ThinkTwice – A Conference That Formed Connections

ThinkTwice – A Conference That Formed Connections

The ThinkTwice Conference was PPI’s first outside of their regular general assembly. This allowed them to focus purely on strengthening the bonds within the Pirate movement. The conference was organized to “bridge Pirates, NGO’s and Academics”. There were not many NGO’s and Academics attending but a few made it to the conference. The conference took place in Frankfurt, Germany and there was thirty seven speakers from fourteen countries divided into three rooms during the two days. Some of the talks were full whilst others had only a few enthusiastic persons.

The conference was meant to start with a key-note speech but unfortunately the speaker had to cancel and Gregory held an introductory speech followed by a talk on some basics of 3D printing. After the initial talk the conference continued during the Saturday with speakers divided into three room and attendance after interest. Sunday had the same concept with three speeches running parallel in the three rooms with some back-to-back speeches and others with a small break between. The lobby-room was spacious, allowing people to discuss outside of the speeches and network with each other. The building had another “hidden” room with coffee and a large table where there was always a few people sitting discussing and topping up their caffeine levels.

The speeches allowed focused discussions around different areas within creativity, human rights and revolution. More importantly the social events outside of the speeches gave people an opportunity to forge friendships and collaborations across borders. Each day had a longer break for lunch (Chinese  the first day and a Japanese lunch the second day). The evening before the conference began a social event took place in an Indian restaurant, the next nightly social gathering took place in a “typical German bar” and the last evening was inside an African restaurant. This was definitely an international conference.

pirate parties international conference frankfurt ppi

The conference was an important meeting point to strengthen international collaboration between pirates. Not having a “formal agenda” for the conference, apart from networking and learning more, made the conference very enjoyable for all attending. Late organization of talkers, some uncertainty because of this and some canceled flights at the airport on the Friday created a bumpy start but it got smoothed out efficiently.

In general the conference was well organized even though there was a certain “information deficit” for people outside of the conference. I realize that the motto of the conference was “Away from Keyboard” but the conference would have benefited from more external communication. Having a wifi, instead of only a few people having a mobile connection, would have increased the usage of the twitter hashtag #tt14, allowing more people to be aware and take part of the live-streams from the speeches.

The speeches will be uploaded to PPI’s youtube channel (will take some time for all the speeches to appear).

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Other image: cc-by, @collentine