What’s Not Changing
- Focus: We will continue to provide practical professional development in the fields of user interface and user experience design for higher ed, library, and museum web professionals.
- Quality: We have high standards and the quality of our content and speakers is just not negotiable.
- Price: We know our audience doesn’t have a lot to spend on professional development and we’re committed to keeping the conference affordable.
So What Is Changing?
Pretty much everything else. We’re re-imagining the edUi conference for you with a new city, new venue(s), and a very different conference experience.
At the heart of that new experience is the decision to break the conference hotel bubble and hold edUi at a variety of walkable venues in downtown Charlottesville, Virginia.
We hope to create something that feels less like a conference and more like a small festival.
A Superlative City
Charlottesville is home to the University of Virginia, Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello, and is consistently awarded superlatives like Happiest City in America, Best College Town, one of America’s Favorite Mountain Towns, and Orbitz even named it one of the 5 destinations every American should visit.
It’s got this really beautiful pedestrian mall that’s a foodie’s paradise with lots of unique shopping venues, and just a really nice vibe.
So yeah, C-Ville is pretty amazing.
How this may affect your travel costs. When we asked what you’d think of us moving, a few of you mentioned concerns about flying in and out of this small mountain town. And we hear you. Flying into CHO can be more expensive for some people.
For those of you that do incur higher travel costs, we apologize. The good news is that C-Ville lodging is a little more affordable than Richmond, so hopefully that will make up some of the difference in your overall travel budget.
A New Venue
Leaving the conference hotel behind. Our anchor venue will be the Live Arts theater in downtown Charlottesville. It’s just 3 blocks from the Omni hotel and right on Charlottesville’s pedestrian mall with access to great shops and restaurants.
Live Arts just completed an extensive renovation of their space. It features some stunning modern architecture, three theater spaces, and a roof deck where you can sip your coffee in the sun.
Multiple events in different venues at the same time. As cool as the space at Live Arts is, it won’t work for all our needs. So we’ll also be using a few other venues (all within walking distance and all on the pedestrian mall) for things like keynotes and workshops.
We hope it’ll create a lively, dynamic, conference experience that all comes together to create a feeling of being at a small festival peppered with professional development and infused with skill building.
A New Conference Structure
Half-day workshop scheduling. Every year we get comments from attendees that by the time the half-day workshop rolls around, their brains are already so packed with new ideas that there’s not room to absorb any more.
So we’re shaking things up a bit. Instead of holding the workshops for the end of the conference, we’ll schedule them during the conference alongside other sessions.
New session formats. When it comes time for the call for proposals you’ll be able to submit a traditional 45 minute talk, or lead a mini-workshop, or offer to host a roundtable discussion. We hope this will break up the schedule a little bit and give some sessions a different flavor and personality.
Breaking the bubble. Let’s face it, there are a lot of conferences out there. And sometimes they can all kind of feel the same. Conference hotels are comfortable and contained in a way that can feel a little constraining. They create a bubble around a conference that shields you from the outside world. And the end result is that it almost doesn’t matter where your conference takes place because you never really see the place you’ve traveled to.
edUi has always differentiated itself by focusing on User Interface (UI) and User Experience (UX) and by making sure the conference was affordable for people working in higher education, libraries, and museums.
But now we want to bring something different to the .edu conference space. We want to break the conference bubble and turn the conference experience inside out. We want you to get to know Charlottesville and see all that it has to offer while you’re here.
We want to deliver everything you’ve come to love about edUi, while also letting you get to know a truly great town.
Are you ready? We hope this will resonate with you and our other followers, but if not, that’s OK. You can’t be everything to everyone and there are plenty of places where you can find a more traditional conference experience.
But if you’re ready for something different, we invite you to join us for in Charlottesville Nov. 9-11, 2015. Together, we can change everything.
Tell Us What You Think
Let us know what you think about the changes to the edUi conference. Excited? Concerned? Got a question? Leave us a comment below.