This page provides checklists, recommendations and resources to help Carpentries community members plan for in-person local and regional events.
This two-part checklist suggests preparatory tasks you can embark on before diving in to use the rest of the CarpentryConnect Planning Kit to organise your in-person CarpentryConnect Event. It specifically covers how to select dates, an event venue and get a planning committee together, composed of local Carpentries community members, in place.
I just had an idea to bring people together in a CarpentryConnect!
- [optional] In case this would be valuable for you, schedule a call with our Director of Community Development and Engagement to discuss your idea and chat about your wishlist and next steps. You can do that by emailing email@example.com
- Reach out to community members via The Carpentries Slack channel or TopicBox to share your idea and interest in finding others to help organise a CarpentryConnect in your region, and include as many details as possible
- Once you have identified several community members that would be interested,
- create an Etherpad on pad.carpentries.org and share it in the email asking people to share their ideas and questions around the CarpentryConnect proposal in it. More information on what Etherpads are, and how we use them in The Carpentries can be found here.
- email the community members who are interested and include the Etherpad link. Ask them to share their ideas and questions around the CarpentryConnect proposal
- Send a calendar invite to people who expressed interest, labelling your meeting invite Virtual CarpentryConnect [City] chat or something equally descriptive
- A few hours before the first meeting, take time to read and organise everyone’s questions and ideas in the Etherpad into themes, and designate time blocks for discussion of each item to make sure everything is covered in the time you have for your meeting
- Leave plenty of time to discuss next steps and agree on a date for the next meeting
- Send an email summarising discussions, highlighting key action points and if possible, with a question to keep discussions going between present day and your next check-in meeting
Find events in your city that would be relevant to The Carpentries community, and investigate if there are opportunities to co-locate your event.
Some CarpentryConnects, like CarpentryConnect Dunedin 2020 and CarpentryConnect DC 2020, were organised as co-located events a day prior to tech, research, data and science conferences that attract many Carpentries community members. Examples of great regional conferences to consider organising your CarpentryConnect around are FOSDEM, regional PyCon, PyData, RStats and csv,conf conferences, or conferences for Research Software Engineers, LIBER Annual Conference, and more.
CarpentryConnect DC was scheduled to take place on 13 May 2020.
Due to COVID-19, the event has been postponed to a later date. We appreciate all DC community members that dedicated their time to planning the event so far.
Throughout the year, there are also topical weeks that encourage professionals from different domains to collaborate at least once a year. Organising a CarpentryConnect around these topical weeks makes it easier to bring people together, and for event organisers to apply for grant funding to make these events possible. Examples of topical weeks to consider organising your CarpentryConnect event around include Open Data Week which culminates in OKFN’s Open Data Day, Digital Ocean’s HacktoberFest, Open Access Week, and more.
- Once you have identified at least three of these four things: city, venue, date range and community members to help you put together a CarpentryConnect event - you can start using the next checklist (I am in the early stages of planning for a CarpentryConnect!)
I am in the early stages of planning for a CarpentryConnect!
This section assumes that you have an idea about these four things for your event: city, venue, date range and community members to help you put together a CarpentryConnect event. If not, start here. Let the Community Development Team in The Carpentries know that you have an idea for or are planning a CarpentryConnect by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org with as many details as possible.
- As you have some intricate details at hand already, consider writing a blog post detailing your knowns and unknowns, and with clear calls to action about how others can get involved. We have prepared a few prompts in this Google doc to guide the writing of your blog post. Submit your blog post for publishing on The Carpentries blog by emailing email@example.com.
- Dive into the rest of the In-person CarpentryConnect Planning Kit!
A note to everyone with ideas for Carpentry Connect events:
This first stage sometimes takes a while, so do not be discouraged with the process. Sometimes the outcome of your first discussion is a decision to organise a smaller meetup first, or plan for a virtual CarpentryConnect event, rather than an in-person one.
You can find our Virtual CarpentryConnect Planning Kit here.
