Decentralised Gatherings

Submitted by admin on Sun, 2006-04-23 08:13.

For the first time, part of the european PGA conference will be decentralized over five different sites, from August 19th to August 27th, 2006.

Why decentralize?


The idea of geographical decentralisation comes from previous conferences being experienced as too dense, too crowded with people and activities, rendering navigation and full participation difficult.

  • It was felt that a large heavily attended meeting was not terribly conducive to meeting other people and making contacts. Especially as in previous years, the length of the conference has been quite short. Whereas smaller gatherings of say, 100 people, might lead to stronger bonding between participants.
  • The large choice of discussions and workshops, while beneficial, often leads to a situation where the average attendee doesn't really know what is going on, and can end up consuming rather than fully participating in the conference. This attitude, along with the general confusion caused by the enormity of the conference, does not encourage people to participate in the PGA process. All of which serves to reinforce the perceived distinction between a small coterie of 'insiders' linked to the PGA and the rest of the people. Clearly this is not helpful in combating vertical hierarchies within the PGA.
  • The huge quantities of food and equipment necessary for a large conference means that usual methods of restocking supplies (skipping, local and home-produced goods) have to be abandoned. The host collective is obliged to resort to another kind of economy, buying in services and goods from further afield and in large quantities.


By decentralizing part of the conference, we hope to achieve the following:

  • improve the quality of contacts between people as there will only be 30 to 300 people in each place, plus they will stay for the longer time of 9 days (plus 4 days for the final centralised part);
  • give ourselves space to explore discussions in depth;
  • favour skill sharing and to give ourselves the time to work on concrete projects which are also a good opportunity to build links and develop team work;
  • gives ourselves the necessary time to meet the local collectives and understand local issues and problems;
  • inspire reflection on the structure of each local network;
  • to dilute and diminish hierarchy by better sharing chores and interests as well as discover better methods of decision making;
  • decrease the need to supply food and equipment from external sources, working with the scale and possibilities of the local collective, permitting them to use their usual sources and methods. This will avoid a situation in which the host collective feels both materially and energetically exhausted by the demands of the conference.

Decentralized locations