Tag Archives: unconference

Digital Maker Spaces

As promised so long ago, here is a more in depth look into one of the sessions I attended at Infocamp Seattle.

This session was given by Ario Jafarzadeh (who can be found on Twitter @ario). The session was broken into three parts – intellectual precedecors to this ideas, ventures like what he had in mind (most of them are no longer operating), and then an open forum on how to make it happen in Seattle (where, sponsorship, revenue etc).

The idea of a digital maker space has many intellectual relatives- maker spaces like Maker Haus in the Fremont area in Seattle that focus on physical creation and coworking spaces like Office Nomads here which has people sharing a work space but not working cooperatively.

What Ario wants to do in Seattle is create a space that combines these ideas. A place that offers classes (at low price or free), workspace, and performance space all in one for the digital maker. So this would not just be “normal” programing, but also digital video editing and digital music creation. A place to learn, work on, and show off all aspects of digital creativity from apps to multimedia music productions.

He also covered many projects that he had based his own idea on. A big influencer was the Gray Area Foundation for the Arts (GAFFTA) in the Bay Area. I encourage you to check out the GAFFTA website. It’s a pretty cool organization.

The open forum was a way for the Infocamp community to give feedback, suggestions, and commentary on the idea. We discussed different areas within the city for the space, what type of space (did it need to have a store front or could it be tucked away to save on rent?), sponsorships and funding. We discussed different organizations that could partner on the project like the University of Washington, Microsoft, smaller tech companies, and even the reaching out to the Seattle or King County Public Libraries.

We discussed different long term funding methods outside of corporate partnerships as well. Should a place like this have monthly dues or fees? Could crowd funding through Kickstarter or Indiegogo help with start up costs and then just work with annual or bi-annual fundraising drive (think PBS or more local the C 89.5 radio station)? Should this be a non-profit or for profit?

Would like such a place in Seattle? Do you think it is doable?


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InfoCamp Seattle 2012

Pitching sessions with schedule boards in the background

Pitching Sessions in Mary Gates Hall

Over this past weekend I attended my first unconference, InfoCamp Seattle. I had publicly stated through Twitter and maybe a few other social media avenues that InfoCamp intimidated me. Yes you heard correctly, the unconference which is suppose to remove the barriers and rigidness of professional conferences scared me to my organized, librarian core. Also I knew that InfoCamp had a rabid following. What if I was the only one who didn’t know what was going on? What if I wasn’t interested in any sessions? What if I had nothing worth while to contribute in discussions?

If such fears have held you back from an unconference, let me assure you they are pretty much groundless. First off there were a TON of first time people at Infocamp. We all bumbled through it together. Also after the first “pitch session” (pictured above) where different people explain what their session is about (I was afraid we might be asked to vote or something – not the case) the rhythm is pretty much established and you can pretty much know what to expect. Also I was always interested in at least one session per time slot (if not more which is the real problem). Also I found I had plenty to contribute since I went to session about topics I was interested in.

Now I could begin talking about the sessions I attended but I feel like each session could easily each be its own blog entry (so that would mean this blog entry would end up being way too long). I will list the sessions I attended and if you are interested in hearing more please say so in the comments and I’ll make it into a blog post for you! I attended sessions on personal digital archiving (focusing on a new app for it!), gaining that 2 years experience for jobs, marketing the library in modern times, making a digital creator space in Seattle, confessions of a marketing consultant, digital intellectual rights Northwest, and taxonomy madness. As you can see the variety of session topics is incredible and it reflects the variety of people attending so if you don’t think you are the target audience of Infocamp you might want to reconsider.

Now I want to highlight one of the most enjoyable parts of Infocamp that caught me by surprise – networking. I will admit I’m not one of the best networkers out there. I’ll chit chat with my neighbors at events, but I they always seem to be students or job seekers just like me. Probably good connections years down the line, but not those connections that will give me that “in” when I hit the job market. However I did not have that problem at Infocamp! I met some great people in different LIS fields in Seattle that I am interested in. A few even started following me on Twitter so hopefully I will even continue to stay on their radar even after the weekend is a distant memory.

So I hope next there are even MORE Infocamp newbies!


Filed under Conference, Library School