Decide on Session Formats
Depending on the theme and goals of your event, and the needs and interests of your attendees, it may help to mix and match different session formats at your event. Here are some session formats to consider:
These are hands-on sessions with instructors or facilitators and in which attendees learn a new skill. It is important to communicate in advance about levels of proficiency required to sit in for a session i.e. is it for beginners, intermediate and advanced level users of the resource that will be covered? Requirements for the workshop i.e. equipment, tools and resources attendees come to the session with
Keynotes are main track sessions that everyone attending an event is invited to sit in for.
When scheduled as the first session of the day, keynotes are a great way to set the tone for a conference and spark discussions around specific topics throughout the event. Some keynotes are also set at the end of an event day, and these usually serve to coalesce discussions from the entire event into specific calls to action to keep the community moving forward.
For shorter events, it might not be possible to have both.
These are a great alternative to keynote sessions as they allow more people to speak and be heard in the same amount of time. They are also a great way to shine a spotlight on various people’s passions, efforts and involvement within the community.
If a panel session is preferred:
- Find a moderator to help guide discussions, ensure fair share of time to speak, keep panelists on topic and incorporate audience participation
- Choose a broad topic that would be of interest to conference attendees. You can get ideas by engaging your attendees to find out what topics they are interested in.
- Allow ample time for Q&A i.e. the final 20 minutes of an hour-long panel session
Lightning Talk Sessions
These sessions allow participants 3-7 minutes on stage to talk about something interesting, and share a call-to-action or several for the audience. Presenters are typically allowed 1-5 slides to keep their talks short and sweet.
These are sessions whose topics are pitched at your event to allow attendees to decide which topics interest them. These sessions have a facilitator and can take any form decided on by participants. Unconference sessions take on a broad question and open them up for discussion by attendees. In shorter events, Birds-of-a-Feather sessions are examples of unconference sessions.
The Hallway Track
Over breaks and lunch at an event, people prefer to spend their free time in different ways.
For attendees that may prefer quiet time to get work done, or rest and reflect or attend to private matters, consider:
- designating a quiet room for people to go rest in
- reserving a nursing room for parents to attend to their little ones
For people that may prefer to work collaboratively and network over their breaks, consider:
- listing rooms or round tables that will be open during breaks on a common board (say, by the registration desk) and having people specify what Birds-of-a-Feather sessions will be held in each one. To remain fair, rooms or round tables should be allocated on a first-come-first-served basis
- including hallway activities like
- booths run by different initiatives in The Carpentries to encourage event attendees to get more information and become collaborators
- a resources wall for people to respond to questions and requests with answers written on sticky notes
- running a Bug BBQ desk over lunch where people can come and brainstorm ways to solve some issues identified
- leaving plenty of group seating options in the hallway if possible for unstructured conversations to happen
- organising a walk around the venue’s environs over lunch or in the evening.
Designing a CarpentryConnect Program
For in-person events, it is important to have an agenda that provides ample opportunity for people to interact with each other in different ways.
Start With a Program Outline
Using information on time and rooms available for your use at your event as a guide, develop a program outline first then populate it with specific session titles later. Your program outlines when people will be in sessions or breaks, and no further details. While developing your program framework, it is important not to make any assumptions about the familiarity of attendees with each other.
- Leave ample time for people to meet and chat informally over breaks and meal times,
- block time for an ice-breaker session, and
- think about curating aspects of the invaluable Hallway Track in your conference.
Here is an example of a program outline template to help you get started. It is for a day-long event, and was designed by Dan Kerchner and Serah Rono ahead of CarpentryConnect DC 2020.
|Time / CarpentryConnect Session|
|10:00am - 11:00am
Intros, CoC, Schedule,Updates on Carpentries, regional updates
|11:00 am - 11:30am
|11:30am - 12:30pm
Breakout sessions (x4) incl. 15 min collaborative draft report
|12:30pm - 1:30pm
Lunch (Group photo at 12:30pm OR 1:25pm)
|1:30pm - 2:30pm
|2:30pm - 3:00pm
|3:00pm - 4:00pm
|4:00pm - 4:45pm Report-back from Breakouts
(1 slide x 12 sessions)
|4.45pm - 5.00pm
Wrap up and Acknowledgements
Develop Your Program Collaboratively
Engage your attendees as much as possible while designing your event program. They are likely from different domains, and have varied skills, needs and interests. Listening to them will help you create a robust and inclusive program.
