This might just be the industry event of the year. Think comms person's retreat and opportunity to connect and develop in a unique setting. Read on…
by Sally Northeast
A few years ago, when I first became aware of the great work that the comms2point0 boys were doing, an idea was born. It started when I saw their CommsCamp advertised. I attended one of their events in Birmingham and loved the informal networking, the co-produced format, the useful speakers.
But it wasn't a camp, and I started to wonder what would happen if we actually made it into one. You know - tents, campfires, wellies and, most importantly, the great outdoors. Having lived in Dorset most of my life it was easy to let my imagination run away with me as I mentally dropped 100 comms people into a field and let them do their thing.
A few of us started knocking ideas around - my colleague Georgia Turner at Bournemouth Borough Council had a little glamping business at the time and we started cooking up a bit of a plan. But life - and mostly work - overtook us and we put it on the back burner.
And there's the rub - work for all of us in public sector comms is pretty full-on. It's really hard to find time to get your head above the parapet and do some proper thinking, let alone actually relax and wind down.
Virtual groups like the Comms Leads Slack group which Darren runs and the Public Sector Comms Headspace on Facebook are fantastic for learning, sharing, having a moan, having a laugh and generally supporting each other from all corners of the country to do the best job we can do. But as we continually tell our organisations, face to face is the most powerful way to communicate - and that goes for us too.
Since joining an NHS trust which provides physical and mental health services I've also become even more conscious of the need to look after body and soul. The world can be tough - fast, relentless, full of (sometimes) ludicrously high expectations. How do we keep ourselves well, and balanced, to meet all those challenges?
So we've thrown all that good stuff together - professional development, networking, co-production, sharing, mutual support, wellbeing, fresh air and TIME. And what's come out the other end is Comms Unplugged. For our industry we think this is a bit of a first and we're very excited about it.
A small group of us have been working hard to make it happen - and now we've got a brand, it MUST be real! A field in the beautiful Dorset countryside is booked and all the arrangements are progressing. What we need now is YOU!
I'm pretty sure all you creative and curious comms, PR, marketing and digital people will be itching to be part of a new venture that we hope will run and run, growing from year to year.
So save the date: 15-16 September in Dorset.
image designed by Alive with Ideas
Locate or borrow a tent and get ready for something a bit special and a bit unique. All the exciting details and the chance to buy your ticket for the event of the year are coming very soon.
Go mad with us in Dorset - you know you want to!
Check out the website for more info and register your interest for tickets asap too.
And get following @CommsUnplugged for regular updates on the line-up and ticket sales.
Sally Northeast is an organiser of CommsUnplugged and deputy director of communications and participation for Dorset Healthcare
Comms Unplugged - an event like no other. Chat, listen and learn away from email, WiFi and tech. With live music, food and an overnighter in a beautiful campsite in Dorset.
Follow @CommsUnPlugged for the latest news and updates.