Ladies and gentlemen we have immense pleasure in announcing the date of commscamp for 2014… we’re back, back, BACK!
Last year we re-wrote the rule book and created a veritable STORM by bringing local and central government comms and PR people to Birmingham to argue, debate, learn and eat cake.
We enjoyed it so much that we thought we’d do it again. At the same place but with warmer weather and the nailed-on money back guarantee that we’ll have gorgeous unbroken sunshine to bask in. Not only that but we’d LOVE it it housing and NHS people comms and PR people came along too.
This year, the epic event that is commscamp will be staged once again at the Bond Company in Fazeley Street, Birmingham from 9.30am until later on Monday July 7. I’m pretty sure there’ll be a bit of a shindig the night before too.
What was last year like?
If I was American and 18-years-old I’d probably say it was ‘awesome’ and that I was ‘stoked’ by it. But I’m not. I’m British and slightly higher than 18 so I’ll just limit it to ‘bloody brilliant.’
Here are the stats:
130 lucky people came.
88 per cent of people in our post-event survey said they loved or loved it lots.
5 per cent of people in our survey said they felt unmoved.
79 per cent in our survey said they learned things.
500 joined the debate on Twitter.
170,000 saw the #commscamp hashtag in their stream.
19 blog posts or picture spreads were taken.
250 pieces of cake were eaten.
6 sessions were filmed and were posted to YouTube.
1 heated debate about press releases being dead or not.
But even after that impressive pile of stats its really not about numbers. It was about putting people who care and want to do a better job into a room and letting them talk to each other and pick session topics they wanted to talk about. That’s a fact that even the most ardent disciple of evaluation would struggle with.
What will this year be like?
It will be even more brilliant. Instead of February it will be July. Instead of a Thursday it will be a Monday in a bit of diary juggling that we are badging as a chance to make it a long weekend in the West Midlands which as we know is home to Shakespeare’s Stratford-upon-Avon, Shropshire’s market towns and Birmingham’s shops and balti restaurants.
We’ve decided to open the door a bit wider to include NHS and housing folk too. Why? Because they are also an interesting bunch who have stories to tell who are facing similar challenges in how to make sense of a changing landscape to communicate.
Who can come?
If you are PR or comms from local government, central government, housing and the NHS we’d love to have you along. There’s WiFi at the Bond Company but if you can tether or bring a MiFi device we’d love that. There is also a no grousing about the WiFi rule. And a no demanding a ticket just because you are from a certain part of government. It’s a free event. It won’t make a profit and if there’s a surplus it’ll help fund other events too. You’ll probably have your picture taken at some stage or other so if you are going and want to be anonymous in case your boss finds out then maybe this event isn’t for you.
What about the tickets?
There will be a small release of tickets on April 4 and then, like last year, we’ll look to work through a wait list to help manage attendees so there is a mix of some veterans and some who have never been to an unconference before.
Who is organising?
It’s the same three as last year: Ann Kempster (dxw, ex-central government comms), Darren Caveney (NHS, ex-local government), Dan Slee (comms2point0, ex-local government) and Emma Rodgers (a local government head of comms).
Will we need camp makers?
We will. Those glamorous jobs on the day that need an army of volunteers to chip-in. Let Dan know if you are up for it (he’s @danslee on Twitter) or email him firstname.lastname@example.org. Relax, people. Kate Bentham froim Shropshire Council will be running the cake stall again.