Every event has a life and character of their own – and it was great to have a hand in developing Datamash.

© Open Defra

The two day event from Defra and the Ordnance Survey held a formal conference on its first day with named speakers, structured sessions and a panel and then an Unconference on Day Two where both the agenda and speakers were defined by the delegates as the day started. And we had to find ways to draw both pieces.

© Open Defra

You can see a small sample of the output from the planned sessions and panels on day one in the short slideshow, below.

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The Unconference on the second day – or, ‘I have something to offer!’

© Open Defra

One of the particular challenges of a self-defined agenda at any Unconference is capturing the essence of the pitches for the talks. This is because the suggestions for shared conversation are often made extremely quickly – typically, in rather less than two minutes apiece. You can see some of our very quick capture in the equally short slideshow, below.

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You can also see below a snippet of some of the final discussions that were agreed by the delegates and organisers and held by the Datamash conference attendees. Each talk resulting from the pitches was about a hour in duration but, true to the nature of any unconference they were moderated and facilitated in many different ways.

© Open Defra

The beauty and power of the unconference format is that it allows this and the widest possible input of voices, experience and opinion from the delegates in attendance. This can often be a hard thing to extract from a more formal or conventionally planned and structured conference such as that on day one of the event.

If you would like to know a little more about unconferences, we’d recommend a talk about the power of the format (and a blog post) given by Claire Moriarty, senior civil Servant at the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

‘The people who are there set the agenda’.

And here are some of those people…

And after that, what does two days of Drawnalism look like?

Something like this. Thanks to our commissioners for doing the little piece of virtual reality magic back at the office after the Datamash event was over.

Post by Matthew Buck

Co-Director of Drawnalism Ltd.

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