Brief Description (including a definition if possible)
Share fairs (or knowledge fairs) are face-to-face events in which participants exchange their experiences and knowledge around a specific topic in a variety of ways. They are very different from a typical conference, in that they are participatory, free flowing, flexible and non-hierarchical.
The intention is to create a space which promotes learning, and where participants can share their own experiences and tacit knowledge, and improve their own work. Share fairs aim to create a less formal and structured atmosphere and agenda, and increase the opportunities for two-way dialogue. To this end, the use of a variety of facilitation methods and techniques is encouraged.
A share fair should be tailored to the needs of the participants, so there is no right or wrong way to organize one. However, certain approaches can help to create a buzzing, interactive and collaborative workspace. A share fair is not a goal in itself, but the beginning of a process. By facilitating exchanges between people, it will create new social network connections, both on a professional and personal level.
When to use
How to use
For a share fair to be really successful, it is vital to have an organizing team who carefully plans and prepares for the event and whose members are able to act flexibly and respond to challenges as the process unfolds.
Roles that should be undertaken by members of the organizing team, or which must be sourced externally, include: logistics, communication with participants, content, session facilitation, presenters (subject matter experts), IT support and a (social) reporting team.
Other aspects to remember when planning a share fair include:
FAO Good practice factsheet on how to organize a knowledge share fair: