Thursday, April 28, 2016

Open Spaces — plan a day ahead this year at PyCon 2016!

What’s so awesome about PyCon’s Open Spaces?

Open Spaces are spontaneous, grassroots, and attendee focused. While most of the conference is scheduled months ahead of time, Open Spaces are created on-site by the participants themselves! They offer groups the ability to self-gather, self-define, and self-organize in a way that often doesn’t happen anywhere else at PyCon.

Open Spaces are little one-hour meetups during the three main conference days, held in free meeting rooms that PyCon provides at the convention center. Some people reserve spaces to talk about a favorite technology, whether web frameworks, neural nets, or natural language processing. Academics and scientists plan spaces around topics like astronomy, data science, and weather forecasting. Other attendees schedule actual activities during open spaces like yoga, nail painting, and board games!

Any topic that two or more attendees are interested in, or an activity that more than two people would like to do, is a great candidate for an open space. You can find a list of sample ideas a few pages down in the Open Spaces guide on our web site:

https://us.pycon.org/2016/events/open-spaces/

If you have additional ideas, please email us at pycon-openspaces@python.org and we can add them to the list.

For 2016, an extra day to plan each Open Space!

This year we are doing things a little differently. Instead of the sign-up board for each conference day only making its first appearance that morning, we are going to go ahead and make each day’s board available the previous day as well. This means that each day will feature two sign-up boards, which will be placed closed to the registration area: one for the current day, and one for the following day.

This will give Open Space hosts and their attendees the ability to plan further ahead. Hosts will be able to reserve a slot one day in advance — creating a longer window for them to advertise the space and let other interested attendees know. And attendees will be able to go ahead and start planning which Open Spaces they want to attend the next day.

In fact, the very first Open Spaces board will be up on Sunday evening during the Opening Reception, the evening before the main conference even starts! This will give hosts a chance to go ahead and reserve a slot for the first day of the conference while it is still the night before.

Promote Your Open Space

We are introducing the hashtag #PyConOpenSpace this year. We encourage you to use it as you promote your Open Space and let people know about it. It’s also a great idea to add your Twitter handle to the card that you pin on the Open Space schedule board, in case anyone interested in attending your open space has a question or wants to contact you about it.

If you’re unsure about whether people like your open space idea or whether they would attend, we encourage you to use the new Twitter polls function and mark your tweet with the hashtag #PyConOpenSpace so those interested in Open Spaces can vote on topic ideas.

The committee is looking forward to all of the great Open Spaces that are awaiting us at PyCon US 2016!

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