The annual commscamp event is nearly here. Here is a crowd-sourced list of what people get out of it.
by Dan Slee
You can relax, people. It’s nearly Commscamp.
That most glorious of days in the calendar when ideas and inspiration is the currency.
When people who plough a lone furrow come together and realise that it’s not them that’s the problem. That there can be better ways of doing things.
In the dark winter months, this event can seem a long way off. Yet as summer comes the event comes around again. One social the night before and one day. It remains one of my most favourite days of the year.
In the words of Elbow, one day like this a year will see me right.
What is Commscamp?
This is an unconference which is held every year in a converted warehouse in Digbeth, Birmingham. An unconference is an event where the agenda is decided on the day by attendees. It takes place because of volunteers and the good nature of sponsors who cover costs. Public sector people go to the event but we hold the door open to Third Sector people too.
More popular than Glastonbury?
Me and my fellow organiser posted two batches of 100 tickets and they were snapped up in six minutes. That’s 44-minutes faster than Glastonbury’s ticket run. Only, with Commscamp there’s no two feet of mud, overpriced falafel and bin bags aren’t £10 a pop when it rains.
What do I get out of it?
I know what I get out of it. It’s ideas, inspiration and road testing ideas. It’s meeting people some of who I don’t see from one year to the next. I like the idea that people leave their job titles at the door. A comms assistant with two weeks experience has just as much right to put their hand up and contribute as an old timer. I love running workshops where people get a set of skills. What makes me love this is that I don’t know what I’ll come away learning. But I always do.
What do other people get out of it?
I said something once and everyone listened. Contributing is valued.
– Wedge Black, freelance intranet builder.
Access to loads of fab people doing ace things, who are more than happy to share what went well, as what didn't go so well.
- Kate Goodall, Walsall Council
- Tanita Cross, General Medical Council.
A recharge of my mental batteries.
- Glen Ocsko, Granicus UK.
Leaving behind the 'only a comms officer' title at the door and instead being a comms professional - just like everyone else there. We all have our own experience, expertise and insight and it's all valid, whatever job title we've got. I ❤️ that about Commscamp.
- Kelly Quigley-Hicks, Jesus College Cambridge
A hug off Emma Rodgers.
- Mike Carhart-Harris, Dorset County Council
More of a what I'm looking forward to this year - meeting some of the people I've been speaking to in the headspace and head of comms groups. Feels very much like I'm going to meet familiar faces now.
- Sarah Yates, Broxtowe Council.
The reassurance that there is no such thing as a daft question (and that you're not the first person to ask it!). Louise Powney, Liverpool City Council.
The chance to shoot for the big prizes in the now-infamous tat raffle. Oh, and oodles of inspiration!Tony Moran, University of Birmingham.
It's a very positive event from the range of people attending, the variety of pitches, the support given, the willingness of everyone to help, volunteer, bake, donate, the money raised for charity, meeting up with friends, making new contacts, coming away inspired, reinvigorated and ready for the challenges ahead. It's on my Top Five Days of the Year List. Kate Bentham, Shropshire Council.
Jibes and good fun on top of everything that has been said. No hierarchy, the confidence it brought me in my profession and what I did when I first went, the way it pushes you out of your comfort zone, some of the best friends ever, access to talented, creative people, a sense of empowerment, an upheld and acted on view that women are equal and welcome and talented and reflect the industry right here, right now, the best of times, development, opportunity, the best learning. I could go on and on and on...one of the best days of the year and where I feel very much happy and content.
- Emma Rodgers, Stoke-on-Trent City Council.
Dan Slee is co-founder of comms2point0 and founded Commscamp with Ann Kempster. He is organising the 2017 event with Emma Rodgers and Kate Bentham.
Picture credit: Paul Clarke / Flickr.