SpaceUp is a novel approach to outreach, a self-organized event without a strict roadmap, an open space to encourage initiative and creativity. At a SpaceUp “unconference”, participants decide the topics, schedule, and structure of the event. It brings together scientists, engineers, students, teachers, and artists to showcase their ideas and projects, encouraging them to work together on the future of space exploration.
SpaceUp is a result of the 21st-century emphasis on participatory culture, where “fandom” is expressed as involvement and direct support, and belief that small groups can be as capable as large organisations. SpaceUp has found great continuing success around the world, emerging from space communities as diverse as America, Europe, and India. The first SpaceUp held in 2010 in San Diego grew out of the populist, participatory “maker” culture of California’s technology community over the last decade. SpaceUp follows the Open Space format of BarCamp and other technology unconferences; at these successful gatherings, participants create the program the session grid spontaneously on site. Every participant is welcome to give a presentation or lead a discussion. SpaceUp brought the same setting to the space community.
SpaceUp India was the first SpaceUp held in Asia (Bangalore, Dec 2012), and is the biggest SpaceUp to date. The unconference continues to expand around the world, including Saudi Arabia, the Caribbean, and New Zealand, plus more cities in Europe and the Americas. With each SpaceUp the concept is extended and evolves, adapting to new kinds of talks and advances in social media, ultimately changing the mechanics of outreach in space.