Northern Voice 2008 is now on the calendar - February 22-23, 2008 in Vancouver, at the UBC Main Campus at the palatial Forestry Sciences Building. This is the 4th annual event, and I've had the extreme pleasure to have attended each of the previous 3 years. It is my one must attend event for the year - if the only conference travel I get approved is for NV08, I'll consider the year a success. I just filled in the official "Travel Approval Request" form, and should know if the U of C will sponsor my way in the next couple of weeks. If they pass, I'll find another way. I'm going.
Digging through my Northern Voice photos, I realized something. This is a conference of hand-talking. That's actually a pretty profound difference between this and many other conferences. When people are talking with hands, they aren't rigidly stuck on a podium reading endless bullet points. They're animated, engaged, passionate and interesting. As every single session has been. Well, with some (very) minor exceptions.
Northern Voice has been like a nonstop, open social learning party for me, where I've been lucky enough to get the chance to hang out with several of my personal heroes, and jam with a considerable chunk of my blogroll. It's pushed me to work well outside of my normal comfort zone, trying new stuff and experimenting with things. If that's not the goal of a conference, I don't know what is. I am so absolutely looking forward to hanging out with the folks again this year, and seeing what we come up with for a session at the conference.