Right then. It looks like I’m going to actually have to do this.
I tend to go to a lot of conferences, and most of them are focused on specific business sectors or platforms. At the Edinburgh TV Festival this year, I had a chat with Emily Bell and Dan Hon, bemoaning the fact that these conferences attract silos of people who would never go to each others events – the delta between Edinburgh TV festival and something like Dconstruct is tiny, for example. In fact, I think it might just be Dan Hon.
There’s obvious reasons for this, as most conferences are commercial events aimed at a certain sector. But at the Edinburgh TV festival, loads of people were raving about David Simon’s talk about The Wire, mainly because he wasn’t talking about platforms, distribution models or business models (well, he did talk a bit about the latter) but because he was talking about storytelling. Then Jeremy Ettinghausen and I were asked to do a talk about storytelling at PICNIC in September, which seemed to go down well. So I started to think more seriously about organising something around Stories and Storytelling. Then I tweeted the barely-baked idea this morning, and got such an overwhelming response, with loads of good ideas, so I’m going to actually get around to doing it.
The ideas i’ve had from people on Twitter include – Storytelling in UX design, storytelling in music, murder ballads, the Hakawati master storytellers of Syria (might be a big ask, that…), Marina Warner and the Scottish Storytelling Centre, using boardgames to teach computer game programming, projecting stories onto 3D paper-mache maps, the stories companies tell about their culture, storytelling in user research, the work of brilliant collaborative storytellers like coney/punchdrunk/hideandseek/et al, magic and storytelling, transliteracy in digital storytelling (might have to get Meg to explain that one to me), storytelling to explain complex theories/ideas, storytelling and data (obviously). I’ve got a personal wish list of a few friends who I want to ask along (like Tim Wright to talk about his Kidmapped! project), but I’ve been overwhelmed by the good ideas i’m getting in, and offers of help. So i’m getting really excited about it already…
This won’t be a big, expensive conference with loads of sponsors and keynotes flown over from the US of A. In fact, I’ll probably go down the Interesting/Playful route of hiring the Conway Hall, a tea-urn and some bunting. It’ll probably be around February/March next year, as I have a day job, and it will take me that long to organise. Here’s my current plan:
1 - write a blog post to capture lots of good ideas from people [done! always good to start a to-do list with something you've already done...]
2 – Check out the Conway Hall at Playful and find out if its available in Feb/March
3 – Start soliciting speakers and hassling friends and friends-of-friends to speak
4 – Work out how much its going to cost and set up eventbrite to let people buy tickets
5 – Build a page for the event and get tickets on sale [note to self - persuade wife to do some illustrations for the site]
6 – Panic
7 – Ask Russell where he got the tea-urn from
8 – Panic again
9 – Get the bunting up
10 – Have a really fun and inspiring day that makes me want to get excited and tell stories
11 – Take the bunting down
12 – Stop panicking
So – if you’d like to come to an event like this, or have ideas about who/what you’d like to see/hear, then let me know in the comments here.