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James Rutherford

Web, design, Newcastle, games and fun!


Tag: #bcne3

BarCamp North East 3 took place over the weekend, with around 45 attendees and pleasing geographical pull (a fair few ‘campers’ caught early trains from around the country).

It had a different feel to BCNE2. The environment was a bit more formal and there didn’t seem to be as much in the sessions that I connected with- though a good tip of the hat should go to Tim Nash’s talks (“PayPal Hacks” / “Get off Your Arse”), Richard Hyett’s “Dashboards” and Harry Palmer’s introduction to his eccentric work.

Sadly I couldn’t stay for the breakout sessions (since I’d booked in for 3D Disco)- and, as such, missed some of the livelier action and a bunch of night-owl attendees.

Nevertheless, It was an entertaining weekend, with engaging people – and left me energised and buzzing with thoughts.


I hosted a couple of sessions, and was pleased that both were well attended:

“Finding Creativity”

An attempt to pull ideas to find out how people best foster their creativity / problem-solving. Particularly interesting to me were people’s attempts to catalyse the subconscious- thinking very hard about a problem before going to bed; listening to a single looped tune; and distracting the conscious mind deliberately. I’d like to have explored much deeper, and in a few different directions, but time ran away.

“80s Videogamers Anonymous”

A fun session – a little early for the ‘late-session’ style, but I pressed on regardless. We started with a bit of nostalgic confessional, before moving on to an ‘A-Z’ of 80′s videogames knock-out and a “What am I?” game styled on daytime TV favourite, ‘Going for Gold’. Bubble Bobble stickers were won, mostly by Ian Pouncey and Chris Neale. Ian took the grand prize too – a Space Invader keyring (yes, yes, that’s 1978, I know!!)


Huge thanks to Alistair for his masterful organisation of the event; Newcastle’s Centre of Life for hosting; Yahoo and Microsoft for sponsorship.

Looking forward to BarCampNE4… :)

(Partial) Attendance List

[Contact me if I've missed you off!]

  • Alex Kavanagh (@ajkavanagh)
  • Alistair MacDonald (@alistair, Alistair’s blog)
  • Brian Degger (@sctv)
  • Caroline Mockett (@cazm)
  • Chris Neale (@onion2k)
  • Christiano Betta (@cbetta)
  • Danni Matzk (@Dannilion)
  • David Batty (@DavidBatty)
  • Dom Hodgson (@TheHodge, The Hodge)
  • Eric Nelson (@ericnel)
  • Harry Palmer (Harry Palmer)
  • Ian Pouncey (@IanPouncey)
  • James Rutherford (me!, @jtruk, @designnewcastle)
  • Lee Cann (@leeky)
  • Martin Cunningham (@martin88)
  • Melinda Seckington (@mseckington, Miss Geeky)
  • Mr Duck (@duck365)
  • Neil Crosby (@NeilCrosby)
  • Peter Bull (@RoguePlanetoid)
  • Rebecca Parker (@Rebecca_Parker)
  • Rich Quick (@richquick)
  • Richard Hyett
  • Tim Nash (@tnash, Tim Nash)

What is Bar Camp?

BarCamp is a loose conference format, with content and direction driven by its participants.

Central to the meeting is a board of sticky-notes, with rooms along one axis and times along the other. Participants may chair their own sessions by choosing a title and sticking a note in that slot. Usually each session will require a little introduction from the chair before opening up into group discussion. A session may take whatever theme the chair chooses- the aim being to share and enjoy a topic.

It’s unashamedly nerdy (though still open and accessible) and a great deal of fun.

BarCamp North East 2

Last year’s BarCamp North-East was my introduction to the format. I could only attend the Saturday, but the spread of talks included:

  • Social Media
  • Cloud Technologies
  • Brewing your own drinks on the super-cheap (tip: visit the grocery at closing time and ask for the stock headed for the bin!)
  • Dealing with procrastination


I presented a session, entitled ‘Bringing web design into the 20th Century‘ during which we formed an ad hoc nu-media think-tank dedicated to committing web design crimes of the nineties. What I’d intended to present in semi-lecture format quickly took a collaborative life of its own as the team gained enthusiasm!

Take home message of the session: We may well look back at our current direction with scorn in 10 years, so don’t be complacent.

Take home message for me: Don’t try to over-structure or control a session… let it evolve!

Alongside the main streams were breakout sessions, such as ‘Powerpoint Karaoke‘ and late-night parlour games.

Another write-up of last year’s event can be found on Caroline Mockett’s blog.

Come and join us!

BarCamp North East 3 will be taking part over the 20th-21st March weekend (yes, ‘over’ the weekend- people spend the night at the venue, hence the ‘Camp’ bit) and will take place at the Centre for Life in Newcastle. BCNE3 is being organised with flair by the inimitable Alistair.

I’ve got one fun session nailed (with competition prizes!) and am hoping to present a second, more serious, session too.

It’s a whole load of fun- and welcoming for newcomers to dive into, so get your ticket now!

Twitter Tag: #bcne3