About the organization of ESBG2011:
-PermaLot was chosen as a host of the ESBG 2011 by the international straw bale community in January 2010. The vote was based on our presentation of our place, intentions and capacity.
-The first ESBG team meeting was held in January 2011. A invitation to join the ESBG team had been made public on a CZ E-list prior to the meeting. During the meeting it was agreed that the lead organizer would be the only one receiving a pay; The pay equaled to 1 work week per month. The remainder of the team were volunteering. Summary of meeting is here.
-Attempts to secure more national cooperation about the ESBG was made in October 2010, but did not receive any response. Throughout the year leading to the ESBG it was not possible to find any Czech willing to take responsibility of national promotion of the event. (Two people volunteered but never did anything).
-A registration scheme which attempted to secure a potential for as many as possible nationalities to register was established. It meant that max. 5 tickets could be sold per country the first month, afterward it was 'open market', disregarding nationalities. The invitation was mailed to previous participants of the ISBG'05 ESBG '07 and 09, Lehm '08 and to a number of E-lists and to national contacts. The very professional looking invitation is available here.
-Attempts to secure more national cooperation about the ESBG was made in October 2010, but did not receive any response. Throughout the year leading to the ESBG it was not possible to find any Czechs willing to take responsibility of national promotion of the event. Two people volunteered but never did anything.
-A survey was carried out to help design the schedule of the event. The program was adjusted accordingly. The survey also covered a series of other issues and result is available here. The results pointed out the wish for all three elements; hands-on, discussions and conference to be part of ESBG.
-Topics, abstracts and presenters were solicited for the conference. Venue were secured (first venue at the hotel was canceled by the hotel after 2 months and an substitute venue secured).
-Arrangements were made with castle for concert, including use of castle grounds for after concert, and funding for publicity in the region. Likewise arrangements were made for rental of P-A equipment for conference and concert, incl. gear for simultaneous translation. A 10x20 m tent, benches, tables and simple PS system was reserved already in February.
-We felt responsible to facilitate a minimum environmental imput from the minute participants left home: Large efforts was put into facilitating rideshare and minimize air miles. This included extensive pre-event communication as participants often did not fill out the online Google documents, had to be reminded, guided ets.
-We aimed at providing a wide selection of accommodation for all comfort levels; from tents to dormitory to pensions to hotels. This included extensive pre-event communication as participants often did not fill out the online Google documents, had to be reminded, guided ets. It also included contact with local service providers.
As outlined in 'Acknowledged shortcomings', we worked hard on securing funding and permits for a new up-stairs facility, a new well and a final reed-bed system; only the well was made in time. We also did extensive landscaping, established gravel enforced communal area and driveway. We arranged for a 80m2 wooden floor in the 'bar-tent', as well as lighting of the 3 large tents.
As clear in the summery, we arranged for a number of additional events; the optional bus tour of SB homes, the simultaneous translation of the conference, the public concert, the E-cohabitat and the national Open House of SB houses. Too a certain extend this was delegated to some of the volunteers which worked well, unfortunately we were not very successful with trying to out-source some of the events.
We established a Google mail account which all team members had access to as the common work platform. This included all communication, documents, spreadsheets etc and was a huge help. In addition we created a LinkedIn group for the participants to use for communication, however this was not successful. In hindsight we should have used facebook more; we only started a Facebook account towards the end, and only for promotion, not communication.
We also established a national web portal leading to the ESBG / the Open Door event / a Czech forum for anyone interested in straw bale building.
-External funding: 3 different grant applications was turned down, effectively making it a almost completely participant funded event, unlike ESBG '07 and '09. Only exceptions was; The national heritage fund managing the castle gave a significant discount and support. The region cut our application in half, but funded the concert and E-cohabitat with 400 Euro. Andre from France and Paul in Finland had to cancel their participation which graciously helped fund 2 other participants from worse economies. 2 participants made a work-exchange as part of the cook team. The entire accounting of the ESBG is available here.
-Corporate sponsors: Several power tool producers were contacted, but nothing achieved. Claygar donated 2,4 ton final plaster, incl their new water proof earthen plaster as well as reed mats. Drag-On donated a sample of their plaster tool, Ekopanely donated 20 compressed straw panels, Ekoshop gave a discount on 10 separating toiletseats, and Libor Pokorny, the producer of the E-mixer donated the print of the poster exhibition. Unfortunately -for some very odd reason- the donors did not show up (with exception of Drag-On) to demonstrate their products as expected during the conference and E-Cohabitat days.
Less corporate, but lovely none-the-less, is the local farmer and our neighbouring lumberjack who donated all the bales and logs for the bus shelter.
-Local outreach: During the ESBG the locals were invited to join the concert and the E-cohabitat for free, able to join the conference, and follow the construction of the bus shelter, which now is in daily use. 200 posters were displayed in the region showing pre-fab and BBB building as advertisement for the conference, which also provided some public education to anyone watching the posters.
-National outreach: We're aware of 3 TV and 3 radio features, as well as several news paper (online and printed) articles which appeared as a result of the ESBG2011. Unfortunately we only gained 30 additional participants for the conference; we suppose this was due to poor marketing, lack of Czech 'word-of-mouth effect' and rural location.