Let’s be straight: I’ve never, ever recapped conferences. Words are a messy alternate to the multitude of GIFs that I find, express my most sincere feelings in a much natural way. Whether that’s because I’m 20 and thus influenced by my Millennial Tendencies or because I need help — remains a mystery. (Here’s real, proper recaps instead of this mess of a mess that I am writing. Here, here, here and here. I urge you go read those. Get Clickity Clicking...)
But yes. New Adventures. What an authentically surreal moment in time.
I remember scrolling through my Twitter feed a while before the conference when I unknowingly landed on the New Adventures twitter account and first read about this unusually named thing that was apparently Notts-based. Enough to say, I never could have imagined how something so unknown would leave such an impact on me. #cheesy i know, but 100% truth. My Adventure The butterfly-in-stomach feeling for me at New Adventures was this bizarre thing where I, a person with 0 conference talks, was somehow to walk on stage and read, out loud, words that I had written in my morning train commute. Words I had sent back to Simon, with a funny, certain uncertainty that he would kindly have to refuse them: words I had audacity to call poetry.
Spoilers: He didn’t refuse. Initially, it was only going to be a poem written to be printed in the stellar magazine which basically left me dumbstruck for a good 72 hours but then somehow, I think, Simon’s brain was struck with this wacky, outlandish idea that he ought to get me to read it on stage, too? The same stage that had a roster of brilliant, accomplished speakers that have careers lasting longer than the number of years I have been on this planet(!) Trust me, incredulous is a word too sparse in describing what I felt.
In my opinion, to provide an opportunity and a platform to someone, especially someone totally unheard of, is an act of showcasing that you have trust in them and their voice. Simon’s shown just that. And if there’s anyone out there who’s in the similar shoes, whether they be like mine or Simon’s, please know: New Adventures is exemplary; you have to be brave to know people will listen to your voice and you have reach out to trusting people’s voices, if given the chance. If you do that, then believe me, you will be like confetti in that someone’s life.
credits: Stefan Nitzsche (Another ‘Thank you, Simon. Truly’ is long overdue.) Shared Adventures Now that I have splat out what I felt from my side, I do have to reiterate the sheer wisdom of the talks. The many quick, scribbled notes and shaky images of the slides that excited-me was busy collecting, amid being totally engrossed during each of the talk, is proof there’s loads I have to learn and have learnt. My favorite speakers include Jeremy Keith, Clare Sutcliffe, Josh Brewer, M̶o̶r̶n̶i̶n̶g̶ ̶B̶r̶e̶a̶k̶, Jessica White, Ashley Baxter, Brenden Dawes, Helen Joy, A̶f̶t̶e̶r̶n̶o̶o̶n̶ ̶B̶r̶e̶a̶k̶, Naz Hamid and Ethan Marcotte. Each of them shared a piece of their wisdom, wit and wonder.
I lack the sophistication to summarize what they presented without botching it. But if you’re curious (& you ought to be) then make sure you watch the videos once they are magically uploaded or give the speakers‘ twitters cheeky follows to keep an 👁️ out for where they could be speaking next. (Also, the Women in Tech Lightning Talks were most fun! Not only because I completely 💖 Lightning Talks but also because I completely 💖 The Loveliest WiTNotts community) New New Adventures Let’s lay a fact: conferences are scary beasts to organize. The most traumatic gathering that I can remember arranging (more like had my parents arrange..) was my (i think) 7th birthday that was canceled because, like, only one kid agreed to show up. How rude. Regardless, 7 year old me understood that day, that people and events can be cruel and unpredictable and, sometimes, leave you with the expenses of unlit, birthday candles weighing you down.
How that saddening story has anything to do with New Adventures is a fine question and one which I will answer, lacking all the finesse in the world. Ok, here goes:
it’s an analogy! or a metaphor! or neither! or both!
While I imagine Simon might have similar feelings of fear and dread of the Conference Beast, I can assure you, and him (Hi, Simon!) — as a first-time attendee — his gathering, despite the tribulations in organizing, was, without question, a roaring success. I can only wish him the best of luck to continue. Especially in the face of annoying suppliers, unsold tickets, and bills-that-even-my-two-kidneys-will-not-pay-for. To persist. For transforming a room with a giant organ in the backdrop, is an adventure of many, many, many lifetimes.