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Scratch conference 2013 in Amsterdam?

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29 replies [Last post]
Joek van Montfort

Update 23 december 2012:

"Amsterdam?" should be read as "Barcelona!" as explained in my comment of december 23rd.


Dear European Scratchers present at ScratchMIT2012 , dear Scratch team, dear others who I think want to hear about this,

At ScratchMIT2012 it was suggested to "use" the odd years for Scarcth conferences outside MIT, that is on other continents with the suggestion of Barcelona  for 2013. With this mail I want to quickly check out if there's enough interest to start the dirty work. I'll explain why I'm interested in it and will end with a short questonniaire.
People attending at ScratchMIT2012 are roughly in one of three categories
  1. Scratch professionals
  2. People doing amazing stuff with Scratch they want to share
  3. People "just" doing amazing things with Scratch who are curious to meet others engaged with Scratch
It's for this third category that I want to bring the conference to Europe. Like the teachers and librarians form East Coast US find it affordable to visit Cambridge, the same kind of people from European countries may find a European conference "worth a detour". I realize that they are also  attracted by the presenters mentioned as 1 and 2.
Last three months I tried to work things out with Frank Sabaté, Jordi Freixenet, Eduard Muntaner and Teresa Ferrer, the  Catalans present at ScratchMIT2012. It turned out that pretty soon there was a date, a venue and ... then things came to a halt as no funding was guaranteed. Talks with Barcelona government showed that they like to co-operate but not on the short term of less then one year. My two reasons in favor of Barcelona were the strong local Scratch community (see and the fact that partnering with others makes the effort much more doable. Now Barcelona isn't an option anymore I rethought on a conference in The Netherlands andI like to do it. More precisely I'm prepared for 100s of hours of work, beginning with getting commitment from you (this mail) and local organizations.
I just noticed that this weekend the Scarcth team is residing in London, UK see  I'm happy to come over and start working on this 2013 conference idea. Sundaynight, monday or whatever suits better.
The questions I would want your "first thought" answer on are:
  1. Do you consider spending some days at ScracthAMS2013?
  2. Do you like to present something on this conference?
  3. Can you be of help organizing this conference (funding, communications, commitee, ...)?
Looking forward hearing from you.
Best regards,
Stichting Scratchweb
Joek van Montfort


Peteri Ruutu
Really sorry to bring this thread back from the dead :-( Since I obviously missed this conference (am currently in Switzerland), I was wondering if it finally took place. It seemed July was the preferred date and it would work well for me next year (as a student I'm usually on holiday). Would love to help/attend any way I can. Thanks Peteri Swiss uni @ Geneva
Joek van Montfort

 Yep, you missed it. Some coverage you can find via

Next year MIT Media lab intends to host a conference, start saving money to make the trip :-)


Andrew Csizmadia

Many thanks for starting the ball rolling.

I am more than willing to happy organise this conference if you require any assistance.

In addition, I would be willing to offer a workshop of Scratch and Computational Thinking.


Joek van Montfort


We expect the conference "Scratch, connecting worlds" to take place July 25-27, 2013 in beautiful Barcelona. The Scratch team of Citilab and others in Catalunya will help make this a very special heppening.

Mitch Resnick saved the date in his calendar, we suggest you do too :-)

More details to be announced mid january, that's after the weekend 11-13 January when there is a meeting in Amsterdam to set up things needed. We're looking for a group of about five people who can visit three preparation meetings, if you can help in this team let us know.

First meeting (to get structure, website, call for papers, ...): Amsterdam 11-13 January. For the Amsterdam meeting there's budget for housing, catering and if needed maybe transportation.

Second meeting (setting up rough program, keynote speakers, ..., enough to get registration started): end of March somewhere in UK or Ireland. Would be nice if a team member can host this one.

Third meeting (finalizing program): end of June at Citilab Barcelona.

Thank you all for your response, advice and action which all contributed to this announcement.


Vanessa Perez

 This sounds amazing. Were you able to conduct the first meeting? I am writing a proposal for a grant to attend and any information would help my chances!

Joek van Montfort

 Thursday december 20th I'll be at Citilab in Barcelona. People who want this confernece to happen in Barcelona should try to connect.

In the mean time I found a Amsterdam high school willing to make there building available, and quite some people offered practival help here.

People start emailing me directly on date and location, they need to make travel arrangements and more. 

I'll get in touch with MediaLab. I hope to make the announcement before Christmas.


Sjoerd Dirk Meijer
Hi Joek, Great idea! Hopefulle you'll find a venue in Amsterdam, because a trip to Barcelona will be too expensive for me. If you need help, you've got my contactdetails. Sjoerd Dirk
Moti Ben-Ari

For me, Barcelona and Amsterdam are about the same distance, but the end of July is too hot in Spain :-(. If you can't change the date to a nicer period, I'd prefer Amsterdam. Moti


cobie van de ven

I'm available for help and organizing. I live in Haarlem so attending meetings etc. is easy.

Joek van Montfort

 An update

  1. Two persons from The Netherlands donated € 5000,00 each to let this conference happen. They care about the education of their grand children :-)
  2. of Barcelona made an attractive offer for hosting the conference
  3. I still receive emails from people, among them a teacher from Virginia who needs to know where and when to arrange for his travel and funding, and an Israelian professor who says yes to all three questions posted above
  4. I have quite some unanswered requests for funding and hosting the conference in Amsterdam.

