Rex Miller, who I am meeting for lunch tomorrow for a little chat, has announced the Return of the Tent Maker – The Unconference. Details are forthcoming, but what we do know is A) he is calling this an unconference, B) it is being hosted at Irving Bible Church, and C) it is scheduled for May 4th.
An “Unconference” is a loosely-coupled, attendee-led grouping of talks that are highly interactive. Typically, everyone arrives at the conference and posts up a talk topic on a white board (which has time slots for various discussions) that they are interested in giving or moderating. Others who are interested in the same discussion may ask to help lead the gathering, or may just show up ready to dialog on the topic. Others may lurk in the back of the room waiting to see if something develops which is interesting to them. One of the common rules of these discussions is that if you are bored, get out and find something that interests you. This leads to some roaming between talks which is kind of interesting.
The whole unconference (pdf) idea is not new, being birthed in the late 70’s/early 80’s, but it has only recently been applied to technology conferences. “Return of the Tent Maker” *may* be the first ministry focused unconference, though I can’t say for sure. Does anyone else know?
It would be cool to do some SpeedGeeking at this Return of the Tentmaker unconference. I love hearing what others are working on and toward. A wiki would be a pretty sweet addition too (the others all have it)! In fact, Rex, if you can get movement for this idea and it really is an “unconference”, I will pitch-in by having my freelance company contribute the Team version of Stikipad. Let me know if you like the idea.