A little more on our new venue

Front Facade - With DateWe wanted to take a moment to walk you through our new venue – it’s fair to say that the new venue is not exactly a traditional tech space. When it comes to tech, hacking, breaking things and being deliberately disruptive a church is not necessarily the first place you think of. For those of you that know me you’ll also know that I left the world of tech and publishing last year to train as a Priest and with that knowledge, combined with a church as a venue it’s fair to say there may be some concerns… so let me explain why we ended up at St. John’s in Hoxton.

None of us care what your personal beliefs or values are – we only care about your hack and creating an environment where you can build something amazing – that’s the only thing that matters. We’re sure you’re going to fall in love with the space as much as we have and can’t wait to see your reactions to what we’re doing there.

We knew that in 2015 we wanted to return to London – but we wanted a venue that would hold some of the best things about Bletchley Park (mainly the camping) and the free nature of a campus type venue. They are rather few and far between in London and just as I was about to give up hope in outdoor space and start talking to universities etc I went to an event at St. John’s and realised we’d found our venue.

It’s incredibly central, it has a  ‘campus’ that allows us to camp in a secure environment, it is reasonably priced and it’s already a start-up incubator. The venue hosts start-up companies in the crypt and the chap in charge is totally into the tech scene and wants  the venue support the local community.

The venue has a track record of running events and services that are totally secular in nature – it’s an easy space to convert into a ‘neutral’ space and we have complete control over the venue which means we can pretty much do what we want there – that’s a massively important factor for OTA as I hate to say no to people who want to do things so a venue who gets shirty about soldering irons or flying drones or launching rockets isn’t going to work for us – a venue who is run by a person who says ‘cool’ when you suggest you may want to blow something up at the front of the main space is kinda awesome.

The space is being designed to be completely neutral. There will be NO church services running, you will not be expected to take part in, have conversations about, or even acknowledge the existence – or not – of anything other than your hack. There will be no vicar wandering around trying to convert anyone and we are explicitly saying the space is open to absolutely everyone.

The ethos of OTA has always been one of open inclusion, engaged debate, honesty and deliberately blowing things up for fun – it’s pretty cool that we’ve found a venue that shares those values.

Camping, Bean bags or Hotel?

The greatest thing about proper hack days is that you get to work as long, or as little, as you like. I find the small hours of the morning my most productive time – hanging around Bletchley Park overnight at Over The Air is going to be one of the coolest work spaces I’ve ever used.

The problem is at some point I suspect we’d all like to get our heads down for a couple of hours – so to aid in that I’ve had a little dig around to find some hotels, and even better, we’ve arranged with Bletchley Park to allow you to pitch tents on the front lawn. (Yep that nice green bit right in front of the house). You’ll also be able to grab a bean bag and find a quiet corner inside the mansion or the marquee – so don’t forget your sleeping bag.

If camping is not your thing then there are a few hotels nearby that may be worth considering – we’re in no way recommending any of these places – they’re just near.

Hotels:

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Accommodation

One of the fun things about Over the Air is that it’s an overnight event. Bring your tent, sleeping bag and toothbrush along, and you can set up camp on the lawns of Bletchley Park or find a cosy corner of the Marquis tent, which will be filled with bean bags to curl up on when you’re done hacking, watching movies and playing Werewolf!

We know a lot of you will be coming from a long way, and unfortunately we are not able to provide hotel accommodation as part of the event. There are a number of hotels and B&Bs in the area of Bletchley Park (and many more in nearby Milton Keynes), here’s what we’ve found so far:

The Park Hotel – £40 per night

Milton Keynes Bed & Breakfast – £?

Campanile – £40 per night

Doubletree by Hilton Milton Keynes Hotel – £77 per night

Hilton Milton Keynes – £55 per night

 

Competitions & Challenges (the Hackday)

photo credit Benjamin EllisAnother key features of Over the Air is the in-event competition, which gives you a chance to show off the clever and fun ideas you’ve been coding and hacking away at over the course of the event. We’ve had some really great entries over the years, and hope to hear plenty of stories of how they were developed further after the event (in which case we’ll link to them for you).

We will be making some changes to how we run the Hack-a-thon this year in response to all of your good suggestions, and our experiences from past years. We’ll get all of that updated here, and post about it as well when we get that far.

 

Connectivity

We have worked hard in past years (with the help of Imperial College ICT) to ensure that Over the Air has great connectivity. The event at Bletchley Park will be no different – with mainly Wireless connectivity, but there may be a little bit of wired connectivity too. As soon as we have details about this years coverage, we will be posting them here.

What equipment will you need?

  • Bring your laptop and power adapter
  • Bring cameras and camcorders, we want you to document & share the event
  • Bring your mobile devices!
  • Do not bring your Router or Wireless access point
  • Because your machines are online, please make sure your machines have all the latest patches

Costs

Thanks to the financial support of our lovely sponsors, we have always been able to fully cover the cost of organising Over the Air. This year we are introducing a small 5 pound donation to the Bletchley Park Trust as part of the registration process – a tiny cost for us, but with 500+ attendees expected it’s a nice little sum towards the repair and upkeep of the Park. (And of course you are welcome to donate more, if you feel inspired by the Bletchley Park story).

If everyone who attends gives £10 or more we could make a significant contribution towards the roof repair of Hut 12, where the ‘From Bletchley Park, with Love‘ exhibit is housed ( Ian Fleming and Real Spies, Double Agents and Bletchley Park). Bletchley Park have kindly offered to give an annual season pass to all attendees who donate £12 or more.

MultiMedia

The  Over the Air Flickr Group

BBC beanbags in the wild, from Over the Air 2008

Help us spread the word on Plancast and on Lanyrd

Workshop presentations on Slideshare from 3 years of Over the Air – Slideshare Tag = overtheair

 

Facebook Page and Event listing 

Registration

Registration has opened and tickets are going fast!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Registration