Designer's Dilemma: Which conference to attend?

It is really interesting to know that every major city in India now has atleast one Design conference. As a result of this, we designers are often confused on which to attend! Some of these conferences also rotate from one city to the other. What conference to attend depends a lot on asking yourself, what you want to gain out of the conference. For some networking is always on the agenda. For some it is just to soak in the creative positive energies that flows during this conference.

I was just going through the details of two of the upcoming and interesting conferences in India.
I wanted to give some information about both. If you were to attend just one, I would recommend the Goa Project. That is my personal opinion based on my profile and interests. For the record, I am going to be attending both of them.

1. India Design Forum. (March 15th, 16th in Mumbai)
The India Design Forum- a private registration only program features two days of talks by highly acclaimed design experts from around India and the rest of the world.
Going by the past experience of me attending it last year, I know that The India Design Forum is more on the lines of an international (and elitist) event.

India Design Forum 2013

India Design Forum 2013

The need for such an event in India is important. However one thing I did not like about this conference is the inability to ask questions to speakers. The format is such that you just hear from “designers”. If that’s the case, I am often wondering, we do that anyway through the videos we see. Though nothing to give away from the tremendous networking opportunity the IDF provides.

If not for the IDF, people in India would not get that chance (as yet) to listen to speakers of such high profile in person.

The second is The Goa Project, which looks really awesome!
2. The Goa Project. (March 28th, 29th, in Goa)
A unique social experiment that brings dreamers and really passionate souls across platforms together for an unconference. If you love what you do, you should attend this.
Think beautiful strangers, great minds and sun kissed bodies on the beaches of Goa. All you need is a little imagination. And a BIG dream. Watch it take flight. With a little help from your new friends.

It would have talks and sessions around multiple tracks:
Entrepreneurism / Film / Performing Arts & Music / Society / Fringe / Visual Arts / Master Class.
There will be lectures, workshops, discussions. You get to experience all of these, at a Beach in Goa.

The Goa Project

The Goa Project

The purpose of The Goa Project is to create confluence among interesting and diverse people. Maybe you will learn a new skill. Perhaps you’ll be sprung out of your comfort zone. You might even meet people who can bring your personal projects to life. Together, these instances of confluences will collectively ignite our minds and spark our souls.It is here where you can expect collaborations to happen in terms of identifying interesting people to work with, to listen to, people who are of a younger age profile, and more energetic.

I was discussing the same with my students too, and I appreciate the value that listening from great designers bring to the education, but we do that a lot in our classes too, through videos. However the personal interaction with the legends is always a welcome thing. Then the IDF is a nice conference to attend. However if one is more of the entrepreneur kind, a social experiment like The Goa Project is a must attend!

Some other factors that you should definitely look into when making a decision.

Traveling and moving around
While there is always the option of taking the flight, going to Goa is easier by bus too.
Bus to Goa is around 12 hrs while the Bus to Mumbai is around 20-22 hours (from Bangalore where I am based out of)
Inside Goa, you can always hire out a scooty/bike to roam around. In mumbai you would have to rely on taxi.

Getting an accommodation in Goa is way easier than getting one in Mumbai. There are beach shacks to prime hotels in Goa to stay in. In Mumbai accommodation is expensive. You probably have to stay in a far off location, then travel around 1.5 to 2 hours to get to the NCPA, the venue of the event.

My Verdict
If you were to ask my opinion, I would recommend to go to Goa Project. Not because I am speaking there, but because I think its a better platform to engage in discussions around various topics and really add valuable inputs to your Design Thinking and open up your mind towards the newer Design Projects. It allows you to hear from real life stories from people who are passionate and have tried, succeeded and failed at many things.

The good news is that both the events are on different dates. And as a result of it, I am attending both!

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