How can you participate?

CREDIT: Ignite Talk – Space Is Boring – Andy Cochrane

Although the idea of an unconference is that it is steered by the participants, to help facilitate a fantastic event we will be adopting the SpaceUp format. This format includes a number of different types of events during the course of the two days. At the beginning of each day, the schedule for the day is decided by the participants. Everyone is invited to propose his/her topic in a time slot and depending on the level of interest the slots are assigned. The talks are usually short and should allow for plenty of time for discussion between the participants.

To help you get to grips with our format, we’ll walk you briefly through some key aspects of SpaceUps in general.

The session grid

CREDIT: Simon Bierwald

SpaceUp NL will be run in two parallel session rooms (schedule). The best way to keep up with the events in each is to consult the session grid, a giant board with all the available time slots listed.

The session grid will be empty at the beginning of the SpaceUp; only breaks and Ignite sessions wil be scheduled beforehand. Sessions can be proposed by writing a synopsis on a sticky note and attaching it to one of the open time slots on the grid. The grid fills up quickly over the course of the morning, but it grows and changes as the day goes on and more ideas surface.

What can I propose for a time slot?

A session can take on a variety of formats:

  • a presentation with Q&A,
  • a demo,
  • a panel discussion,
  • a round table discussion, etc.

Some of the most interesting sessions are proposed as open-ended questions. (“Should NASA continue developing hardware?”, “What’s the cheapest way to do science in space?”) Project demonstrations make great sessions, too, especially when they’re hands-on. Feel free to structure a session as you deem fit to serve the purpose of drawing people together and stimulating discussion.

There will be at least one session about SpaceUp itself, to talk about what we can do better, both on the spot and for the next SpaceUp. You’re more than welcome to start other sessions about SpaceUp, especially if you think there’s something wrong.

T-5 talks

If you’re itching to give a presentation with slides, at SpaceUp NL we have just the format for you: it’s called Ignite. Each speaker gets 5 minutes to talk, with 20 slides that rotate automatically every 15 seconds.

At SpaceUp, Ignite-format talks are called T minus 5. These are usually the only talks that are scheduled beforehand, because they take a bit more preparation and planning than most unconference sessions. They’re definitely worth the effort.

For inspiration, see the awesome talk by Andy Cochrane on why space is boring, or another about how to give an Ignite talk.

60 seconds to land

If you want to take part in SpaceUp NL and you can’t make it in person, you can send us a one-minute video of yourself that they can play to the assembled crowd, just like a mini T-5 talk (credit to SpaceUp Stuttgart for this idea!). We will be spreading these videos out over the two days, so you can expect plenty of exposure! See @60secondstoland on Twitter for examples.

Informal gatherings

Another important aspect of an unconference is the informal gatherings outside of the official presentations. You are always free to not attend an lecture and maybe discuss a topic further outside. An unconference is a good place to connect to all kind of different people from different background who share the love of space.

There’s no excuse to be bored! It’s your responsibility to get up and find (or create) a place where you can contribute or learn during SpaceUp NL, so we encourage you to be creative. If no one is asking the question you want answered, write it up as a round table discussion. If no one seems to share your interest in highly technical talk, start a session and see who attends. If all else fails, listen in on conversations and add your two cents!

In the true spirit of SpaceUp, during SpaceUp NL you will be immersed in an unique, active and dynamic environment: make the most of this great opportunity to engage with others!

How to prepare

This may sound like a lot to take in, but you’ll get used to it in no time at all. There will be plenty of unconference veterans on hand to help out, and we’ll have a whole group of volunteers to help keep things moving smoothly.

If you don’t have time to prepare anything before you go to SpaceUp, don’t worry. Just be there in time for the opening session and you’ll have plenty to do and contribute. If you want to prepare a talk beforehand—and it isn’t an Ignite talk (see above)—write it up as a set of notes or questions instead of a formal PowerPoint presentation.

Do bring props, posters, diagrams, or demonstration equipment if you have it; just don’t assume that there will be audiovisual equipment to use. If you have a panel idea, definitely talk to other attendees you know and get them involved. The more people you have on your panel when you propose it, the more attractive it will be to other attendees.

If this all sounds too complicated, just make it to the venue in time for the opening session and bring bucket loads of enthusiasm!

You’re of course wondering where we’ll be. Click to find out!


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