Estimated reading time: 4 minutes, 37 seconds
Sometimes you envision something and design in a certain way, and then the reality is not what you expected. In the case of #MYFest22, the reality has exceeded my expectations on so many levels (also: the amount of work has exceeded my expectations, but that is another story for us as an organizing team to tell).
Joy. The hope was that it would be a nourishing and energizing experience, because we all need joy right now. This has been happening for me and the joy kind of takes me by surprise in how it washes over all the tiredness and frustration from the work happening in the background of it all. I see joy with other organizers and with participants and it feeds my joy as well.
Connections. Connections between people, Connections between ideas. Synchronous and asynchronous Connections. Mezirow writes how Transformative Learning can be “epochal” (aha moments) or “cumulative” over time (see how Caines and I talk about it here). Spreading MYFest22 over 3 months with sync and async elements means there is room for both epochal and cumulative transformative learning. I have been part of events that mix sync and async, but they usually have weeks of async followed by a little big of sync. But with MYFest, there is a bit of sync and async throughout the week, never 4 or 6 hours straight, and easy to dip in and out of what you are interested in and what you’re available for and is convenient.
Just today, I saw someone make an unexpected connection. So apart from the synchronous workshops and conversations, we have Slack. Some Slack channels are for a particular track, some are emergent out of participant interests. And someone was saying something in one channel and quoted something I was saying in a completely different channel and it was WOW.
And that was the seed for this blogpost. I wrote this on Slack:
A. MYFest might be the only PD I know of that has open ed and diglit themes alongside pure critical pedagogy themes (not critical ped as open or digital only, tho we have that also) and I kinda feel like so many different dimensions of myself or what I care about are here. Maybe because I’m a co-organizer. Maybe other folks have dimensions untapped in myfest. It is possibly the only time I’ve seen a track dedicated to building community, tho some PD include networking sessions. But anyway. I just really like that an emergent theme of Reimagining higher education conversation can be connected with an open ed conversation, with some ppl in common and some not….[those were the two themes someone connected across, sparking this thought]
B. I was just invited to talk about “slow academia” or some such. And I was like, I’m actually really known for being fast, actually too fast for most people in my life, so I’m not sure I’m the right person. But actually, looking at MYFest, it’s a bit more like a slow-cooker than a 3-day or 5-day intensive conference or institute. It is slow PD with sparks during sync sessions for sure, but som slow burn going on throughout the month of June so far.
The combo of A&B, I think, creates space for deeper reflection, as we all experience pieces of MYFest for an hour or so each day, then go back to our lives, leave for a few days, come back again, and we can converse with others offline or in other spaces and come back. When ur in an intense 3 day conf in person you don’t do that. Also, it reminds me of my MEd and PhD experience. Because I was remote, I kept living my life while doing my studies part-time, rather than fully focusing on my studies. And it enriched the studies AND my life. Even as an organizer who spends more time on MYFest beyond the actual live sessions (and I don’t attend all live sessions), it isn’t taking over my life any more than I want it to, any more than just enough to bring me the joy when I need it. My child does not hate it – she sees my joy and jumps in a bit sometimes. She’s looking forward to two “all ages” sessions in the next two days inshallah. She called them “all ages” because she does not feel like a 10 yo should be called a “kid”.
But the FOMO. And yet we hoped for this to be a no FOMO zone, and it has not been that for many. It is no FOMO in the sense of no overlapping sessions to choose from. But of course there is no way everyone can make every session they want to attend, especially with people from all timezones. We do have a few sessions with people from Australia and Asia as well as Africa Europe and US. But only a few of these. Some stuff is recorded and some is not. Some stuff has curations, some not. So we are still thinking about combatting the FOMO… and offering encores, but unsure yet how to make it all work
Perhaps we need a wormhole to time travel. With f2f conferences I keep hoping for the superpower of teleportation so I can rush from one place to another. With something like MYFest, maybe what we need is time travel, to help us get back but there are other ways to bend time, and we will find them! Will we???
Featured image (wormhole for time travel) from Genty via Pixabay.