Keep a list of all suggested session ideas, and leave it open for comment, discussion and updates by potential event attendees throughout your program design process.
As an event organiser, you may need to make final decisions on some aspects of your event after receiving everyone’s input. To help you decide which sessions to include in your program, consider prioritising discussions that would span months in an online setting. What are some complex discussions that the community can make progress on with the help of a session moderator or facilitator?
Diversify Your Event Program
It is important for your program to create an environment for as many voices to be heard during your event. Given the time limitation, you may need to create different tracks for your CarpentryConnect event to allow several sessions to run concurrently. Event tracks should be themed to help attendees make decisions about where to go at any given time. Examples of CarpentryConnect tracks might include
- local community building
- Curriculum development
- Python mini-workshops
- RStats mini-workshops
A program outline for a day-long event with various tracks built into it might look like this
|9.00 - 10.00||Main Track (everyone in one room)
Welcome, CoC, Acknowledgements, Keynote / Panel Session
|10.00 - 10.30||Break|
|10.30 - 12.00||Community Building
|12.00 - 1.00||Lunch|
|1.00 - 2.30||Community Building
|2.30 - 3.00||Group Photo and Break|
|3.30 - 4.30||Lightning Talks Session|
|4.30 - 5.00||5 min reports from the four event tracks, 10 minute gratitudes|
Here are examples of great event programmes from past CarpentryConnects:
- The first one is for a week-long event and was developed by CarpentryConnect Jo’burg committee, led by Anelda van der Walt in 2018.
- The second one is for a multi-day event, and was designed by the CarpentryConnect Manchester committee in 2019
- The third one is from a day-long, unconference-type CarpentryConnect in Davis in 2018
Identify Roles Needed for Your Event to Run Smoothly
Depending on the size of your event and the number of volunteers you have at hand, one person may need to assume multiple roles to help steer your event on the day. Here are a few roles and a checklist of duties under each one:
Master of Ceremonies
The Master of Ceremonies is tasked with:
- Kicking off the event by
- welcoming all attendees at the start of each event day,
- stating acknowledgements respectfully and appropriately
- thanking event hosts and sponsors,
- talking about the event Code of Conduct
- introducing volunteers and stating their role
- orienting attendees on event venue layout
- running Q&A session in the main track of the event
- coordinating the group photo session in an event
- being last-to-mic at the end of an event day with gratitudes and instructions for next steps
- assuming the role of timekeeper if need be
Ensures the event program runs smoothly by:
- creating time-alert signage to alert speakers of time left in the session
- keeping time in the main track of the event and one of the breakout tracks throughout the day
- appointing timekeepers to keep time in other breakout rooms
- communicating non-disruptively in event communication channels about time left in any session
- respectfully but firmly ending a session when there’s a risk to go over time
Session facilitators are tasked with:
- designing the flow of their session so it meets its objectives
- ensuring their sessions run smoothly by:
- identifying topics to tackle / needs to address in a session
- communicating in advance about requirements for workshop attendees i.e.
- levels of proficiency required to sit in for an event - beginner, intermediate or advance knowledge on a topic
- tools to install, resources to download, reading to skim through
- enlisting co-facilitators / helpers if needed
- deciding how to collaboratively record input and outcomes of their session and appointing notetakers / transcribers at the start of the session
- reporting back about their session in the main track
- following up with session attendees after the event to discuss next steps i.e.
- sending email or other correspondence containing a summary of discussions and with links to all resources and tools mentioned in the session
- leading collaborative work on a blog post about the session
- sharing feedback on event venue and facilities with event organisers for future improvements
Code of Conduct facilitators
Code of Conduct Facilitators serve as an added layer of support to report incidents to the Code of Conduct Committee (CoCc). Code of Conduct Facilitators actively monitor online spaces and in-person meetings during the event and are the in-person point of contact to provide support and guidance to report potential breach of the Code of Conduct to the CoCc. To efficiently serve as a bridge with the CoCc, Code of Conduct facilitators:
- liaise with the master of ceremonies and session leads to introduce themselves at the beginning of the day and in sessions
- provide multiple ways for event attendees to get in touch
- are provided with local emergency numbers for local authorities
- need to read our incident reporting and response guidelines and understand how to report a Code of Conduct Incident with the Carpentries committee
- handle information shared with utmost care, discretion, and pledge to not divulge any information that would be shared with them with anyone
- communicate with the Code of Conduct committee as appropriate The CoCc handles the rest of the process. For more information, please read our incident response procedure for the carpentries code of conduct committee.
