Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Behind-the-Scenes at Questival 2012!

The new exec of the AHS were elected at the AHS AGM and I am no longer the Secretary. It's been a fantastic year, one which I will give a personal reflection on in another post, but there's one final mission before retirement - QUESTIVAL!

Click Poster to Embiggen!

Questival represents the final work of any Exec and accomplishes the "joint-actions" objective from the AHS's aims by bringing together volunteers and attendees from across the UK and Ireland. Indeed, I know that we have at least one international attendee this year, so Questival's reach is ever growing! It is distinct from the AHS' other events in that the emphasis is purely focused on being interesting and fun, fostering a sense of community and shared experience between atheists. Chatting with people at midnight round a campfire is a completely different experience to the formal environment of a conference! See photos from Questival 2011

Questival has been in the planning stages since December last year and has been incredibly fun. We started off with a completely blank sheet of paper, knowing only the date we wanted to hold it and that we had 48 hours to fill with activities! We knew we wanted to keep it varied and make sure that there was something for everyone and I think we've succeeded in that. The full schedule is online here.

It has been a true team effort, with everyone pitching in ideas and putting in the hard work to make those ideas a reality.  Scouting venues, sourcing equipment, organising logistics, planning operations, designing publicity and filling in risk assessments may not be glamourous but are utterly essential to running a national event. Meetings between our disparate members are held on Skype whilst we toil away on a giant Google Spreadsheet OF DOOM which holds all the planning information. This is a surprisingly effective way of getting things done.

Manga-Jesus appeared in a pancake at last year's Questival

I was mostly responsible for planning the catering, the Atheist Olympics and some of the publicity design and distribution. Humanists are a surprisingly ethical bunch given they're not under constant godly supervison and vegetarianism is common so I've made sure there will be plenty of yummy veggie dinner and breakfast items. There will, of course, be plenty of bacon for the hedonistic meat-heads too!

The Atheist Olympics are going to be great. We've not been threatened by LOCOG's ban-hammer for using the word "olympics" yet, so maybe the negative press has encouraged them to chill out. In any case, our olympics will be skill and brains rather than raw physical fitness with our two main events being Blind Faith and The Hippogriff is a Fine Beast.

Blind Faith will emulate religious experience by having one team-member blindfolded whilst their team-mates shout at them and order them where to go and what actions to carry out in a confusing maze. Just to make things more difficult, they will be racing against another another team in a separate maze who will be shouting contradictory instructions. This promises to be very silly.

The Hippogriff is a Fine Beast is a debating game where each team is given a mythical creature and they must make the case for it existing. At the same time, they must de-bunk their opponents creatures as clearly ludicrous flights of fancy. Again, sillyness abounds and the victors of both events will receive ostentatious prizes!

The Flying Spaghetti Monster - Myth or Reasonable Proposition?

There will be plenty else going on, including Jenny's frankly terrifying, pun-laden Flying Spaghetti Monster Church Service, Andrew's Big Photo Challenge, Nicola's general ability to get anyone to do anything and talks and music from Alom Shaha, Jonny Scaramanga and Jonny Berliner. This is the last exec's final event so we will be pulling out all the stops to make it the best yet. It would be fantastic to see you there so don't miss outBUY YOUR TICKETS before the deadline THIS SATURDAY!

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