I’m stepping back from BarCamp Manchester — can you step up?

Chris Northwood
3 min readJul 24, 2023

Burnout is very real. Last December, I made the decision to leave my job at a startup as Head of Development as I felt myself falling into burnout and sadly I wasn’t able to get the support I needed to stave it off.

I am a glutton for punishment. After lining up a new job, I was put on gardening leave after relationships with some of my colleagues deteriorated to a point they became toxic. Instead of using the free time to recover, I decided to fill it all with campaigning for the local election, which I then went and won. So much for that recovery then.

I now find myself in a position where I have multiple formal responsibilities competing for my time: working as a developer for a national charity, working for my area as a local councillor, campaigning for my party to support election efforts, internal party roles on Federal Council, a director of Trans Pride Manchester, a co-organiser of BarCamp Manchester, a resident director for my building and cladding campaigner. And that’s with turning down lots of opportunities to do things I want to do — including publishing a second edition of my book. All whilst experiencing the constant weathering that being a visible trans woman in today’s society brings, actually facing up to my transition, and being a good friend, daughter, auntie and girlfriend.

Basically, I’m over-committed. And I’m having to take a long hard look at my commitments to make sure I can do those justice. I’ve taken a step backfrom leadership roles in my career, I’ve ring-fenced my involvement in Trans Pride Manchester to focus purely on operational support (as treasurer), and now I’ve decided I’m going to have to step back from BarCamp Manchester.

I love BarCamp. I was so proud that I was able to take on the mantle left by the last generation of organisers, and I know with Luce and Claire, it’s in very safe hands. But I also know that a few more pairs of hands is really needed to make BarCamp Manchester as good as everyone wants it to be!

It’s more important now than ever for BarCamp to exist. Technology spaces are becoming increasingly centralised, increasingly corporate and increasingly boring. Weird, creative, community-led spaces like BarCamp are few and far between, and I’m proud that we’ve still maintained it even when the BarCamp movement is far past its peak.

A board covered with colourful post-it notes, the title says “feedback please” and it consists of notes suggesting improvements for BarCamp Manchester.
Feedback from BarCamp Manchester 9

If you’re in the tech community, and want to selflessly give back to it, stepping up to be involved in BarCamp Manchester is one of the best ways you can do this. I can’t imagine anyone having a friendly experience than working with Claire and Luce. Claire’s experience in running Hack Manchester for years makes her one of the most experienced people in running grassroots community events in Manchester, and the ability to work with her is to an opportunity to not be missed. You don’t need much other than to be part of the tech community to some degree, and a willingness to get stuck in and get things done.

So if you would like to step up and be a BarCamp Manchester organiser, drop me a line at chris@barcampmanchester.co.uk and I’ll introduce you to the team and we can get a handover going, and secure the plans for a BarCamp this year.



Chris Northwood

A technologist wanting to share knowledge and iterate towards a better world.