15 things that make C2 Melbourne very different from other conferences

C2 melbourne

When C2 began, it was necessary to discard any notions of “best practices” and preconceived ideas regarding what makes a great conference. To build the next awe-inspiring and thought-provoking event, ways in which to instill a surge of inspiration had to be reimagined. After six editions in Montréal, and a lot of experimentation, we’ve learned a lot. We’ve put our ideas out there, watched business and creative professionals interact with them, and the results of this ongoing learning journey will be there for you to experience in Melbourne.

If any of the above has piqued your curiosity, here are the first, say, 15 things that will make C2 Melbourne very different from other conferences:

1. Not a single “swag bag” in sight

Why is this a good thing, you ask? Well, because these conference staples are often filled with flyers you don’t want, promo materials you won’t look at, and usually end up stuffed into your back-up-grocery-bags bin as soon as you get home.


2. We take the pressure out of networking

If you aren’t already familiar with the concept of Braindating, we wrote a little something that explains it fully. For the TL;DR types, Braindating is about helping you network with people who are right for you. The simple process identifies people you’d be interested in meeting, and helps you book a time to sit down one-on-one. At the most recent C2 Montréal, there were 3,779 Braindates.


3. We provide hands-on ways to experiment with ideas

Copyright: Arianne Bergeron

Some people learn by listening and others by doing – this is why we created Labs. They’re where participants can engage with ideas shared by our speakers. The hands-on Lab activities encourage collaboration on big burning questions, often with amazing results. For many C2 citizens, Labs are a highlight.


4. We have multiple environments for multiple moods

Copyright: Jimmy Hamelin

Many conferences take place in big, windowless convention centres and hotel ballrooms where attendees spend hours on end confined to the same general space. At C2, we design dynamic environments that encourage participants to move between different creative spaces.


5. There are multiple ways for you to learn

Copyright: Mikaël Theimer

Everybody learns differently, which is why C2’s programming extends well beyond its speaker lineup. These additions include Masterclasses and Workshops, a roll-up-your-sleeves-and-get-your-hands-dirty way for participants to explore topics and ideas outside of a keynote speaker setting.


6. We invite speakers from diverse disciplines and dive deeper with each of them

Dr. Rajesh Aggarwal engages his masterclass at C2 Montréal 2017
Copyright: Arianne Bergeron

We will bring a diverse range of leaders to the C2 Melbourne stage. As their talks and interactions peel back the C2 theme, the audience will understand how the connections between the various fields of endeavour are so much more valuable than the differences.

This becomes even more apparent through exposure to the Masterclasses. The Masterclasses are enhanced learning experiences where you get up close with speakers and further explore their key ideas and concepts in a hands-on fashion.


7. We make our partners part of the experience

Copyright: Agnieszka S.

We don’t have the “Can you make our logo bigger?” conversation with our partners because, well, being a C2 partner isn’t about a logo and a blurb in a conference program. You may also notice that we do not call our partners sponsors. That’s because they’re partners in every sense of the word. They’re part of the experience for our participants, and play important roles in the programming


8. We focus on meaningful play

Copyright: Agnieszka S.

At C2, we want you to take risks, make mistakes and not be afraid to get messy. “Meaningful play” is at the core of C2’s DNA – it drives the entire design of your experience, shaping the labs, the spaces, the art, the talks and everything else that you will encounter. From the moment you arrive, you’re given permission to play and explore. In fact, this is expected of you.


9. We have art you’ll want to get into

Copyright: Jimmy Hamelin

As you wander through the C2 village, you’ll come across art installations that invite you to interact with them. At previous Montreal C2s, you could sit and have a group of robots sketch you; you could paint yourself with light; you could climb on a stationary bike alongside others and make music together by pedalling. The installations, like everything else in the village, immerse participants in the theme.


10. Our badges are smart

Copyright: Jimmy Hamelin

Conference badges should be an opportunity to enhance your experience. The RFID technology embedded into badges at previous C2 conferences has gotten even smarter – badges now allow you to interact with fellow participants, have easier access to Braindates and connect your credit card to pay for any goodies your heart desires.


11. We play with our food

Copyright: Jimmy Hamelin

If you were to say “conference food” to a group of people, shudders would ensue as they envision the ubiquitous food box containing a sandwich, a piece of fruit and a cookie. Sure, there is almost always a vegetarian option, but what about gluten-free, low-calorie, diabetic-friendly and vegan with a side order of connection? We truly believe that the food you eat at a conference is just as important as the knowledge you gain. This doesn’t just mean variety, but also a sense of connection with local vendors. Indeed, there will be both international and local food and beverage providers at C2 Melbourne.


12. We celebrate Melbourne flair

Copyright: Jimmy Hamelin

We have an unfair advantage over other conferences around the world; and that unfair advantage is Melbourne. We call the event C2 Melbourne because the fabric of this awe-inspiring city is woven into the fabric of the event, and is a big part of the reason international guests will make the effort to attend.


13. We have a flexible schedule

Copyright: Jimmy Hamelin

Most conferences have a rigid schedule, herding attendees in and out of conference halls like cattle. We give our participants a choice of many things to do throughout the day and evening. They could attend a talk, participate in a Lab, take in a Masterclass, roll their sleeves up at a Workshop, or just grab a glass of wine to connect with new friends. There are so many things happening everywhere in the C2 village, it’s a real-life choose your own adventure.


14. We provide several ways to participate

Copyright: Jimmy Hamelin

It literally takes a whole village to bring C2 to life. Ensuring our success every year is a small army of committed volunteers working in a range of stimulating, and often atypical, event roles. From cultural mediators to experience hosts, press officers, note-takers and even a problem-solving “squad” and more, there are numerous ways for non-ticket holders to share in the C2 experience.


15. We go day and night and our closing night parties are out of this world

Copyright: Jimmy Hamelin

C2 is as inspiring at night as it is during the day. Long after the day’s programming, you will find people connecting over a glass of wine or a bite to eat. This creates a certain quality of conversation that facilitates deeper connections. When you come to C2, expect to be immersed day and night.

The C2 Melbourne closing celebration, featuring multiple artists, is guaranteed to draw a crowd. Past C2 performers have included LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy, Moby, SOFI TUKKER, DJ Windows 98 (Arcade Fire’s Win Butler) and Half Moon Run. The night becomes a mashup of art, dancing, performance and celebration as the C2 village comes alive.