[python-uk] Python UK conference 2003

Andy Robinson python-uk@python.org
Thu, 5 Sep 2002 22:14:00 +0100

After some prodding I did a bit of background work
on the conference this week.  I have spoken to francis
Glassborow, the ACCU founder; Tim; the main Europython
people; and today I met the organiser, Susan Bennett of Desktop
Associates.  I think I have all the background info
and know the various dates.  Here's everything I have learned
so far, mixed in with a few prejudices and opinions of
my own :-)

0. The ACCU people plan ahead and want to start now. So
we should too, and we can then have a really great event.
They'd like some provisional speaker names and initial
announcements this month, and a 'fairly final' calendar by 

1. The Python conference will have to be on Wednesday and Thursday,
2-3 April 2003.  The venue is a dedicated conference centre
in the Holiday Inn, Oxford, with lots of rooms, modem and ISDN
lines everywhere, bells, whistles etc.

2. We call it "UK Python Conference 2003".  I checked with
the EuroPython committee what they wanted, in case they did not
have the stamina and wanted us to be "EuroPython" and give them
a year off, but they'd rather keep that branding separate.

3. The larger ACCU event runs from Wednesday to Saturday, and 
there is a C++ standards committee event finishing Friday 
morning, which means they need to keep Friday free for 
many more of their own speakers.  That's why we must
take the first 2 days.  (Also, I think we should aim to
get interesting cross-language talks or extra events on 
the schedule for Friday, to make it worth sticking around)

4. BOFs on Wednesday night; pissup sponsored by Blackwells
on Thursday night; speaker dinner on Friday night.

4. Guido will attend, kindly funded by the organisers!
There are plans afoot to have some kind of cross language
panel so we can have him on the same panel as Stroustrup :-)

5. As a minimum we have one room for 50 people.  There should
be 3 90-minute speaking slots each day, thus 6 speakers.
The organisers prefer 90 minute slots with really well-prepared
talks.  The speakers will then get free admission and accomodation 
for the whole event.  Last year we stretched their budget a bit 
by splitting it to 45 minute talks.  (This is their suggestion; if 
we want to flex it we have to be really clear on the benefits up
front and run it by Susan).

6. If we want we can have a second track and another 6 speakers, 
subject to "reasonable confidence" that we can get 100 people to 
attend.  (Should not be a problem, if we organize ourselves
now and promote it well in advance.)

7. If anyone wishes to tack on related events, either on 
days before or after, then there are rooms available. For
example Zope conferences or sprints, PBF annual meetings,
python crash courses.....The costs will be modest.  Susan will 
let me know within a week.   IMHO we can certainly do
2 tracks for Python itself, but that leaves 3 spare days
and several more rooms.

(Opinion: anyone wanting to tack an event on should either be 
prepared to "take the risk" - pay a few hundred quid for the space -
or should make a decent business case to Susan that it will
generate revenue, pointing to attendance of similar events
and so on)

8. They are trying for big sponsors, but will also allow
a "bottom end" option for those small firms who want a little
notice board or table.  Susan will price this shortly. We can
then let the Python Business Forum know.  I can easily see
this turning into a Friday "product showcase" for Python
firms in a room of its own.

9. I demo'd the tools built for managing track submissions
and generating brochures (well, I would wouldn't I)
and they were quite impressed.  There is an option to
try and reuse this EuroPython infrastructure for the
whole event, and thus impress a whole bunch of C++/Java
people with what useful stuff you can do in Python and

So, time for action!  We need to form a committee, establish 
responsibilities and then prepare a call for papers.  
Anyone willing to do any kind of useful work, please
offer away....  

Best Regards,

Andy Robinson