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Unconference details

What is an Unconference?

We know many people attending Commonground Festival bring a wealth of experience from the social change movement and have a lot to offer. The Unconference is an opportunity to create intentional spaces to share this wisdom. On the Saturday and the Sunday of the Festival weekend we will have 12 openings for Unconference sessions, each one 90 minutes long.

I’d like to host an Unconference session.

Great! If you have a social change topic that you think would be of interest to others bring your idea along to the Workshop Wall in the Wedge (next to the Cashier and Info Desk) on the first day of the Festival, Friday, between 12 noon and 10pm.

At the Workshop Wall you’ll share your idea with one of the Workshop Wall Volunteers who will talk to you about your idea and help you to come up with a name and short description if you need.  

Once you’ve decided on your topic and written a short description of your session you can post it in the Unconference section on the Workshop Wall.  The earlier in the day the better, because over the course of the evening Festival attendees will be marking their interest on which Unconference topics they’d like to attend if they run. The topics that get the most interest will be chosen for the Unconference program.

Below is some more information on the Unconference process. You can also refer to the Workshops section of the Commonground website.

Can I get help preparing my Unconference Workshop?

Yes! We have created a Commonground Festival Unconference Guide for Hosts of selected Unconference session that you can access [here]. We’ll also have hard copies available to give to confirmed hosts. There will also be skilled facilitators volunteering at the Workshop Wall over the duration of the Festival who will be available to sit down and help you to plan your Unconference offering. They will have Festival t-shirts and name badges on.

How will the Unconference sessions be selected?

The sessions with the most interest will be selected by the Festival Workshop convenors and placed on the Workshop Wall on Saturday morning by 8.30am.

When will I know if my topic has been selected for the Unconference program?

Come to the Workshop Wall at 8:30am on Saturday morning to find out if your Unconference session has been successful, and where it has been placed on the program. You will then be given a printed ‘Guide for Hosting an Unconference Workshop’ document and have time to ask any questions.

How will I know how many people will be coming to my workshop?

There is a maximum of 30 participants per workshop. Festival attendees will sign up for workshops between 9 and 10am on Saturday and 9 and 10am on Sunday morning. You can check out the workshop wall after these times to find out how many people will be at your session.

What if my Unconference session is not chosen for the session program?

Unfortunately not all Unconference sessions will be able to run. If your session did not receive as much interest yet you still would like to host a session you are welcome to run an unofficial session. You will need to find an appropriate space for people to gather that won’t disturb any of the other sessions and then post that on the wall.

How will each Unconference session space be set up and what supplies will be available?

There will be 4 Unconference tents on the flat space below the main Festival tent.  Each tent will have 30 chairs placed in a circle, a natural centerpiece, a whiteboard, whiteboard markers, flip chart paper (6 sheets per session), textas, one black and one red poster pen, a roll of masking tape and a clock. If you require any other resources please bring them along with you.

What to do before your Unconference session

Make sure you are down at your allocated Unconference tent 30 minutes prior to the beginning of your session to set up your space. At the tents there will be two volunteers available to support the four Unconference Workshop Hosts.  They will be there to help answer any questions and make sure you have everything you need to run your session successfully.

At the end of your Unconference session

The Unconference Host Guides will alert you to start wrapping up your session by holding up signs outside the marquee at 15, 5 min and 0 min.  Please make sure you finish on time and help the volunteers to pack up the space at the end of your session.

How can I share the learnings from my session?

We will be asking each Unconference Host (you) or a volunteer from your session to complete a Harvesting Template to share on the Workshop Wall at the end of your session. You will find  Harvesting Temples in your workshop supply basket in the tent where you will be hosting your session.

Is there anything else I need to know?

Not at this stage.  We will provide Unconference Hosts (you) with more information at the Festival. Remember there will always be volunteers at the Workshop Wall to answer any questions you have and to help you with your session design.

Click here to return to the Workshop page.