What is an unconference?

An unconference is a participant-led day of conversations and collaborative thinking.  Session ideas all come directly from participants — you.

If I’m proposing a session, should I bring a presentation or lap top?

No. This is not a venue for prepared formal presentations or Power Points.  This video, called “Unconference 101,” gives an overview of how it works.  If you would like to bring handouts for a session, you can bring paper handouts that can be given out if your session is chosen (sessions generally get between 8-20 people, so bringing 10-15 would be fine as people can share).

Is there a registration fee?

Yes, registration is $10 for non-students and free for all students (please bring an ID card to the unconference).  PLEASE NOTE: ONLINE REGISTRATION IS NOW CLOSED; YOU MAY REGISTER AS A WALK-IN AT THE UNCONFERENCE.   If you would like to request a registration fee waiver, these are available — please write to Marisa Brown at marisa_brown@brown.edu.

Can I attend without proposing a session?


How many people attend the unconference, and who are they?

There are usually about 60 people in attendance, but we always welcome more — we especially welcome first-time attendees! You do not need to work in a field connected to preservation, heritage or history — there are no “experts” at an unconference.  Some who attend are students who would like to learn more about these issues and propose a session that is related to a final course project or paper; others  are community members who may be fans or may be critics of preservation efforts in their neighborhoods.  Hacking Heritage creates space to meet new people with similar interests in an open and inviting format.

How do I propose a session?

There are two ways to propose a session: online or in person, the morning of the Unconference. Proposing online prior to March 16 is great for two reasons. It gives you more room to describe the questions projects that you would like to suggest as a discussion/workshop and it gives other participants a sense of the different sessions that might take place on March 2.

Go to our proposal page and submit your session proposal AND YOU CAN REGISTER ON-SITE..  It will be added to the Session Proposals page within a few days and will automatically be included as a Session Proposal when all participants vote on sessions on the morning of March 2.

How are sessions chosen?

All participants will vote on the morning of March 16 for the sessions they want to see. We will tape all of the session proposals in a grid on a wall and all participants will cast votes for their top choice; votes will be quickly tabulated and a schedule put together listing all sessions and their locations.  Note: sessions are never discarded for lack of votes, but are usually combined with like session topics as we have found over the years that great minds often think alike!

What kinds of sessions can be proposed?

All kinds, including general discussion sessions, project-based discussion/prototyping sessions, technology/skills workshop sessions or miscellaneous experimental sessions which may even take place outside of the building, such as walks and tours.

When should I propose a session?

You can propose a session as early as you’d like, but most people will propose sessions online in the few weeks leading up to the unconference. You can also propose sessions on March 2 – see below.

Can I register as a walk-in on March 16?


Can I propose a session on-site on March 16?

Absolutely. If you do plan to propose on-site, just make sure you arrive right on time at 9am to ensure that you have enough time to register, write up your proposal on a sheet of paper and give it to us to tape up to the wall before participant voting starts.

Can I leave a session that I’m in and join another one?


Can I post content to social media before, during and after the Unconference?

Yes, please! Our Twitter handle is @publichumans and the event hashtag is #heritage19.

How many sessions will there be?

There will be roughly 20 sessions to choose from over the course of the day, with 3 different options per block of time. Check out the schedule here.

Have another question? Email marisa_brown@brown.edu.

Old-timey photograph at top courtesy of the Providence Public Library Digital Collections.