Commscamp is back with a date for 2014

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 Relax, people. Kate Bentham froim Shropshire Council will be running the cake stall again.

Will we need sponsors?

Of course. For money-can-buy access to an audience of some of the brightest minds in comms and digital comms we’d be happy to talk to you. Email Dan or Darren or Ann or Emma.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Some resources and bright ideas from commscamp

8508992511_91abe9ccf0_bWell, that was fun. The day was great… but sitting back and reading what comes out of it is even better.

Commscamp for this co-organiser was tiring, exhilarating, challenging and rewarding. But most of all worth it.

Sometimes on the day you can be so busy talking to others to see the whole picture and it’s only in the days and weeks later that the full picture does emerge.

That picture is new connections, new ideas and some old faces re-aquainted.

The thinking is both day-today and also big picture and that’s absolutely fine.

That’s all down to our wonderful sponsors (have a look at the list on the right and genuflect in their general direction), those who came (well played!), the volunteers (even bigger well played!) and those who contributed from affar.

Here’s some things that have been created on the day or afterwards. We’ll look to update regularly:

Live streamer John Popham created seven videos of pitching and sessions that were livestreamed you may have missed:

8508860919_91a579a685_bPaul Clarke created a wonderful set of pictures that captured the day brilliantly:

Ben Proctor of Herefordshire County Council was first off the blocks with a round-up of 20 thoughts:

Leeds City Council’s Phil Jewitt has written about the sociable organisation and the need to do things differently:

Hull City Council’s Eddie Coates-Madden on the need to question, on press releases and why we’re all customer services now:

Lorna Prescott created a Storify on the question of why more women didn’t pitch at first at commscamp:

Alex and Puffles the Dragon created a Twitter list of nice people you should know:

Andy Brightwell from Public i created five things and four videos here:

Facilitator Lloyd Davis on how we give power and influence to people at unconferences:

8510330752_8e9f865530_bComms2point0′s Dan Slee wrote 20 wishes and hopes from commscamp13:

Comms2point0′s Dan Slee created a storify of all the tweets from commscamp13 on the day – with the pornbots removed:

Warwick University’s Kelly Parkes-Harrison wrote about her impressions from her first unconference:

Some things from the event’s facilitator Lloyd Davis‘ head post commscamp:

Shropshire Council family information service officer Kate Bentham wrote about why she loved commscamp here:

NHS comms officer Ed Cook wrote about the things he learned:

Civil Servant Alex Blanford wrote about his experience, his dreams of potatocamp and tweaking the format:

Ann Kempster of GCN wrote 21 thoughts that struck her as a co-organiser:

Freelancer John Popham wrote this on conference venues and connectivity:

Sarah Hartley of Talk About Local wrote this on communications, gender and open data:

I’m bound to have missed some. Can you post them as comments if I have?

EDIT: Lloyd’s proper spelling of his name has been re-instated.

 Creative commons credits: Paul Clarke



Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Watch live feed from the event

You can watch a live stream of today’s event here:

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Why dxw have sponsored CommsCamp

A note from Harry Metcalfe, MD at dxw, one of our super lovely sponsors.


dxw-web-logo (1)We’ve been involved in past UKGovCamps and sponsored them as well. We love this style of event, so we’re really pleased to be supporting CommsCamp - hopefully the first of many.

dxw started 5 years ago, with a mission to help public sector clients build better websites. In that time, dxw has delivered lots of comms-related projects, from internal social sites to inquests to large-scale public consultations. We’ve learned a lot about how to
effectively use the web to communicate in that time, and we’re keen to hear other people’s experiences.

Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment