towards a BarCamp in Birmingham, UK

towards a BarCamp in Birmingham (UK) = BrumBarCamp

part of the exhibit innardsThe time has come to put some writing on a blog and see if we can put together a BarCamp for Birmingham (the UK version – so not this one) – hence BrumBarCamp.

I’m really keen to get a BrumBarCamp up and running, and it seems like some other bunnies are also starting to talk about it, so … let’s do it!

For anyone interested in co-organising – leave me a comment. Once a few Things Are Sorted Out, I expect we’ll need to set up a proper site/wiki/whatever, but until that time, a Plain Old Blog’ll do.

For BarCamp newbies – take a look at the extensive resources over on the official BarCamp site – especially what it is and the rules. Essentially, BarCamp is an unconference for people to chat and share ideas about technology: everyone who attends is a participant, so attendees either give a talk or help out in some way. That way, BrumBarCamp is a collaborative sharing and learning experience for everyone interested in geeking out. Possibly with pizza.

Filed under: general, ,

I did the math #brumbarcamp

In a previous post, I outlined our venue requirements, guesstimating 60-100 people over 2 days with 3 rooms, talks being 30 mins each (including questions and 5 mins to shuffle around and change rooms).

I thought I’d better check that that adds up, so here is my working out:

SAT – let’s assume we do some introductions (3 tags each) and a brief overview of the camp for those who haven’t been to a barcamp before (including me ;)) plus logistics and fire exity type things, so start the actual talks at 11. Also assume we leave nice long lunch breaks for chatting and general geeking out.

That leaves, say:

  • 11 – 1 talks – 2 hours @ 2 talks an hour @ 3 rooms = 12.
  • then 1.5 hrs for lunch 12-2:30
  • afternoon session – 2:30-7 (hopefully that won’t fill up people’s brains too much) – 4.5 hrs @ 2 talks an hour @ 3 rooms =27.

Worryingly small total for day 1 = 39 talks.


  • Start at 10, go till 1 – 3 hrs @ 2 talks an hour @ 3 rooms = 18
  • Lunch 1-2:30, then talks 2:30 – 5 – 3.5 hrs @ 2 talks an hour @ 3 rooms = 21 talks

Total for day 2 = 39 again – so overall total is 78.

That looks OK, other than Sunday seeming quite full-on – would everyone want to stay till 5? I think we need a brief wrap-up session, but that could be 10 mins max.

Assuming that approx 10 attendees are there to help out rather than to talk – as the ethos of barcamp is that everyone participates in some way (and if you’re interesting in helping to organise, please DM @brumbarcamp), then on the numbers above,  we could probably issue 90 (free) tickets to fit in 78 talks. Better still would be finding a venue with 4 rooms, so we could fit more talks in if need be, and reduce the talk load on the Sunday.

Whaddya think, potential attendees?

Filed under: logistics, venue,

venue requirements #brumbarcamp

From all the discussions on this site and in Real Life, I’ve come up with the following list of venue requirements. Now all we need to do is find a venue that fits in Birmingham …

  1. space for 60-100 people in a Main Room
  2. at least 2 additional breakout/conference rooms (to fit min 20 peeps?)
  3. an additional Milling Around Vaguely and nomming area (because hopefully we’ll get sandwich sponsors)
  4. overnight facilities: comfyish floor;  showers; heating
  5. Wi-Fi
  6. 3 projectors, 3 screens+ back up facilities (I believe projector bulbs are about £54542)
  7. shed load of power points (plus get people to bring 4 gangs)
  8. openable over the weekend (security? insurance?)

Would be *even* more pleasing if they were shiny tech offices – the most recent London BarCamp was hosted at The Guardian’s new premises, but that’s very much a NTH.

Anything I’ve missed off? Do you know any venues that meet these criteria?

Filed under: venue

Would Like To See #brumbarcamp

Just browsing through the original BarCamp list of things in which they were interested …  naturally the presentations are down to the participants, but here’s  a few of my hope-to-sees; would be great to see yours too.

  • discussion of what data would be most handy to wrestle off the Council in mashupable format(s) [since Dave Harte mentioned it, might be nice to try and get ’em to free up something that’ll actually be used]
  • arduino projects / soldering for the ham-fisted
  • new and interesting ways to network a/my cat
  • rapid prototyping tools/software: ninja overview; which to use when
  • what will happen when everyone in Birmingham has at least one blog: strategies for filtering the quagmire
  • ubiquitous computing and rubbish mobile phone UIs: how to bridge the gap
  • anything exploring feedback loops between real manifestations of things and virtual representations (e.g. using processing, PureData, fluxus etc. to alter visuals based on real-world changes e.g. in background noise/music/temperature/ people’s  movements)

Filed under: topics

how long should BrumBarCamp be?

Many BarCamps are 2 days, including (optional) sleepover, which has implications for the venue (at least you’d want a few showers and some kind of boingy floor).

However, reading the BarCamp how-tos, there seems to be a fall-off in attendance for the second day. I think unless we are going to run a code competition with a judging/prize-laden finale, then we should put it all in one day – with a pre- and post-party. Perhaps the venue could host the post-party, if it’s big enough and/or available for alcohol.

Again, it’s down to demand: how much time could you spend listening to interesting talks about technology before your brain fills up?

Filed under: logistics, ,

topics and venue

bye bye suckerShould BrumBarCamp be a pure tech camp, or should we also run parallel interest strands e.g. SocMedCamp, MobileCamp, BARGcamp, WhateverElsePeopleAreInterestedInCamp?

My own feeling is that the primary focus should be on the tech stuff, but if people want to do talks on other flavours of stuff, that’s fine. Given it’s an unconference, it’s ultimately down to the attendees, so we’d need to be clear when framing/publicising the event about what we’re doing this for.

I reckon this means our venue will need *at least* 2 + (number of strands) rooms plus public space – so at any one time, there’s 2 tech-related things going on, plus the strand stuff.

Filed under: topics, venue,

Please let us know when you’d prefer to attend a BrumBarCamp

BrumBarCamp links

BrumBarCamp tweets


February 2016
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