Announcing #commscampnorth in Manchester 27.4.17

15065009_10154698502615960_562052676_oLadies and gentlemen, there will be not one but TWO Commscamp events this year.

In Birmingham, on July 14 for the fourth year running there will be #commscamp at our spiritual home of the Bond Company in Digbeth.

But we’re beaming wide smiles to announce a brand new date on the unconference calender and by public demand there will be #commscampnorth in Manchester on Thursday April 27. We will be using the rather amazing Ziferblat venue in Edge Street in the Northern Quarter.

The extra event will be brought to you by members of the team who brought you the Birmingham event spiced up with some extra northern grit, charm and style.

What is an unconference?

It’s an event where the agenda is decided on the day by the attendees themselves. No more boring PowerPoint on subjects you’re not interested in.

What will the sessions be like?

They’ll be decided on the day but they’ll be a chance to discuss, question, share ideas and meet like-minded people in the same boat as you are. If a traditional conference is someone saying ‘here’s the problem and how we did it’ then Commscamp is ‘here’s the problem, how do we tackle it?’

Who can come?

This is for public sector people and we’ll hold the door open for third sector folk too. There’ll be space for a handful of sponsors too.

Can I chat about things beforehand?

Of course. There’s a Facebook group over here. Feel free to kick ideas around.

Why do it in Manchester?

Frankly, none of us could wait for the summer Commscamp and we wanted to create an event earlier in the year in a vibrant, busy and dynamic part of the country with some good people.

Sounds great, how do I get a ticket?

We’ll be making making tickets available in staged releases. They’ll be free. We’ll let you know where and when via this site, via Twitter and through the Commscamp mailing list you can sign-up for here.

There will be around 180 tickets for Birmingham and around 130 for Manchester.

Can I sign-up to volunteer?

You can. The event is run by volunteers  in the best unconference tradition. We’ll need some help on the day. We’ll release volunteer tickets as part of the release.

Who is behind it?

Dan Slee of comms2point0, Emma Rodgers of Staffordshire County Council, Bridget Aherne of the NHS’s Haelo, Kate Norman of Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and Kate Bentham of Shropshire County Council. This is volunteer-run and not for profit. We do it because we want to learn.

Commscamp is supported by GCS and LGComms.



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An updated round-up of what came out of #commscamp16

CommsCamp16-401Firstly, thank you coming, reading, sharing, baking, eating, videoing, sponsoring, volunteering, donating, photographing, tweeting, pitching or facilitating to make commscamp a hugely enjoyable event.

We loved it. We love doing it and we’d like to do one next year too – on July 14 2017.

But one really enjoyable spin-off are the blogs, videos and other things that emerge from the event.

We’ve tried to capture them here and we’ll update same day payday loans until people stop writing and creating things .

11 (and counting) things from commscamp16


Karen Jeal Commscamp16

Catherine Levin I Went to Commscamp and I

Dan Slee Simple tips on running your own unconference.

Dan Slee 26 short things and one long thing from #commscamp16.

Nick Booth 17 things I picked up at #commscamp16, oh, and one biggish thing.

Francis Clarke A foam finger makes all the difference and 6 other things I learned from #commscamp16

Alan Ferguson My thoughts on commscamp16

Kirstie McKenzie Culture Club – Internal Communications

Dave Musson 47 things I took away from commscamp 

Lauren Kelly Facebook pixel – targetting content to the right people.


Dave Musson A check-list on how to improve your linkedin profile.


Kelly Quigley-Hicks’ unboxing video after winning the baking prize.

Steven Davies and Sophie Edwards Pitching and welcomes

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Only two days to commscamp 16

It really is not long now.

Here’s a reminder if you are coming along on Thursday July 14.

What to do now…

If you can’t come let us know. Not everyone can get away and that’s fine. But do let us know.

Facebook, Twitter debate and discuss. We have a Facebook group where people kick around ideas for sessions and on Twitter @commscamp with all updates at #commscamp16.

