Fancamp

an unconference for the comic-con crowd

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…well the 1930’s in London and New York anyway. Two different groups of science fiction fans got together to partake in the first two sci-fi conventions (and then rowed over who was legitimately first for years to come.)

The Futurians at the 1st WorldCon in 1939

Back then, and for years to come, sci-fi fandom was primarily driven by the fans themselves through self-published fanzines and these conventions. I’m hardly the first person to see how much it looks like a slow motion version of todays fandom web of blogs, social media and meet-ups.

A less long time ago, in a city that might as well be in a galaxy far, far away a group of geeks organised the first Barcamp in San Francisco and set the blueprint for what most web geeks would recognise as an ‘unconference’ today.

Barcamp founders

According to the hive mind that is Wikipedia an unconference is;

..a participant-driven meeting.

Most of the elements weren’t new. The ‘open space’ idea had been around for a while but for a certain community it is the movement that popularised the ideas and certainly it is what introduced me to the concepts.

It has seemed to me for a while that this unconference idea of an event completely driven by the participants was really an opportunity to return to the roots of fandom*.

For anyone who hasn’t attended one the agenda is generated by the attendees on the day and there are no keynotes or anything. Just people suggesting things they’d like to talk about and like-minded souls contributing.


There are other similar takes. An event like the Mozilla Festival encourages session proposals in advance and lets attendees vote on the agenda before the day.

However it is done the key is the event is delivered to the community, by the community, for the community. There was a ‘rule’ of Barcamps that is less prevalent these days — “everybody contributes” — the more important bit for me was always that everybody could contribute if they wanted to.

Oh and the events really should be free.

Anyway the point of this ramble is that I asked my blog readers what event they would like me to try and organise next and my incredibly ill thought out idea of ‘Pulp to Pixels: a fandom barcamp’ seems to be most popular.

I don’t really know how to make it a reality but here are a few things to start with;

co-conspirators. I can’t do this alone so does anyone want to give me a hand — even if it is just to offer a shoulder to cry on when it drives me insane?

venues. the hard thing with these events is always finding a place to hold them. Any suggestions welcome (in Bristol really).

sponsorship. if the venue ends up costing money (and they usually do!) the event is going to need sponsors but the usual tech folk I’d tap up aren’t the right crowd. Again any suggestions?

Plus I guess any comment on the sanity of the idea would be appreciated. I did a few searches and haven’t come across anything quite the same. There was an interesting looking Comics Barcamp in Ireland a couple of years ago but the scope was a bit different (more about getting in to comics it seemed?)

* For me this means comics, cartoons, TV, movies, video games, sci-fi, fantasy and a million other things. Anything that io9.com or Bleeding Cool might cover really ☺