Sunday, 3 February 2013

Conference keynote and patchwork

The thing I love about making anything using patchwork is that each project is unique; the choice of fabrics changes everything, the way it's finished can be yours alone. Of course, you can buy a kit, follow a pattern and use the fabric chosen for you, but so much of the pleasure of the craft is taken away by doing this.

Having very recently completed the top side of a quilt, and having to invent my own system for finishing it off, I was reminded of the keynote that a colleague, Andy Priestner , and I very recently gave in Denmark at the Winter meeting of the Danish Research Librarians Group. Not perhaps the most obvious of connections from all sorts of points of view!

Patchwork essentials: you need fabric, an idea of a pattern (perhaps), a means of sewing bits of fabric together
Keynote essentials: you need a speaker or two, a message, a means of presenting the message

Keynotes tend towards the same style. Perhaps about an hour, often one presenter, usually based on a poweropint presentation. Given that we had 105 minutes to fill we had to be a bit more inventive, or risk boredom. We had been asked to speak about some of the content in 'the book' so from one perspective we knew our stuff. It takes very little, actually, to get us on our favourite hobby-horse - ie 'boutique' strategies for managing our libraries! How to present it engagingly was more complex and meant that we needed to re-think what a keynote should look like. Activities were introduced, including an excellent quiz that Andy conducted, together with several opportunities for delegates to engage with neighbours when discussing a particular question or issue. We both took turns in speaking, so that the style of talking and presenting varied including using different styles of powerpoint slides. And so on....

The point being - it was fun re-inventing what a keynote could look and feel like. Just like it's fun (for me!) in creating a piece of patchwork. It all comes down to creativitiy, imagination and the sort of content that inspires you, as presenter or patchworker to want to continue to engage with it yourself.

It helps that our keynote audience were recpetive and cooperative with our endeavours and that we left Denmark having made a number of helpful connections. Just like it is when I meet another patchwork addict..........