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Kit920
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27 Feb 2012, 7:30 am

Hiya,

first of all, I'm really sorry for posting this in the general forum, I couldn't find a more specific UK or events forum.

So, there's a small group of us who have got together and we want to put on a conference for autistic people. The idea is to bring all different types of autistic people together to hang out for a weekend in around August - we want stalls for selling autistic stuff (alert bracelets, weighted blankets, but also tshirts, badges, fun stuff), workshops that are informative/political/thought-provoking, discussion circles, bouncy castles, disco and advice sessions. The idea is to provide a weekend of fun but also to educate, inform and entertain. It's going to be a conference for autistic people run by autistic people.

I've written a blogpost on it here, and there's a questionnaire that you can fill out here, but I'd really like to ask people if you were going to go to such an event, what would you be looking for? Is there anything similar happening elsewhere in the world (besides Autscape) that we can look at as a model? Do you have any other ideas?

Also, although the conference is proposed for Manchester, UK, absolutely anyone can come and is welcome to input.

Cheers!



Tequila
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27 Feb 2012, 7:35 am

Ooh, Manchester? Can I come? Might have a sally down there. Anyone up for a swally whilst we're at it? :)



Kit920
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27 Feb 2012, 8:07 am

Of course, the more the merrier. :)



Marcia
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27 Feb 2012, 9:08 am

How will this differ from Autscape? I'm just thinking that if the two events are similar then you're going to be competing directly for the same people.



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27 Feb 2012, 9:15 am

[Moved from General Autism Discussion to Autism Politics, Activism, and Media Representation]


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Kit920
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27 Feb 2012, 11:14 am

Marcia wrote:
How will this differ from Autscape?


Autscape is held during the week and in July. Autconf will be over a weekend so people who have jobs can attend, and will most likely be in August.

I asked this same question as well, but apparently Autscape sells out very quickly and the current organising committee don't have the capacity to make the event any bigger. AutConf is, if all goes to plan, going to be about three times the size. The venue that we are planning to use can host up to 700 conference goers, and the venue next to it on the same site can host up to two thousand. We'd have to seriously scale up our plans if 2000 people booked, but it would, in theory, be possible.

Autscape is also explicitly non-political and I don't think we have a problem with that. Though we should probably reach a decision on that at the next committee meeting on Sunday.



Tequila
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27 Feb 2012, 11:17 am

Will it require an overnight stay?



Kit920
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27 Feb 2012, 12:01 pm

Tequila wrote:
Will it require an overnight stay?


I think the current plan is to have accommodation for Friday, Saturday and Sunday night included in the price of entry.



Marcia
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27 Feb 2012, 9:38 pm

Manchester seems like a pretty good place to hold it, not that I know anything about the city itself, but geographically it's fairly accessible for those north and south.

I usually go to a weekend festival in Cheltenham over the English holiday weekend at the end of August, and the traffic is crazy then. I take it that you're thinking of a different weekend in August?



Kit920
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28 Feb 2012, 2:48 am

Marcia wrote:
I usually go to a weekend festival in Cheltenham over the English holiday weekend at the end of August, and the traffic is crazy then. I take it that you're thinking of a different weekend in August?


Ooh, I'm not sure. I shall relay this to the committee meeting on Sunday and we'll work something out.



KenG
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28 Feb 2012, 1:34 pm

Kit920 wrote:
Is there anything similar happening elsewhere in the world (besides Autscape) that we can look at as a model?
Yes. Autreat, in the USA: www.autreat.com


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AUsome Conference -- Autistic-run conference in Ireland
https://konfidentkidz.ie/seo/autism-tra ... onference/
AUTSCAPE -- Autistic-run conference and retreat in the UK
http://www.autscape.org/


Kit920
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29 Feb 2012, 6:21 pm

Useful link, thanks. :)



Kit920
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03 Mar 2012, 3:23 am

Hi everyone,

just wanted to state that we've got 40 responses to the questionnaire so far, so thank you to everyone who has taken the time to fill it out and all the people who have also emailed me - everything you say will be taken into account in shaping the conference. It's very important to us that we complement existing events like autscape and autreat by doing things that they don't and that we don't tread on their toes.

However, we're aiming for about 20 more responses, so if there's anyone here who was kinda curious but hasn't filled it in, please just take a few minutes here, because we really are using this data: http://bit.ly/autconf

Thanks a lot.



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07 Mar 2012, 9:15 pm

I already did the questionnaire and this sounds loads of fun but the August dates might clash with the Olympics meaning travel might be difficult. I do love to go to weekend scifi conventions so I'm used to staying over and having a schedule everyday. I do enjoy Autscape but find it more about talks which I'm not always interested in. So I would like smaller workshops as it's easier to hear and stay involved without zoning out and maybe they could circle them so you get to meet everyone.

I think 2000 people is too much, I'd rather have fewer people and more space to run around. I would love a big soft play hall with a huge ball pool (I miss playing in those) at the sci fi conventions it's usually 200-300 and I'm comfortable with that. :)



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07 Mar 2012, 9:20 pm

Also Autscape is very about discussing issues so I think your event would be a good contrast if you focus more on leisure and play. I find it difficult to sit still and listen for an hour so if we could have discussion groups on the floor with bean bags and things that would help a lot.