the fact we were able to get the go ahead for a full barcamp quickly and smoothly. Demonstrates that the wait was worth while and this will be something we will be talking about for years to come.

Q. Who is behind BarCampMediaCity?

A: BarCampMediaCity is arranged by a group of people including myself, Ian Forrester (BBC R&D), Aesha Zafar (BBC North), Simon Lumb (BBC Gamesgrid) and a group called the Geeks of London which is made up of Cristiano Betta, Kevin Prince and many others. They took BarCampLondon on when I left London and we’ve been impressed how well they have arranged, organise and run BarCamps in London ever since. It made logical sense to pick the best of the best in the country to co-organise BarCampMediaCity.

Me personally I work at BBC R&D and have been at the BBC for 7 years. I moved early to Manchester after the BBC announced details about the move to MediaCityUK. Its been a great move and I feel we’ve only just started…

Tickets for BarCampMediaCityUK will be made available here – though the first batch has currently sold out (more tickets will be made available in the near future).

For more information be sure to visit the Bar Camp website – barcampmediacity.co.uk

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