I’m going to ChangeCamp!

After a good few days of deliberating (and checking my bank account balance), it is now official: I’m going to ChangeCamp in Toronto! The event is an unconference (as you might guess from the “camp” designation), and, from the official description…

[…] is a free participatory web-enabled face-to-face event that brings together citizens, technologists, designers, academics, policy wonks, political players, change-makers and government employees to answer one question:

How do we re-imagine government and governance in the age of participation?

ChangeCamp addresses the demand for a renewed relationship among citizens and government.  We seek to create connections, knowledge, tools and policies that drive transparency, civic engagement and democratic empowerment.

ChangeCamp is a solutions playground open to anyone, where admission and ideas are free. Our mission is to innovate how Canadian governments engage with citizens in an age of mass participation on the internet. We hope to ignite a distributed and self-organizing movement in cities across the country.

The timing on this event could not be more apt. Since at least the end of last November I’ve been very aware of occupying a very funny place in my professional development, where I feel I have something to contribute, but I’m not quite sure what the parameters of that are, whether it is my strength, or anyone needs what I’m doing. Going to ChangeCamp is spurring me on to think hard about what I can see myself doing, and evaluating whether doing such things give me hernias or happy feelings.

Those goals aside, however, this is what I’m hoping to contribute and do during the discussions and sessions:

  1. Share and reflect on my own experiences – from Vancouver Transit Camp, Transport Hero Camp, and SkyTrain Unconference, and to a somewhat lesser degree, my honours thesis (The easiest way to do this? Write blog posts on each of these, which, um, I still haven’t done. So look for those posts in this space before Saturday! :D) For something like Busker Idol, I find it interesting I’m in the midst of figuring out precisely how to tap into my social capital. I don’t believe this to be an entirely uncommon experience.
  2. Contribute stories of things happening in Vancouver; gather inspiration from things happening elsewhere. I can imagine things like the Phones for Fearless campaign, stuff the Vancouver Public Space Network’s done, the Downtown East Side Windows Project (PDF of press release), and the Vancouver Tweetup Heatup. (But these are examples of civic things people do with their tools. What about the people we’ve entrusted with our cities – what tools are they using in the course of their day?) Also, I am not nearly well-acquainted with the Toronto 2.0 Summit as I should be.
  3. Swap examples from government of people are doing cool shit, and how this scales. Colin McKay at the Office of the Privacy Commissioner’s blog strikes me as a good example of this, though I think there’s still a certain transformative dimension that even that example may not entirely capture (though now that I’m skimming his more recent posting on his own website, his thinking certainly seems to be pointed in that direction). The GovTwit Directory demonstrates that this is more than just in people’s headspace.

ChangeCamp also has something slightly different from other camps: a Change Lab, for “participants who want to collaborate in realtime to build or create something on the day.” BarCamps and the like have had more hands-on sessions like this before, but it’ll be interesting to see how this jives with this crowd.

I’m also going to be attending NetTuesday (Meetup page) at WorkSpace on Tuesday, January 20th, aka. tomorrow, to gather any other pointers from the tech for social change crowd, as well as the Vancouver Blogger Meetup (Meetup Page) on Wednesday the 21st.

More to come!

One Comment

  1. Looking forward to seeing you! :)

    Posted January 19, 2009 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

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