Yesterday, hubby and I (along with a car-load of family & friends) made the very early morning drive over to Sydney for the very first Skepticamp Sydney 2011. It was a thoroughly enjoyable day, with lots of interesting things learned.
“SkeptiCamps are informal, community-organized conferences borne from the desire for people to share and learn in an open environment. Everyone from casual skeptics to the experienced participate, give talks and get to know each other. Diverging from the traditional lecture events which have dominated skepticism for decades, these ‘open events’ tear down the barriers to organizing substantive (and fun) events by building on the wildly-successful Barcamp conference model from the tech community.”
I’ve always been an advocate for the barcamp conference model (having helped out with organising Barcamp Canberra for the past few years) as I like facilitating an environment where people can get up in a relatively ‘safe’ environment and share something of interest. It was great to see this applied to Skepticisim and critical thinking, with the result being a day filled with interesting presentations, good food and a chance to meet lots of diverse and interesting people. The two rooms filled up with a range of speakers (of which a number of them were first time presenters). There were a broad range of topics including Genetically modified food, the application of Star Wars to the bible, dealing with the media, religious education and more.
While most of the sessions were done in the presentation style, there were a number of discussions based sessions, including two run by @lozz on Introducing women to skepticism and teaching critical thinking through entertainment. I love the discussion based format as it encourages audience participation (of which there was a lot).
I was helping out for most of the day, so I didn’t get to catch too many talks end-to-end but some of my favourite things were:
- CampCakeCamp – my offering was Chocolate Bailey’s Mini Cupcakes
- I got the end of @frozensummers’ The Gospel According to George Lucas – it was pretty funny
- Mingling and interesting chats in between all of the sessions and the post-event pub drinks
- Smooth running of the entire day – everything was fairly seemless
A big thank you to @drunkenmadman, @tinydalek, @happysinger and the other unorganisers for a fantastic and smoothly run day. Thanks to the presenters for their interesting presentations, thanks to the audience for participating and thanks to the sponsors who help make it all happen.
Hubby and I have taken a few photos, which are available at my flickr account.
Great work all and all the best to Skepticamp Melbourne 2011!