autonomous futures

A couple more thoughts on the gathering
April 13, 2008, 12:41 pm
Filed under: reflective log

I would really like to put together some sort of Scottish ‘how to organise a gathering’ document from this experience.

For example: We must have checked out almost every possibly suitable venue in Glasgow. We know how much time to set aside for agenda planning, how many meal coordinators are needed to avoid anyone going crazy, and what time time to turn the music off to prevent folks from getting cranky. We spent loads of time trying to sort out entertainment when everyone was more than happy with a few people playing records. Trying to plan an action for the day after the gathering is not a good idea – it won’t happen unless the recky and organising is being done by people not involved in other aspects of the gathering. Don’t buy bread – you can skip everything you need in a couple of hours and save at least £100. Parents will love you forever if you make the kids space a priority. Et cetera.

We need to get this stuff on paper and collate it while it’s still fresh in everyone’s mind. Hopefully this blog will be a good start.

I am still feeling frustrated by how the facilitation worked out. It wasn’t horrible by any means, but I feel like we would have done so much better if we were given the information and support that we asked for. It seems like people have taken this problem on board, but it’s something that comes up at almost every gathering, every camp, and so on. I watched the core person in the meeting team spectacularly burnout last year at the camp and it wasn’t very nice. No one seems to notice the countless, thankless hours put in arranging facilitators, trainings, meetings and agendas, but everyone is there to jump on you when they think you haven’t handled an emergency spokescouncil properly. Every so often some kind soul will speak up and remind us that it’s everyone’s job to facilitate, people nod their heads in agreement, and then it’s promptly forgotten when the next contentious point is raised.

On a positive note, I am really proud of how well the kitchen coped. We transported people and food between venues, on different sides of the city, for five meals, feeding about 80 people at a time, and each meal was tasty and pretty much on schedule. The quantities of food I ordered worked out almost perfectly and donations far surpassed the bills. Five Edinburgh people even signed up to help with central kitchen coordination for the camp – we have a functioning working group!


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