THE BEST UNCONFERENCE in Ireland offers first-hand proof that small huddles of people who use social venues engender meaningful conversations. This happens every year in the little village of Cong, County Mayo, Ireland.
Rather than predictable SlideShare presentations from a well-lighted podium, the congregation offers a structured schedule that avoids the chaos found in conferences organised around Post-its on whiteboards. But for people like me who enjoy flexibility, every meet-up I attend in Cong rewards me with lots of flexibility. I meet experts in huddles, on the street, and in pub conversation throughout the weekend. The entire experience recharges me.
I quickly discover experts in academic fields I teach. I listen to themes that are far removed from my reading lists. I hear accents from cultures that normally sit deep inside magazines I occasionally peruse in waiting rooms throughout life. I get an opportunity to dust off ideas buried in my attic.
You can get a flavour of the diversity of #cong18 by swiping through the Office Sway I produced below.
And if you check back on my blog InsideView.ie at the end of November 2018, you will be able to hear a dozen voices I've met with my lapel mics. And you'll find images of #cong18 buried in an online photo album that shows part of the story.
[Bernie Goldbach teaches creative media for business in the Limerick Institute of Technology. The image shows Evelyn O'Connor in full flow in a coffee shop on the main street of Cong. The Congregation meets every November where the quiet man once roamed in along the border of County Mayo and County Galway, Ireland.]