Tuesday, August 7, 2012

How we found venues for Fluxible

I wrote previously about how Bob Barlow-Busch and I approached finding speakers for Fluxible. Here’s a little bit of what went into finding our venues.

At the same time we were looking for speakers, we were also trying to figure out where Fluxible would be held. Obviously, decisions about venues were influenced by our program. But the reverse was also true, in that the venues we looked at affected our thinking about the program.

Going into this, we knew that we wanted to have talks. We knew that we wanted to have hands-on workshops. And we knew that we wanted a big party where everyone could socialize and have fun. As we looked at potential venues, our thinking clarified and we began to get specific ideas about what each of the spaces could offer.

In addition to what we wanted to use spaces for, there were a few constraints that we needed to keep in mind. These included:
  • a target date of Fall 2012
  • avoiding other major events that would be of interest to our audience
  • accommodating around 200 people
  • finding inspiring and energizing spaces that we’d enjoy spending time in
  • venue availability
  • access to parking, public transit, and restaurants
  • technical infrastructure to support our needs.
I had some experience with suitable venues in the region, from my years of helping to organize Ignite Waterloo. In fact, Ignite Waterloo had previously held events at two of the venues we eventually selected for Fluxible: the Conrad Centre for the Performing Arts and the Communitech Hub. We wanted to be thorough, though, so we made sure to visit many other candidate venues as well.

In the end, after balancing our very real needs and constraints, we came up with a set of venues that worked out very well and that showcase some terrific buildings in downtown Kitchener. The Conrad Centre, where Saturday’s talks will be presented, is an amazing performance space that will put the focus on our speakers and their talks. Kitchener City Hall has some beautiful interior spaces that we’ll take full advantage of for a Saturday evening party. Finally, the Communitech Hub has been a big success story over the last couple of years, and will make for a delightful host for our workshops and closing party on Sunday.

As with our experience approaching speakers, the people who run these venues have been enthusiastically supportive of our event. They’ve made suggestions on how to get the most out of these spaces, and have pointed out a few surprising things that hadn’t even occurred to us. For example, we’ll have use of the beautiful council chamber at Kitchener City Hall!

We’re confident that Fluxible has found several good homes for 2012, and we’re looking forward to seeing everyone there.

Note: A sightly different version of this post originally appeared over at Fluxible. Thanks to Bob Barlow-Busch for the helpful edits.