Technically I was on holiday on Monday (the 22nd December) but I decided to attend part of the first BarCamp which was being held at the Kofi Annan ICT Centre. I can’t remember where I first saw it mentioned/advertised, but it did come on the GINKS list, among others. I liked the themes, and at least one academic colleague had said she would be attending, so why not?
It didn’t start at exactly 9am but then it was only 15-20 minutes or so late, which here in Ghana is not particularly unusual. I won’t go into details, as others have done so already, and no doubt the organisers will do more.
A few things struck me: the lack of formality, the number of laptops, and the youth of the vast majority of the participants. It wasn’t that I felt out of place – but I did realise that I was probably one of the oldest people there. It didn’t really bother me, but I did think about it – though more after the event, than while actually there. There were very few members of what I would call the “establishment” present though Dr Amos Anyimadu and Prof George Ayittey are definitely exceptions in a way.
Perhaps this lack of the older, more established establishment and/or politicians did enable the lack of formality to really take hold. Though I did wonder a bit about the initial arrangement of the chairs which was in a lecture/theatre style which to my mind doesn’t encourage participation and interaction. I do like circles and/or U shapes for that… Maybe it is a suggestion for future events?
There were the usual slight glitches with the microphones. Is there ever an event without such issues here? Sigh… But there was wifi, and the organisers were taking notes and displaying them for everyone on a large screen which I hadn’t seen before, but really liked.
I did forget to bring along a lot of my business cards – which really annoyed me, cos by now I should know better. I suppose it is because I was not using my work handbag!!!! What an idiot I am!
I couldn’t stay for the whole day, but am glad to have gone. I did meet a few older acquaintances, and made some new ones, plus saw some people whom I’ve only read online.
More grease to the elbows of the organisers! They really did put in a lot of effort, and in my view it paid off. I for one look forward to future events of this nature.