Starfest II – thoughts and feedback

Did you attend Starfest II this year? If so, many thanks for coming along.

So we can continue to improve events, we would appreciate and invite you to leave feedback and comments about the show. To do so, please leave a comment below.

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Posted on 12 November, 2012, in Starfest and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Hi,

    As a newbie to the Society I feel a little reluctant to speak too loudly as I’m not sighted on any of the planning that took place for the event. The comments that I do have, however, are minor and intended as developmental feedback and not overt criticism. My comments are as follows:

    1) initially I was left a little bewildered as to who one of the initial on-stage facilitators was as he failed to introduce himself and his role/purpose. I am now aware of who is he and his role in the society but this oversight could be construed as ‘assumption of knowledge’ on behalf of the audience and, more importantly, the context of what he was saying could be lost on the listener.

    2) There was also some further such assumption at various points throughout the day by speakers assuming a knowledge of astronomy matters in the audience (the use of terms such as ‘ … as you will know’, ‘ … of course, you will be aware of’ etc). Whilst the presentations were sufficiently high-level or ‘popular’ (and excellent) so as to cater for all, such references have been known to alienate those in the audience who do not have the assumed level of knowledge. This may cause them sufficient anxiety that they are likely to withdraw from the event and, thus, they may be lost to the society forever. The trick is to be as inclusive to everybody as possible so as to overcome the fear of ‘showing out’ as the group ‘dunce’ (as they may perceive themselves). This is a trick I’ve learnt as a consequence of my teaching experience and I would ask you to believe that the fear I am alluding to really does exist in students (and thus audience members pondering further development/commitment to the group) and that this fear can be overcome by presenting/teaching at the lowest possible level and neutralising language wherever possible (by dropping such phrases as illustrated above) so as to put the non-initiated at ease. Comfort and safety are the first requirements of effective learning.

    2) If members of NEAS were present in numbers, I’m afraid i missed you and this might have been because I failed to see any form of identification such as name/ID badges. I accept that you may have been wearing your fleeces and the society logo may have been lost amongst all those others present on clothing throughout the day. The use of ID badges clearly sets members of the society aside from all the other people present and the display of a name on such badges encourages people to approach you with queries. If this happened, than please accept my apologies but I missed it completely and it’s my turn to be the dunce!

    3) The refreshment and display area might have benefited from some signage. This encourages familiarity with the building and overcomes any anxiety relative to ‘where am I allowed to go in the building’ etc.

    4) You’ll be aware that the sound system needs addressing to prevent future occurrences of signal/sound disruption.

    5) For me, I felt that the 30 mins or so between presentations was too long. For those not interested in or unable to make purchases, such enforced breaks were disruptive to the flow of the day. Might the exhibitors be better served by running two sessions before a coffee break of a good duration and then facilitating a longer lunch?

    In closing, I want to simply emphasis that I mean well in providing these comments. The day was really good, most enjoyable and I was pleasantly surprised by the status and ability of the speakers. A very informative day, well organised, excellent value for money and astonishingly ‘moreish’! You did a great job. Kick back and soak up the praise – you deserve it.

    Your new admirer,

    Gary Silver

  2. Starfest II: Very enjoyable. Interesting talks & speakers. Useful & helpful trade stands, especially Astronomia (I spent money!). Only downside was the lunch facilities (local pub or Co-op sarnies).

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