Some working definitions for terms used in this resource:
The creation of opportunities for equal access to and participation in programs that are capable of closing participation gaps in our community.
The active, intentional, and ongoing engagement of diverse people and communities that increases awareness, content knowledge, and empathic understanding of the ways we interact within (and change) our community.
Program/process design and implementation that offers multiple avenues for access and participation.
Attending events can be nerve wracking for some people. Event buddies serve as
- venue guides, making signage,giving directions to various amenities and answering all questions that attendees may have
- go-to people for accessibility concerns and questions. Event buddies should be briefed and equipped to address accessibility needs.
- first point of contact at the event by attending to the registration desk to help people find their badges and understand what different types of lanyards mean, for example.
- facilitators of the Hallway Track over breaks and meals - make themselves available for conversation and running fun activities to help people engage with each other
For sessions in the main track, and breakout sessions at your event, transcribing sessions / live note-taking is highly recommended. It is the duty of discussion transcribers to:
- identify a central tool to use to write notes / transcribe sessions. This should be accessible by all event attendees
- where Google Docs or other proprietary tools are preferred, determine permissions to the notes documents for different people at the event i.e. view-only access for attendees, comment-access for organisers, etc
- take notes / transcribe sessions as elaborately and precisely as possible
- go back and edit transcriptions / notes documents after the event
- create and archive copies of the notes documents after the event
Sign Language Translators
Prioritising Sign Language Translations is one avenue to make your event more inclusive and content more accessible to attendees.
Some helpful resources to look into - https://www.accreditedlanguage.com/interpreting/a-conference-guide-to-sign-language-interpreting/
Finding Speakers and Session Facilitators
The Carpentries community is composed of technologists, librarians, data scientists, researchers and other professionals from different domains and community members spread out around the world. For local and regional Carpentries events, it is important for event organisers to reflect this diversity in the event, and decisions around sessions for your event and speakers for your panel sessions / keynotes are a good place to start.
We covered the different types of sessions you can have in your event in this section, and we will now offer tips for selecting the right types of sessions for your CarpentryConnect event.
Ask Community Members for Input
After you have designed a skeletal program for your day, share it with community members that are keen on attending your CarpentryConnect, and ask them to offer suggestions for specific themes for your panel sessions, breakout sessions and keynote speakers. Requests for input can either be sent as
open-ended questions i.e. what breakout sessions would you be interested in going to at our upcoming CarpentryConnect? _________ , or
As an organiser, take time to group the responses by key themes, and use those themes as a guide in reaching out to individuals in your local Carpentries community to facilitate specific sessions.
Multiple-choice questions i.e
- Please select top three breakout sessions you would like to attend at our upcoming CarpentryConnect [city]
- Introduction to git and GitHub by Session Facilitator 1
- Getting started with local community building by Session Facilitator 2
- Getting started with curriculum development in The Carpentries Incubator program
- A primer on successful self-organised Carpentries workshops in different institutions
- Pathways for mentorship and professional development in The Carpentries community
As an organiser, you can then go by popular vote and slot the top three session selections in your program.
Less popular sessions / themes from your community engagement exercise above need not go to waste - please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org or fill this form requesting for these to be slotted as hour-long Themed Discussion Sessions (online Carpentries community calls where global Carpentries community members are invited to participate). These themed discussion sessions provide varied perspectives on different themes, and are usually recorded and uploaded to The Carpentries YouTube channel.
Check Carpentries Channels for Ideas
- Does your regional / local Carpentries community have its own mailing list on TopicBox or a dedicated Slack channel on The Carpentries Slack where different things are discussed regularly?
- If yes, are there discussions that have been going on for a long time, or some which community members have very different approaches / opinions about?
- Are there blog posts on The Carpentries blog whose themes would make for timely discussions in your regional / local community event?
