Conferences are expensive. Introducing AOIRcamp.


Conferences are getting really expensive. After booking my long flight and hotel for the AoIR IR:7.0 conference I mentioned earlier, I’m halfway to brokedom ($2,500+). Seeing how I still have to register myself for $180, I won’t be going for any of the pre-conference workshops ($35), let alone the conference dinner ($42).

Does this mean that I’m going to get less of a conference experience?

Since I’m probably not the only one asking this, I’ve decided to take the plunge by organizing a special meetup which would give conference goers something cheap but useful to do during our conference afterhours.

Introducing AOIRcamp.

What is AOIRcamp?
This social event is meant as a free alternative to the pricier conference events. AOIRcamp is based on BarCamp, which is an ad-hoc un-conference movement born from the desire for people to share and learn in an open environment. It is an intense event with discussions, demos and interaction from attendees. NO SPECTATORS, ONLY PARTICIPANTS. All attendees can give a demo, a session, or help with one. All presentions are scheduled the day they happen. This event will be a collective effort.

What can I do at AOIRcamp?
You could do anything that would interest a group of people like ourselves. Several groupies can happen at the same time. Someone could create a slot on the wall to talk about “building social networks”, while another could take a slot to talk about “subverting social networks”. On-location gaming is also encouraged since it could inspire future research (e.g. Nintendo DS wifi gaming = ad-hoc architectures). If you don’t wish to talk, you could be a sponsor. Even bringing pizza, drinks or whatever would be better than coming empty-handed.

But all this isn’t going to happen out of thin air…

Besides volunteers, this unique event also needs a decent-sized room for us to camp in. Ideally a conference room with free WiFi. I hoping for someone from the Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane to sponsor a room.

Stay tuned and contribute to the AOIRcamp wiki.

UPDATE: Ever since this AOIRcamp idea was released the AIR-listserv, I’ve received correspondence from several interested parties. The most important email came from the IR7.0 conference organizers, who understandably felt that it would be competing with their programs. That said, AOIRcamp won’t really be happening. Instead, those still interested and aren’t into any of the evening programs are welcomed to self-organize for a simple get-together. Someone suggested the Queen Street Mall since they have free wifi and ample outdoor space.

5 thoughts on “Conferences are expensive. Introducing AOIRcamp.

  1. I found this thru google of course, after searching for a Barcamp in Brisbane.

    What I completely don’t get here at all, is why you aren’t just trying to organise a Barcamp Brisbane?

    Why should some upmarket conference affect what is essentially Barcamp with a different name?

    That said, I’m all up for having an actual Barcamp in Brissie, rather than making the trek to adelaide in march.

    Any chance of tackling a Barcamp here then? Or are you glowing from the acceptance of your idea for the AOIR in Vancouver?

    IMHO Barcamp is all about like minded geeks on the cutting edge getting together to share ideas and have a good time, not be hangers on to some expensive conference.

    There’s some talented people in Brisbane on the cutting edge of the web, and you’re dropping this concept because IR think it competes with them?

    Apologies for the rant, I’m just dumbfounded at this.

    Let us know if you’re really interested in a Barcamp brissie, and not just spreading dead end memes.



  2. idigital: Sorry this took a while. Your comment got trapped in my spam filter for some reason. Here are my thoughts:

    I can see how BarCamp is about the grassroots community, and not something to be attached to some other events. My goal was similar in that I wanted to show academics how we could do better, without the need for formal conferences which can really get expensive. It’s a statement I was making.

    To sum it up, it would have been easier to get interested parties around the area to organize this rather than the conference participants themselves (I don’t know them very well). It’s a conflict of interest, since I’d really like both to exist. If anyone can take the helm of a Brisbane Barcamp, I’ll be all for it.

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