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What’s an unconference anyway?

GovCamp Cymru 2022 is an unconference. For some people, the idea of an ‘unconference’ might be a familiar one. For most, however, it is probably quite a new concept.

The basic principle behind an unconference is that it is the attendees that are in control and lead the programme of events, not the conference organisers. This way of organising will have a practical impact on how the day will look for GovCamp Cymru 2022. Here are some key features of the day which might make it stand out from a usual conference.

  1. A democratic agenda. The first order of business is setting the agenda for the day. At the start of the day, every attendee of GovCamp Cymru 2022 has an opportunity to propose a session topic, and you don’t even need to offer to host the session you are proposing. Depending on the interest for a given subject, a session will then be allocated an appropriate-sized room and a time slot on the agenda. You can see GovCamp Cymru 2017’s sessions here.

  2. Sessions without a plan. Although there will likely be some sessions proposed in the morning that have been planned in advance, some sessions will be proposed without a pre-planned structure or expectation. This offers a great opportunity to chat about new ideas with peers across public services. Feel free to bring some post-it notes and pens - you may well find yourself mind-mapping at some point in the day!

  3. A kinetic conference. During the day there will likely be a lot of moving about. This is because one of the principles we adhere to is “move to where you can make a difference”. This means that attendees are encouraged to move between sessions, even if a session hasn’t finished, if they believe that this will be the most valuable use of their time. Faces will change and room dynamics will shift, but with this comes new energy and insights to sessions.

A broad itinerary for the day can be found here.

For those of you who have attended GovCamp Cymru in the past, we’d love to hear your reflections on the most memorable unconference sessions you have attended in the past. Let us know in the comments and retweet to involve others in the discussion.


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