- Have new initiatives been launched by The Carpentries Core Team that you would like to bring to your CarpentryConnect? If you answered yes to any of these prompts, congratulations! You have identified some interesting topics to discuss in different sessions in your CarpentryConnect event.
Brainstorm with The Carpentries Core Team
Email email@example.com with your request to chat about possible session themes for your CarpentryConnect event and members of the Community Development Team in The Carpentries will avail themselves for a chat with your local/regional event organisers.
Creating a Website for Your CarpentryConnect Event
Website Templates to Use
To help you get started, The Carpentries will soon be adding two website templates for you to choose from. You can find both templates in the CarpentryConnect repository on GitHub.
Just like this resource and The Carpentries website, both website templates will employ use of Jekyll, a static website generator, and display all information about your event summarily in a single page.
In the meantime, we recommend using these as a template:
- Agency Jekyll Theme, a one-page Jekyll website theme that was used for CarpentryCon 2018’s website
- Project Zepelin’s theme, a multi-page Jekyll website theme that was used for CarpentryCon 2020’s website
Domain for your CarpentryConnect Website
We highly recommend cloning either of the templates to the same repository to make it easier for The Carpentries Core Team to register a cityyear.carpentryconnect.org subdomain for your event. Please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like for one of our team to work with you in this step of the process.
Developing a Conference Budget
Here’s a list of items that may require money:
- Beverages and snacks
- Name tags and lanyards for attendees
- Event swag - stickers and other branded material like pens
- Water (where tap water is unsafe to drink, and drinking water fountains are unavailable)
- Hand sanitizer and soaps for your handwashing stations
- Memory sticks / flash drives to facilitate installation of tools/ sharing of resources if connectivity is slow
- T-shirts to make event organisers / volunteers easily recognisable
- Restroom supplies, if your venue does not provide those
- Tidying / cleaning services after your event
- Professional video recording services
- Sign language translation and transcription services
- Professional video recording services
- Sign language translation and transcription services
- Equipment rental (e.g. poster boards, AV equipment etc)
- Facility rental fees
- Lodging, transit/parking, and other expenses for invited speakers, volunteers who don’t live in the immediate area
- Other items related to accessibility accommodations (ex. Child care services)
Putting Out a Call for Registrations
Putting out a call for registrations will give you an idea of how many people plan on attending your event. This will come in handy as you prepare your venue to make accommodations for various accessibility needs, design seating arrangements for various rooms, make plans for catering, get name tags ready, etc.
You can employ various tools in putting out a call for registrations for your event. Our top picks are:
Eventbrite makes it easier to collect any ticket fees and donations in case you need to do so for your event.
Regardless of the tool you decide to use to manage your CarpentryConnect registrations, here are some key questions we recommend asking in your event’s registration form:
- A person’s identification details that they are comfortable having on their name tag This can be their name, organisation they are affiliated with, their social media handles, their pronouns
- Accessibility needs Asking an open-ended question to register your attendees’ accessibility needs, and acting to create accommodations, is an important part of delivering an inclusive event.
- Sessions they intend to attend on the day If your program is ready, include your list of breakout sessions, and ask people to specify which ones they would be keen on attending. You can then share these numbers with facilitators of your breakout sessions to help them prepare adequately, and later, to share relevant details about each breakout session (things to install and materials to read up on) before the day of your event.
- Food Allergies In case beverages and meals will be provided at your event, this information is important to have and share with your catering service
Seeking Funds and Sponsors
Depending on the locale selected for your CarpentryConnect event, you may need to raise funds to help execute your event successfully. Aspects of event planning that may incur costs include
- Venue costs
- Sound, recording and/or live streaming services
- Sign language and translation services
- Catering for breaks and lunches
- Small grants to help community members from your region get to your event
- Conference registration supplies - lanyards and name tags
- Conference swag like stickers
- Childcare services
- Communications like design and printing of event posters to create awareness about your event
More Planning Resources
- Email templates for Carpentries Workshop Administration
- OpenCon’s elaborate guide to organising satelite events
- The Carpentries Certificate Repository: When hosting Data, Library or Software Carpentries workshops as part of your event you can provide learners with attendance certificates.
- Budget template for your event