Tell 'Em Why You Mad: The Unconference

Gabbie Barnes May 5, 2017

The event seeks to bring 125 young people from the City of Hartford together to engage in a design-thinking workshop aimed at developing practical solutions to the issues they deem most relevant to their education.

Design-thinking is a creative strategy used by designers to solve problems.

The event will highlight “Hartford History-Makers” and “heroes” who have done great work in and for the city, and use their legacies to inspire the work that will happen at The Unconference.

The teens working on this project are committed to community partnership and promotion and are working with other community-based organizations to make this a collaborative and truly Hartford-centric event.

Type: Self-directed
Age: High school
Optimal size: 20+
Estimated cost: $100+
Planning time: 5+ hours
Frequency: One-time

Learning outcomes


  • how to define a problem within the context of a general theme
  • how to plan a medium to large event
  • how to create a simple website
  • how to construct a community organizing plan
  • how to develop a simple marketing strategy
  • how to collect and synthesize information into a proposal
  • how to communicate with local government officials
  • how to evaluate a program/event


  • how to illustrate a creative solution to a shared problem
  • How to construct a formal pitch / mini-presentation
  • how to articulate a persuasive argument


  • Identify youth who are capable and willing to spend several weeks planning a large scale event
  • Outline your goals and expectations for the event and the organizers.
  • Set schedule to meet regularly, assign roles among the group, determine method of communication
  • At meetings:
    • Brainstorm ideas for the event and structure (you may need to have some examples or ideas for them to choose from).
    • Develop set of goals for the participants
    • Determine date, location, and time of event
    • Create a name!
    • Determine community partner possibilities
    • construct run of show
    • Identify talent (if necessary)
    • create promo materials
    • determine social media strategy
  • Host the event!
  • Debrief 


Internal evaluation form for library-based programs. 

Other resources

visit the website created by the teens for the event: or

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