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Countdown to Austin Unconference

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In just a few weeks, coworking enthusiasts from across North America and other parts of the world will travel to Austin to take part in the 2012 Global Coworking Unconference Conference. The second U.S. coworking gathering in the Texas capital will be an opportunity for seasoned experts to rub shoulders with new space operators, with topics and tracks catered for both. The GCUC has been unofficially dubbed “Juicy”, because the acronym would become too annoying to say over two days of interaction.

GCUC takes place at the same time as the famous South By Southwest conference (SXSW), which means the whole of Austin will be buzzing. This year the coworking gathering will take place in the large AT&T Conference Center, owing to the increased interest.

The first day of GCUC is unique in that it offers both programmed and unprogrammed tracks – hence the interesting double name. The two-tiered, twelve-hour schedule is designed to ‘squeeze’ as much out of the day as possible.

The first track will act as an intensive info session for those who want to learn more about coworking and running a space, and will follow a conference-like structure. Topics explored by expert panelists will cover a broad range of issues – from how to design a space and make ideas come to ‘fruition’, to choosing the right tools to help it run smoothly.

The second track, which dons the ‘unconference’ title, has an agenda completely open to suggestion and creative thought. So all ideas in the spectrum are allowed to ‘ripen’, QR code surveys will be implemented throughout the day. Thoughts and comments will be documented using Write & Slides, and the vision of the global coworking community will be captured and shown to the wider Austin community at the end of the day.

The second day of the conference will involve a tour of Austin’s many coworking spaces, organized by the team from Deskmag. This was something that proved popular at the Coworking Europe Conference in Berlin last November.

Head GCUC organizer Liz Elam, who learnt all about the scene through her own coworking space Link Coworking, feels that the parallel conferences present a unique opportunity to express the richness of the movement.

“Coworking is huge, so we want a unique format that will cater to the many personalities and viewpoints of the coworking owners out there. We hope to inspire, amaze and connect the global coworking community,” Liz said.

A conference such as GCUC is an important event for the coworking community worldwide. The act of coming together to share experiences, expertise and passion reinvigorates our energy for the movement, and injects us with a newfound zeal. Certainly, the enthusiasm with which GCUC has been met to date is proof of coworking solidarity, and one that will be strengthened over the course of the day.

“I want GCUC to be the must-go-to event in the coworking movement. We’re seeing explosive growth of coworking globally and I’m excited to have opportunity to bring the community together for face-to-face interactions, sharing of ideas and best practices,” Liz said.

What? The Global Coworking Unconference Conference

Where? The AT&T Conference Center, 1900 University Avenue, Austin, TX

When? March 8 2012, 8am-8pm

How much? US$ 100 + 2US$ ticket service, from Feb 23: US$150

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25% discount code for the coworking community: JUICY

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4 thoughts on “Countdown to Austin Unconference

  1. Great concept Ben; the key for me here is the foulwolp. Too often, we go to conferences, we get the chance to think for those two days and we have our thinking challenged by a one-way flow of information, but when we get back to the coal face, our unicorn disappears into the mists of reality.What we need I believe is a conference that provides the scaffolds for you to keep learning and maintain that momentum long after you’ve left. What better way to do that, than to practice what we preach in the classroom we want to help our students become lifelong learners and do that by allowing them to own their own learning journey and teach them how to learn. The ideas you’ve discussed here are the closest articulation I’ve yet seen of a transformation of the classroom rhetoric being transferred to the learning of our teachers. Only through the formation of two-way networks and sharing of ideas in a many:many relationship will we be able to increase the effectiveness of conferences and provide the ongoing foulwolp long after the final keynote has left the stage.

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