A SpaceUp near you is a wonderful idea.
First off: You don’t need permission to start an event, use the SpaceUp name, or modify the SpaceUp logo for your event, as long as you meet the two requirements for a SpaceUp: 1) it’s about space, and 2) it’s an unconference. Other organizers have lots of advice (including this page!), but take it and make it your own.
To start your own SpaceUp, we recommend:
0. First, take a moment to imagine how awesome this SpaceUp will be. It will take some work, but the result will be more exciting than you can know. After your moment, you are ready to begin!
1. Register your event. Registration with the Foundation gives your team access to any historical SpaceUp event information, access to the SpaceUp calendar and the world map, as well as the SpaceUp organizers email group. The email group is a low-traffic list of organizers from around the world, and they have great advice to share. Once registered, the Foundation will follow up with you with possible support options.
1a. Gather a team. Usually this is part of registration, as you are encouraged to gather a team prior to starting Step 2. Don’t try to do it all alone. Yes, you would get all the credits if you did, but you wouldn’t be able to share the joy of sleepless nights and doing a lot of last minute preparations before the event actually starts. A team is needed to share the fun, share the credits, but also share the workload, that is always more than you anticipate. If you find it hard to find team mates, go back to the SpaceUp organiuzers group. The organizers group is there to help! Once you have a good group of people (I’d say minimum is 2, but better be 3 or 4), you can have your first meeting (you can’t have meetings on your own) about step 2.
2. Find a venue. Nothing else matters much until you have a venue, and it’s the trickiest bit. Try for a free venue if you can get one; universities, tech offices, and similar places can be a good source. Anywhere that has a) a place to gather everyone who attends and b) a few extra places for people to have sessions should work, especially if it allows you to make your own choices about food. For example, a university dining hall and three classrooms would probably work well. If possible, avoid hotels or any venue that hopes to make up the cost of a “free” room by charging you (or your attendees) for on-site catering or hotel rooms.
2a. Choose a date. This usually goes hand-in-hand with finding the venue. Only when you have a venue and a date you can start approaching sponsors and participants.
3. Find sponsors (if needed). Most of the past SpaceUp events have been held at sponsored venues (in kind sponsoring), so event costs are kept to a minimum. However, you will need some food and drinks, which generally come at some cost. Ideally you may find a caterer or shop to sponsor these items in-kind. If not, you may find sponsors that are willing to pay your catering bills. Similarly you can have sponsors for printing posters, provide merchandise (SpaceUp participants love swag bags!) or prizes for your Moon Pie eating contest. You can also think about finding sponsors to do the live video streaming and recording for you. Sometimes sponsors will want to attend, with or without a little booth or a sponsored talk. It is up to your discretion whether you want this or not. Experience has shown that most sponsors really like the SpaceUp idea and are more than happy to experiment with the unconference principle.
4. Find participants. Having a web page with information about your event is a must-have. If you ask nicely, you can get a webpage for your event right here on this very website! In addition you may want to have a larger dedicated website, with online registration and all bells and whistles. A Twitter account and Facebook page are also good ways to connect with interested people, even when you’re just starting. A lot of people already follow the global SpaceUp accounts (@SpaceUpConf and @SpaceUpEU), so just letting them know yours is a possibility will bring a few people to you. Also using the global #SpaceUp hashtag is a good idea.
5. Attend another SpaceUp. Experiencing a SpaceUp, even remotely, before or while planning your own, helps you figure out how everything works. It really does work! :)
Good luck! If you have any questions, ask the organizers email group, tweet us at @SpaceUpCOnf or @SpaceUpEU, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are here to help!