In this blog, DigiKnow partner MadLab, tell us more about a community event which is taking place as part of their Make Stuff digital arts festival. Claire Wicher is Head of Education and Skills, MadLab; Perin Avari, their Diversity and Mental Health Champion.

DigiCamp Stockport, running on 26th April, promises to break the mould of traditional conferences, offering a space for co-creation where attendees lead the agenda and share ideas in a supportive environment. 

The Theme: Art, tech & community: redefining the possible..

DigiCamp Stockport

DigiCamp Stockport is an unconference fuelled by YOU, the attendees, where you are also a potential speaker. 

You can choose to come prepared to talk about your passion project or think of something on the day. You don’t even have to present a traditional talk; you could facilitate a discussion, bring people together to form a panel, showcase a project you have worked on, or run an interactive workshop. 

This is also a great opportunity for those who are not polished public speakers to gain experience in front of a very friendly crowd. If you don’t want to speak, just listen in– DigiCamp has space for you. 

Or, simply come along and enjoy the talks! 

All sessions are 30 minutes long, but other than that – there are no rules…

A bit about Unconferences

An unconference is a multi-track conference without a set agenda. The lines between attendees and speakers are blurred, and all attendees are encouraged to give talks. The schedule is open for anyone to place their own talk. 

The concept of an unconference came about when people realised that the conversations happening outside of scheduled talks, between attendees themselves, were more interesting than what the ‘expert’ speakers were saying on stage. 

At an unconference everyone is equal, talks can come from anyone and on any topic.  At an unconference, there is no underlying agenda and no predetermined speakers. The attendees form sessions and cover the topics that really interest them. It’s different from a typical conference, where the talks are curated and follow a predetermined agenda. 

Unconferences cater to a diverse range of participants, who want to share knowledge, learn from others, and collaborate on new ideas. Whether you have a secret passion to share or a desire to discover new interests, unconferences offer a welcoming environment for everyone.

What will happen on the day?

Running from 9:30-4:30, with a hot lunch included, DigiCamp Stockport will kick off with an introductory session. During this session, everyone will come together to discuss how the day will work. Then, we’ll open up ‘the grid’, and each attendee wanting to run a session will write it on a Post-it note and pop it into a room/ timeslot. 

A noticeboard divided into squares where people can post suggested talks.

3 Rooms x 10 Timeslots = 30 sessions to choose from!

With three sessions happening simultaneously, you can choose which one you would like to attend. If you attend a session that turns out to be less interesting than you thought, you can simply leave and attend a different session. Unconferences work on the rule of “voting with your feet,” and attendees are encouraged to move around as much as they want to get the most out of the event.

Listen in, chat with other attendees, and cultivate a space that’s the right fit for you. At the end of the day, participants will have a chance to come together and share insights, reflections and future plans inspired by the sessions attended.

An unconference turns everything mundane about a traditional conference upside down. DigiCamp Stockport promises to put the fun back into conferences, cultivate new connections, and spark groundbreaking ideas.

Meet the facilitator: Claire Wicher

As Head of Education and Skills at Make Stuff and MadLab, Claire has a strong background in grassroots technology events. She’s a Trustee and Chief Emoji Officer for Django Girls, a global charity dedicated to curating positive first experiences with code for women and non-binary people. Plus, she has several years of organising BarCamp Manchester under her belt.

A woman in a high-vis jacket with a bicycle

DigiCamp Stockport is not just an event; it’s a movement towards a more participatory, collaborative, and innovative digital future. Mark your calendars and prepare to be part of an unconference where your voice shapes the conversation.

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