I don't know how I could have forgotten this, because I specifically chose this panel due to the combination of an interesting topic and the chance to see Elizabeth Bear, who is my new "I must read everything she's written" author. The panel was about finding/defining/designing a place to be creative.
It seemed like no one was quite sure how the panel was supposed to work. We moved chairs around so that it was more like a living room discussion than a panel with the experts up there and the audience down here, so it felt friendly. The authors described their working spaces, as well as the early versions when they were starting to claim their own working spaces. Davey Snyder threw out some ideas from her work as a professional organizer. Deb Mensinger had a lot of knowledge about the practicality of building things, and was willing to draw room designs for people, but no one took her up on it. Caroline Stevermer offered some info about getting furniture for free, or cheap.
There was a sense that we should be working on solving the design problems of the people present, but that seemed to be hard to manage. One woman described her workspace dilemmas, and people spent a lot of time offering her suggestions on how to fix them. The panelists offered bits of general advice, too, such as the thought that it's important to avoid using the imperfection of the workspace as a reason to procrastinate. They agreed that thinking of it as a work in progress, and focusing on the most important features first (such as the amount of light and the comfort of the chair) would make it good enough to use, and then it could be improved upon gradually after that.
I'm not sure what I would have done differently. This topic might have been served better by dividing the people present into smaller group discussions, with one of the authors in each, and the professional organizer visiting all of them. It's easy to think of that in hindsight, though, and I enjoyed the panel the way it was.