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Don’t Overlook the Open Spaces at PyCon this Year

[A guest post by PyCon 2017’s Open Spaces Chair, Anna Ossowski!]

Open Spaces are one of the most often overlooked activities at the PyCon conference.

PyCon is not merely a 5-track conference — it’s true there are 5 tracks of talks, but there are also 5 tracks of Open Spaces that run alongside the talks.

What are Open Spaces?

Open Spaces are self-organizing meetup-like events which occur in parallel with main conference talks. There are actually more hours of Open Spaces, in total, than there are of talks! While most of the conference is planned months in advance, Open Spaces are created on-site by PyCon attendees. 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 one-hour meetups during the three main conference days, held in meeting rooms within the PyCon convention center. Some people reserve spaces to discuss a favorite technology — like web frameworks, neural nets, or natural language processing — while other people focus an open space on an interest like astronomy, data science, teaching. Other attendees schedule actual activities during Open Spaces, like yoga, nail painting, and board games! Attendees can discover these events via the Open Spaces board which will be next to the registration desk.

Any topic or activity that two or more attendees are interested in could be a good 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/2017/events/open-spaces/

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

An extra day to plan each Open Space!

Like last year, each day will feature two Open Space sign-up boards near the registration area: one for the current day, and one board that is already up for the following day.

This will allow hosts to reserve a slot a full day in advance — creating a longer window for them to advertise the space to interested attendees. And attendees will be able to go ahead and start planning which Open Spaces they want to attend the next day.

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

Promote Your Open Space

We are using the hashtag #PyConOpenSpace again this year. We encourage you to use this hashtag to promote your Open Space. 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.

The committee is looking forward to all of the great Open Spaces that are awaiting us at PyCon US 2017!

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