We definitely need to decide on date and venue soon. The Citylab is tempting but as I don't have local support for all the preparations (unlike my hometown, where I can mobilize some) I'm still not sure. Your opinion on this is appreciated.

Early january, e.g. 11-13 weekend, I want to host a meeting where 4-6 people come together to set up the frame work for organizing. We need a call for papers, scientific committee, search for keynote speakers, website, ... Please let me know if you would like to participate. At the moment funding isn't sufficient for travel expenses, but we can arrange housing and food.

Stay tuned, keep posting, we are getting speed, and if speed is increased a little bit more we can't be stopped!

Artur Coll

I'm interested in help your team to organize the Scratch conference. I think Barcelona is a great place to host the conference although there is no economical support from the goverment. In any case, if the conference is finally in Amsterdam I'd like to help you as well.


Amanda Ford

Hi I would be really interested in helping however I would be unable to travel (cost  is one factor as I am a student) however I also have a family and the timing is not ideal.  I would be very willing though to participate in online discusions - ie skype or conferencing if that was possible at all?




Joek van Montfort

First round of fundraising didn't brought much. I'll intensify this effort. Early december I'll discuss with the people in Barcelona ( is still committed to host) to see if we have enough ground to announce a date. Feel free to retweet my wake up call for Dutch / european institutions.

Pratibha Srinivasan

 Der Joek


I would certainly love to attend the conference.

Secondly, I would have done many more projects with the deaf kids I work with and would be interested in sharing those experiences.

Third, I'm not sure how I can help ---- but would like to help.  So let me know what it is I can do to help organize the event.!   


Thanks for taking this on!!!!  



Joek van Montfort

An update after a week: your reactions and those by email from Stephen Howell, Clare McInerney, Teresa Marques and Waag Society are of great help. They show that once again there is strong interest to come together and share our adventures with Scratch.

I spoke with Mitch Resnick at Mozilla Festival London. He wants me to secure a venue and some funding before going public with a date. I followed his advice to check with Karen Brennan about what to expect when organizing such a thing: lots of hours and something with funding :-)

Karen told me about the Costa Rican Scratch conference in 2011, which means this odd-years-scratch-conference-outside-US is close to getting a tradition.

In the mean time, Citilab of Barcelona is still happy to host the conference ... So Amsterdam may turn out to be Barcelona. Let's see if some competition between these two nice cities speed up things. In Amsterdam I secured a school built by the famous school architect Hertzberger.

My first funding requests at Amsterdam Municipality and Dutch Education Department focus on getting assistance to get European funding. Europe likes us to co-operate especially if they think it's good for competing with the other powers in the world (which are invited to join).

Once again, you're reactions keep me going, so keep sharing your thoughts. Thank you.

Roberto Catanuto

 Please, consider also to go #crowdfunding the Conference. 

It might help !


Roberto Catanuto

Dear Joek,

I've been dreaming of attending the Scratch Conference ever since. 

Living in Switzerland, I'll definitely join you and your team with participating or even contributing with something you might consider acceptable. Hope the date doesn't overlap with other summer meetings.

As a side note, I'm currently teaching Scratch to a fantastic group of year 7-8-9 pupils.

Please, keep me posted with your efforts.




Pratibha Srinivasan

 Hi Joek. This is a terrific idea!!!  

I don't know how I can help, and would need a grant to be able to attend/present which I would love to do. So let me know how I can help with organization from over here!!!

Maybe we can have a bigger strand for special education -- scratch is so perfect on so many levels for kids with special needs. 



Keith Wilson

 Would a multi-continent Scratch conference with video link be a bit ambitious? I'm in Queensland and would be willing to make enquiries for an Australian conference that ties in with Europe (time differences notwithstanding:) 

Joek van Montfort

The auditorium at Citilab is equipped with facilities for streaming video of what's happening there. If we plan keynote sessions in the morning, you can organize something which ends with a stream of these happenings.

Amanda Ford

Being an avid Scratch Researcher (have been using Scratch in my research for over 3 years) I would love to help organise the conference. Having one in Europe would be fantastic.



Frank Sperber

I like the idea of an European Scratch conference too. And as  Amsterdam isn't that far away, I'd attend the conference. I'll make up my mind, how I can support such an event from Germany.

Wishing success and luck with best greetings

Frank, Siegen/Germany

Margaret Low

Having an event like this in Europe would make it easier to us participate.  

I would be interested in attending, and can offer a sensor workshop with the Technology Volunteers students( - we have more fun sensor ideas to show.  Being practical - it does come down to how much it would cost to participate, however I can also contribute time into the organisation of this.




Jens Mönig

 I love the idea of a European Scratch conference in Amsterdam 2013, and I'd definitely plan to attend and contribute.

cobie van de ven

 Great idea to organize a Scratch conference in Amsterdam!

I can do a nice demo on Scratch and Lego WeDo

Anders Berggren

 I think it´s a brilliant idea. And I it´s a really good thought to get hold of Karen's experience, what to think of, what works and so on...

Could the event be crowdfounded by Kickstarter, FoundedByMe or likewise?



Jean-Jacques Valliet
Hi Joek This is an interesting project, I'll do a new topic on the forum French; personally the main obstacle is the financial cost of travel and living expenses; Sincerely
Karen Brennan

Having organized three Scratch conferences, I'm happy to provide advice, if advice is needed. :)


Joek van Montfort

 Stephen Howell asked if I was looking for a location.

No, I think The Netherlands has many great locations for an event like this. AMS is short for Amsterdam Schiphol Airport which is connected with all ends of the wolrd.