Pattern writers workshops

Writers workshop format

At EuroPLoP 2012 I presented a paper describing the crib sheet and giving advice to workshop moderators. This paper was reviewed in workshop – like every other paper at EuroPLoP – and later updated. The paper can now be downloaded here:

To help workshop moderators I have also created some “crib sheets” and notes:

The background…

At EuroPLoP 2005 I was the workshop leader for group B. This mean I had to convene the workshop and make sure all the boring administrative tasks where taken care off. OK, there aren’t actually that many admin tasks to do, the real role is to moderate the pattern discussions.

Or rather…

In some workshops the leader will moderate all the review sessions. This can be tiresome and difficult – particularly if the leader has authored a paper themselves. Instead it is customary to rotate the moderation between workshop members.

EuroPLoP 2005 was the first time I had lead a workshop and I was concerned that I would forget the important steps in moderating a paper. In addition, most of the people in the workshop where new to writers workshops so they too needed a reminder of what to do. So, I created a crib-sheet for the workshop leader/moderator – the “old” version

In 2006 I was again asked to lead a workshop. This time the EuroPLoP committee suggested workshops leaders try different workshop formats. The objective was to get away from routine (i.e. not very useful) comments and improve the feedback to the author. As a result I modified the style of the workshop and created a new crib-sheet for this style.

Since then I have refined the style at EuroPLoP 2007 and 2008. It is well received and I get good feedback about the approach. The main different is I use a “Once around the group” technique to elicit initial comments from everyone. I do this for form and style, content and then closing remarks. On the whole I find it packs more comment into the same time and ensure everyone has a voice.