The BlogHer '08 OpenSpace: What's it all about, Kaliya?
For a very lucky 300 BlogHer '08 attendees, the conference doesn't end with a wild Saturday night at Macy's. Nope, 300 stalwart attendees will get up and go to the BlogHer '08 OpenSpace all day Sunday, led by last year's facilitator, Kaliya Hamlin.
Last year Kaliya wrote a great post letting OpenSpace attendees know what to expect. No need to reinvent the wheel, I just recommend reading that post. What no post can prepare you for is how much you may love the OpenSpace format and outcome. Many of those who stuck around for the OpenSpace were completely new to the format, but ended the day by declaring it had been the best part of BlogHer '07 for them! The feedback was so strong, it was a no-brainer that we were going to do it again, and that we were going to invite Kaliya back to facilitate it.
And part of why Kaliya is so anxious to come back? Well in her own words:
I think for me one of the things that is a real treat about this event is to work with women - I spend most of my time facilitating conferences in technical communities that are mostly men. I recently facilitated a great event that was literally 100% men attendees - an emerging programming language and framework Scala/Lift. This kind of experience was also what led me to found She's Geeky to help women techies come together using open space.
Kaliya got her start in facilitating such events via her work with the Internet Identity Workshop. Before becoming a busy and renowned OpenSpace facilitator, Kaliya was already a subject matter expert on internet identity, so much so that she is also known as Identity Woman.
By now Kaliya has facilitated over 50 unconferences in the past 3 years and produced about a third of those. She provides invaluable help to someone like me, who was a complete newbie at such events. Kaliya partners with groups, realizing that they know and can pull together their community, and that she is there to facilitate introducing (or continuing) this great format for groups.
If you have a community you work with want to do an unconference, or if you feel like a conference you regularly do could benefit from more interactivity and participation from the attendees (and really, what conference couldn't?) then I highly recommend you contact Kaliya. She is the woman for the job!
And if you missed the BlogHer OpenSpace again this year, try it next year. Really. Give it a shot...you may just have your mind blown!