BathCamp 2008 reflections

I spent the weekend at BathCamp, and, well, have only just recovered. We (some museum people and I) came up with the idea of running a BathCamp over a few drinks in Montreal. Mike Ellis announced it a few weeks later, and then we spent a few months sorting out venues, sponsors, and all the other logistical stuff.

Looking back, I think it went pretty damn well. We had a really great bunch of people turn up, some great talks, and a fun evening do, which included a trip to a local pub for a welcome bit of fresh air.

Despite the organisational hurdles, one of the things that surprised and delighted us about organising BathCamp was just how successful and popular the BarCamp format is. Between the 5 or so organisers, we only knew about a quarter of the attendees. Everyone else who came did so purely on the back of the BarCamp name and formula, which is pretty good for a meme that's only 3 years old. Especially as BarCamps are totally decentralised and anyone can organise one.

Bath was nice too. We choose Bath purely because Mike lives there, and he was passionate about doing something outside of London. Since then, I've moved from London to Manchester. There's already been a BarCamp Manchester this year, but I've already been to a GeekUp Manchester event, which are held regularly.

One thing that was discussed at BathCamp was the possibility of holding a 'MuseumCamp' for the cultural heritage sector (museums and art galleries), which Curators could come along to as well as 'techies'. Indeed, this was one of the original ideas for BathCamp, but we decided to drop it and go with a no agenda policy. One problem is that we weren't sure how to persuade Curators it was worth giving up a Saturday. Although perhaps it could be held actually in a museum?

Other BarCamps that look interesting include Social Innovation Camp. There has already been one of these, and another is scheduled for 5th-7th December 2008, with a call for ideas now open. I'm sure I have more than one idea that would be applicable to this event, so fingers crossed I'll be there!