First Skepticamp a success

Australia’s first Skepticamp was held on Saturday, April 30, and it was generally held to be a total success.

Organised by Jason Brown and a bevy of keen and hardworking volunteers, Skepticamp was held at the University of Technology Sydney over a seven hour period with an audience of approximately 100 people, who were able to attend the event for free.

The concept of a Skepticamp, first undertaken in the US, features mini-presentations running for 10 to 15 minutes from speakers working in parallel sessions. Many of the presenters had never given talks in front of an audience before.

The talks covered a broad range of topics, from clinical trials and genetically-modified foods to skepticism about the Middle East conflict(s) and the parallels between the Biblical gospels and George Lucas’s Star Wars films.

Many speakers – some of whom had only decided to present on the day – took the opportunity to discuss the development, role and nature of skepticism, giving the camp a strong philosophical thread as much as the more specific discussions of scientific and pseudoscientific topics.

Each presentation was followed by questions from the audience, and the rapid turnover of speakers and sessions contributed to a fast-paced and – from the audience’s point-of-view – seamless organisation.

Australian Skeptics Inc was a major sponsor of the event.

Congratulations go to all of those involved, who no doubt worked very hard behind the scenes to ensure a splendid and successful time was had by all.

It is anticipated that the next Skepticamp will be held in Melbourne later this year.