The Goa Project, a unique event that fosters learning and sharing across disciplines through talks, lectures and workshops is slated for February 7 and 8

Akancha Srivastava, founder of a brand consulting firm, pitched for a lightning talk with the following note: “Let’s face it — love is difficult and almost impossible to find in today’s time. Look around you, amidst all the successful entrepreneurs, musicians, film makers, writers and others...you are likely to find one emotion in common — longing for love. Is it that the emotion itself has lost its sheen? Have we stopped believing in love? Or we are just too busy for it? What is it that our generation really hopes to find in their companion? Is there a fear of commitment or fear of losing our identities?”

This talk happens to be the most voted proposal at this year’s edition of The Goa Project (TGP), the unique ‘unconference’ that fosters learning and sharing across disciplines of arts, commerce, society and fringe through talks, lectures and workshops proposed and voted by the participants themselves. TGP will be held on February 7 and 8 at Stone Water Eco Resort in Goa. Book your tickets and you might just meet some of these interesting people:

Jubin Mehta, an engineer wants to share his experience of ‘Six months of living in a village in the Himalayas’. As he elaborates: “The session is a first hand account of the experiences accumulated of my travels to Himachal and the decision to take the plunge and actually shift to a village... the talk will help in analysing the pros and cons of actually going out there and adapting to a village life.” Jubin’s love for travel, “a hint of social conscience and a distaste for city life” took him to the mountains. He hopes to convert more people during TGP this year.

Devika Sekhar, a dancer and psychology graduate, is planning an original movement therapy workshop on ‘Body Mapping with Movement Exploration’ where “participants will be encouraged to use different art materials to make their own body maps with partners.”

Paras, programme coordinator of iCALL — a telephone-based psychosocial counselling helpline in Mumbai, has proposed a talk on ‘Viewing alcoholism through the lens of ghazals’.

Humorist and popular geek, Krish Ashok wants to give the audience a peek at the making of ‘Parodesy Noise’ while the star speaker at TGP last year Mahesh Murthy wants to do a sequel of his talk: ‘Travel Hacks, re-visited and refreshed’. “My Travel Hacks presentation at Goa Project 2013 went wildly viral, with over 125,000 views on SlideShare alone and many tens of thousands more views on YouTube and elsewhere,” he brags.

As founder and co-host of The Goa Project, Vijay Anand, explains the idea behind this experimental unconference: “When the world talks about India emerging, they are talking about the young and the brave born in the mid 1980s, to a new world — a globalised world — but we haven’t had a support infrastructure, beyond family and educational networks to spur them on. We are hoping that The Goa Project, in the years to come, becomes that. And the experience of being amidst people from so many disciplines — who are also good at it — is life changing!”

This year, the volunteers have planned to broaden the canvas. “We have made the gambit wider. What used to be the Film track is now Media and Entertainment and will include Performing Arts, Movies, Theatre, Music and Dance,” says Javeeth Ahamed, track manager of Media and Entertainment.

“The ‘Society’ track last year looked at various individuals working in the arena of social change — whether it meant an insight into the spectrum of female sexual desires, to digital citizen power, to the taboo of menstruation or to develop transportation models for rural India. This year, we continue to bring in these fearless ones to the podium — those fighting for the ‘others’, the excluded, in one way or the other. My greatest desire is that the Goa Project serves as a catalyst for collaboration — for multidisciplinary attendees to be part of this journey of social change, change for the better,” hopes Kavita G., track manager (Society).

Udhay Shankar, co-organiser of The Goa Project, said, “Last year’s casual format worked so well. We intend to keep improving the programming and focus; the only outcome we desire from this unconference is to spark curiosity and encourage the spirit of learning, especially among India’s youth.”

You can either pitch for a talk, like the hundred nominees in the Funnel (funnel.thegoaproject.com) and get registration waived off (that otherwise costs Rs. 4000) or just register to listen and network with the like minded.

Participants are welcome to speak on any topic except religion and politics, by proposing through the Funnel. Each track has its own curator, who then finalises the list of presenters and keynotes that will provide depth and breadth across that discipline. And the evenings are dedicated to music, dance and parties and conversations sometimes last till sunrise.