Making the most of Collaborations Workshop 2019

Posted by s.aragon on 8 March 2019 - 9:00am
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Image by Selina Aragon.

By Raniere Silva, Community Officer, Software Sustainability Institute.

The Software Sustainability Institute's Collaborations Workshop 2019 (CW19) goal is to have a welcoming space for participants to foster their inner conversations about interoperability, documentation, training and sustainability. A few tips can help you make the most of the event taking place from Monday 1st April to Wednesday 3rd April 2019 at the West Park Teaching Hub, Loughborough University, Loughborough.

Lightning Talk

We have slots for 2 minutes presentation on Monday and Tuesday. Lightning talks can be about anything related with interoperability, documentation, training and software sustainability. Speakers can use one slide when presenting. This is one great way to introduce yourself to other attendees. More details and how to submit your slides at Lightning Talk page.

Use social media your way

During group activities, we will ask you to put your phone aside but why not let people in social media know that you’re attending Collaborations Workshop 2019? Twitter is a great way to find other attendees before the event starts. From our statistics, many people that attend CW on their own arrive on the day before and are looking to meet new people for dinner or drinks. Use the #CollabW19 hashtag and tweet about particular topics you’d love to talk about.

The Pac-Man rule

The rule is attributed to Eric Holscher and says that "when standing as a group of people, always leave room for 1 person to join your group." As Eric explains it, physical empty space in the group is one way to give people explicit permission to join. This also makes the environment more inclusive and welcoming. After someone joins the group, the group should now readjust to leave another space for a new person.

The Community++ Rule

This is another rule attributed to Eric Holscher. If you are attending the event with a group or that you’ve attended before, it is more comfortable to talk to people you know. The idea is to step out of your comfort zone and meet new people: "for every year you have attended the event, you should try to meet that many new people each day." At first, the rule seems like a impossible task but our statistics says that on average attendees meet eight new people during the Collaborations Workshop. The discussion session and collaborative ideas sessions are designed to lower the barrier to succeed in this rule.

Cats vs dogs

Conversations must not limit themselves to work or tech. As Bruce Schneier said in "Liars and Outliers: Enabling the Trust that Society Needs to Thrive", "people tend to be more trusting and altruistic with people they think they know and can identify with—even just a little bit—than with anonymous strangers." The little bit that Bruce makes reference to could be about your preferable refreshment, your favourite pet, places that you like visiting, etc.  The social activities planned for Collaborations Workshop 2019 are the perfect opportunity to build this extra level of trust. We also have customisable badges as a cue to start random conversations.

Eat well and stay hydrated 

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Image by Kiernan McCloskey.

When we start to get dehydrated or hungry we also get grumpy. We designed the programme to avoid this, and provide lots of breaks with food & drinks, but why not also bring a water bottle that you can have in the room with you and a small bag of snacks? We will be running the first ever Reusable Cup Raffle and you can win £5 by using your reusable cup or bottle during CW19.

Register on Eventbrite for CW19

Acknowledgement

Thank you to Jenny Wong, author of "Starting a conversation at a conference" that inspired this article.