If you've been to an SEGD live event in the last six months, you've probably heard something about a conference in New Zealand in February. It's called Off Grid 17: An Experiential Journey. And it's more of an ‘unconference’.
But what is an unconference? An unconference is participant-driven, unconventional conference characterized by open conversations in which the participants create the agenda. This particular unconference focuses on the concept of experiencing a journey that is both physical and intellectual.
In an aptly unconventional manner, the Off Grid 17 journey will begin in four different cities: Sydney, Brisbane, Christchurch, and Auckland. Simultaneous events will kick off the experience in Sydney and Brisbane on the evening of February 16, and in Christchurch and Auckland on February 17. Participants can attend one or two of these events Thursday and Friday en route to the main event in Wellington, New Zealand. The main Off Grid 17 gathering begins on the following Monday, so attendees have time to adventure on their own in Australia or New Zealand. These explorations are encouraged and will no doubt enrich the conversation in Wellington.
At Off Grid 17 there won't be speakers so much as four well-known designers functioning as provocateurs that will focus the group and stoke thoughtful discourse during February 21–22. Don't count on a traditional (static) venue, either—there will be a lot of moving about the city, experiencing the city in small groups. Cinemas, coffee shops, bars, offices, and galleries are all on tap for participant use. Expect to see other unusual event spaces that dismantle the notion of a static conference venue.
"It only makes sense to explore the content in the most appropriate setting. If we are talking about museums, we'll be in a museum" says Nick Kapica, SEGD's Wellington Chapter Chair and Off Grid 17 co-organizer.
Participants will be challenged to explore and define what experience design is and to imagine the future of experience design in contexts like city infrastructure, educational curriculum, and design practices. And what experiential journey would be complete without a party or two? Off Grid 17 won't disappoint.