UK Web Focus (Brian Kelly)

Innovation and best practices for the Web

What To Do When Workshop Facilitators Go Missing

Posted by Brian Kelly on 6 Aug 2007

I previously posted about Contingency plans for disasters when organising an event. On a less drastic scale, what approaches can event organisers take when a facilitator becomes unavailable at the last minute?

I tried to cater for this at the IWMW 2007 event by preparing an “unconference” session (although the term “unworkshop” is probably more appropriate) based on various ideas developed my myself, Graham Atwell and Steven Warburton for an unconference session at a recent JISC Emerge event.

The details of the session are available. In brief they suggest the following possibilities:

  • The ten minute slot: Ten minute presentations of work and ideas in progress – possibility followed by discussions
  • Critical enquiry: Present an idea for a project, a software tool, etc. and be prepared for a critique from an expert panel (made up of other participants)
  • Poster time: Another ten minute slot for you to explain ideas provided on a poster
  • Ask an expert: Request that someone else introduces on a topic you wish to learn something about.
  • The rant: A controversial view expressed, leading to discussions which might not normally take place.
  • ‘Gong show’: Participants may introduce and discuss own ideas for a short, specified period of time. A gong is rung when the time is over.

I think for future events I organise I’ll have something along these lines prepared in case of difficulties (such as workshop facilitators being unable to travel due to floods) .

Do any readers have any suggestions on other approaches which could be used?

3 Responses to “What To Do When Workshop Facilitators Go Missing”

  1. My fave is the Pecha Kucha creator:

    It looks at your account and makes the last 20 pages bookmarked a slide which you get to talk about for 20 seconds.

  2. Hi Phil – this looks to be a great idea for an ice-breaker. Unfortunately it doesn’t seem to be working for me at present.

  3. Another useful resource about Unconferences is Working in Open Space: A Guided Tour, on the Open Space World blog.

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