If you are in two minds about pitching a session… DO! If you want to talk about it, if there’s a problem that needs solving or if you think you’ve got some answers, do it. But no powerpoint. Okay?

BRING OR BAKE! Bring along a homemade cake for our cake table. Each slice bought gets a raffle ticket where incredible prizes can be won. Like the best of Cliff Richard LP. Or a cat ornament. Bring a prize if you can’t bring a cake. Pre-loved stuff is fine.

The night before social. There’s a pre-camp social the night before that involves drinks and curry. We’ll be at the Anchor, Bradford St, from 6pm and Manzils, Digbeth at 8pm. You can sign up for a curry ticket here

So you need a place to stay. There’s a list of hotels on our website just in case. Take a look at some helpful information. There’s also a map on how to get there.

On the day…

Yes, there will be a walking train from New St and Moor St stations. It’ll leave New Street at 9am and we’re asking people to meet by Pret a Manger in the main concourse. You’ll see volunteers with a red foam hand and a commscamp sign. It’ll then swing by Moor Street at 9.15am and be at the Bond Company venue at 9.30am.

Yes, there will be ice cream. We’ve booked a VW Camper ice cream van for the afternoon so clearly, there will be sunny skies.

You’re bringing your car. There is parking at the venue ONLY for blue badge holders – book in advance by emailing – and limited street parking but there are pay and display car parks a short walk away. There is a Google map here with car parks marked.

Registration is from 9am on Monday July 7 at The Bond Company, Fazeley Street, Digbeth, Birmingham and the event starts at 10am. Please try and get there by 9.30am. There will be tea and coffee.

At the end of the day. We should be all done by around 5.30pm and we’ll head along to The Old Crown in Digbeth High Street for those who’d like a quick wind-down.

Any questions, just ask.

The commscamp team.

With thanks to our gold sponsors GovDelivery, Knowledge Hub, Digital Action Plan by Helpful Technology, MusterPoint and Touch Design silver supporter Alive With Ideas and supporters UK Govcamp, PSF, NUJ, Government Communications Service, LGComms, David Banks and Local Government Association. They are all lovely people.

Written by Dan Slee

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What will you pitch at commscamp 16?

One of the things I love about commscamp is the fact that the attendees set the agenda. They come along with ideas buzzing and just go for it, telling the room what they hope to cover. And if people like the sound of what has been pitched, the scene is set and it becomes a commscamp session. It’s as simple as that.

Often the success of commscamp and the pitches on the day is because new people who haven’t pitched sessions before get involved. It means more sessions that are fresh, give a different perspective and resonate or are the complete opposite with what others are thinking. Whichever it is, you’re always likely to learn something new. If you’re a first timer for commscamp 16, here’s a few tips that may help you get your pitch prepped.

1. Everyone at commscamp is really supportive and they want to hear what you have to say.
2. You can pitch on an issue or challenge that you have at work that you need help with. Pitching a session doesn’t mean you have to have the answers – it’s about finding common ground atv parts with others and with over 150 attendees expected at commscamp, there is bound to be someone there who has been through similar circumstances and is happy to share.
3. If you don’t feel comfortable going it alone, you can double up and do a session with someone else.
4. Fun, let it all out therapy sessions work really well. It doesn’t have to be serious.
5. Practical learning sessions always go down a storm.

And if the above doesn’t help, there’s already a host of really interesting sessions that have been put forward on the commscamp facebook group. They range from talking about Brexit and how it affects you as a comms professional to how to manage a myriad of social media accounts. If you haven’t yet joined, you’re welcome to do so. Just search commscamp on facebook, send us a request and we’ll add you.

Alternatively tweet your ideas in the next two days using #commscamp16 and you’ll get an idea of what works and what doesn’t.

That being said this is my fourth year at commscamp and I’ve never seen anyone’s ideas not taken up. Please if you are coming for the first time, I’d encourage you to give it a go. I think you’ll be pleased you did.

Photo credit: Ann Kempster


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