Quite a few years ago now I organised a ‘fringe’ event to the UKOER conference in a local pub the night before. It turned out to be an interesting evening with speakers from Creative Commons and P2PU (still thankful to Pippa and Nathan) and some notable attendees from both Canada (Brian and Scott) and all over the UK.
The following day after the actual conference we ended up with a fringe of the fringe in a basement pub in central London. Yesterday afternoon ended up being something of a rerun of that great afternoon with Alan Levine substituting for our shared Canadian friends 🙂
Tony Hirst (OU, School of Data), Joss Winn (Uni of Lincoln), Alan Levine (Mozilla Webmaker Fellow & ‘resting’ educator), Marieke Guy (Open Knowledge Foundation) and myself retreated to the rather bright and loud Slug and Lettuce for a couple of hours to put the worlds of higher education, Government procurement, open source communities, David Kernohan’s trainers and many other topics to rights.
One of the things I miss about (old) JISC was how often opportunities used to spring up for these sorts of ad-hoc meet ups. I didn’t know Tony or Joss were even at the event until the morning and only knew Marieke was attending a day or two before. There is a real sense of shared experience after working in HE educational technology in some shape or form through the boom and bust years and not unlike the talk Anil gave that morning we were somewhat bemoaning the web we lost.
I am much more of a Government focused geek these days and don’t miss some of the navel gazing associated with everything in the higher education world but I do miss the people and I am thankful to #mozfest for giving us the opportunity.
This rather spur of the moment ‘meet-up’ did rather throw my session schedule in to disarray but it was more than worth it. Like I tweeted last night (after a few more beers at the party with a few random but lovely folk);
#mozfest = people. If there is a friendlier and more welcoming group of geeks on the planet I'm not sure where they are hiding!
— Matt Jukes (@jukesie) October 26, 2013