What are lightning talks? And why does it involve buckets?

Mark Smith introducing lightning talks at PyCon UK 2022. Credit: Mark Hawkins for PyCon UK

Lightning talks are short, 5 minute talks on anything you like! Usually they will have a connection to Django or Python in some way, but not always. This is your opportunity to tell the whole DjangoCon Europe 2023 audience about something you’re interested in or passionate about!

Lightning talks are the last session of each day.

Who can give a lightning talk?

You! Any conference attendee is welcome to submit a proposal for a lightning talk. Read on for more details on how you do that.

What’s this about buckets?

At this year’s DjangoCon Europe, we will be following the “bucket system” that’s been used at PyCon UK for the past several years with much success.

The gist is: there are two buckets. One is for new speakers. The other one is for everyone else. If you would like to submit a proposal for a lightning talk, you write your name, the title of your talk, and a short description on an index card, and put it in the appropriate bucket. Sometime during the day - usually at the lunch break - the programme team will review the submissions and select the talks for that day’s session, half from each bucket. This way we get a good range of talks, and a mixture of new and experienced speakers.

Read more about the evolution of the bucket system in Owen’s blog post.

Why should I give a lightning talk?

If you’re a new speaker lightning talks are a great way to get a taste of what it’s like to give a talk. It’s also a way to try out an idea for a longer talk - often a lightning talk reappears at the next year’s conference as a full length entry in the programme.

Photo credit: Mark Hawkins for PyCon UK