BarCamp FAQ





Not familiar with BarCamps yet?

Guys, I know some good bars. And I once went out for a camping weekend. 
But what the heck is a BarCamp?

A BarCamp is sort of an unconference, a meet-up for people with the desire to share and learn in an open environment. It is an intense event with discussions, demos, and interaction from attendees. There is no pre-scheduled programme. Only you, our common interests, experience, and all the things we are going to share and develop. And: an empty session grid, our schedule for the BarCamp. Interested in the history of BarCamps… read this:

Ok, ok! But tell me What is a BarCamp?
BarCamps are open, participant-centered event formats in which the content and program are developed by the participants themselves at the beginning and then shaped as the event progresses. BarCamps are sometimes also called “un-conferences” or ad-hoc conferences. In a BarCamp, the usual conference routines are deliberately undermined. Instead of “many” listening to a few, all participants share their expertise dynamically. Because: Every participant always brings an incredible amount to the table: Experiences, ideas, insights, questions, answers, reflections, projects…

What does that mean now?
“Sharing is caring!  At a BarCamp, it’s give and take for everyone!”
Barcamps live from their participants. Participants are encouraged to actively participate in the Barcamp by offering a so-called session, taking part in discussions and contributing. The active involvement of all people creates an intensive exchange of knowledge at eye level; new ideas are generated, joint projects are initiated and contacts are made.


Ok, fine. How’s does it work?

In the run up to the BarCamp, you think about what projects, ideas, and useful knowledge as wells as skills you have and want to share with other twinning cities geeks. In the beginning of every BarCamp day, participants will pitch their sessions, the audience will show their appreciation and the daily schedule, called session grid, will be filled. And off we go.
So, when you come, be prepared to share with barcampers. When you leave, be prepared to share it with the world.

Excuse me, what means “session”
Well, a session is a slot within in the schedule grid. A session might be a talk, a group discussion, a workshop-like gathering, a hands-on-experience, a maker-meeting, an exchange-round, a creative sprint or, at least, a presentation.

How does a BarCamp work?

> Check-in and introduction
At the beginning, all participants check in on time, are welcomed by the moderators and introduce themselves with their names and usually three characteristic keywords (‘hashtags’).

 > Warm-up & Pitch
After a thematic introduction and warm-up phase, the participants think about their session ideas and ‘pitch’ them. This means that they briefly present the topic they would like to introduce in the form of a session to the plenary. Whether a session is a workshop, a presentation, a discussion, a development group, a prototyping round or whatever is up to the session givers.

 > Session board
After the “pitch”, the session givers get together at the so-called session board and design the concrete schedule. The session board is usually also available digitally.

The sessions usually take place in parallel and in several time phases. In Jena we will have 3 session phases and at least 3 rooms per day (at least 9 sessions per day).

 > Harvesting & Closing
At the end of a BarCamp day, impressions and experiences are exchanged and results are recorded and evaluated.

What else is important?

There are no spectators – only participants.

There is equality: Every participant is entitled to propose topics and sessions and to vote on the agenda.

There are no hierarchies: it’s about exchange at eye level and new ideas and impulses – not about the title and position of the participants.

Participation: Every participant is jointly responsible for the success of the barcamp.
Knowledge exchange: Everyone benefits most when they share their knowledge and experiences with each other. 

Are there any other rules I should know?

To make the most out of this open-space-format, we need a good framework. So, yes, there are some very, very important and worldwide common rules:

1st Rule: You do talk about BarCamp.
2nd Rule: You do blog about BarCamp.
3rd Rule: If you want to present, you must write your topic and name in a presentation slot.
4th Rule: Only three word intros.
5th Rule: As many presentations at a time as facilities allow for.
6th Rule: No pre-scheduled presentations, no tourists.
7th Rule: Presentations will go on as long as they have to or until they run into another presentation slot.
8th Rule: If this is your first time at BarCamp, you HAVE to present. (Ok, you don’t really HAVE to, but try to find someone to present with, or at least ask questions and be an interactive participant.) 


I still have questions regarding the format.

Ok, send a message to Björn via Email or to the TCL-Social Media channels.