Ideas for sessions at Bostin Summer Camp

17 of us will be at Bostin Summer Camp next Thursday and there’s plenty of space for more to join us, share ideas, learn and discuss anything we want about our sector.

Given recent news regarding cuts to the sector in Dudley borough and because it’s our first Bostin Summer Camp, we thought it might be sensible to adjust the timing of the day and focused on a couple of sessions in the morning. We’ll wrap things up at around 1pm, and anyone that wants to stay around for lunch and to continue their conversations in the afternoon would be very welcome to do so.


I’m really looking forward to the morning and thinking about the challenges and opportunities Dudley’s voluntary and community sector is responding to in a way that benefits communities. I wanted to get you all thinking about the kinds of things you’d like to discuss. On the day, you’ll be able to pitch a session and set the agenda, so you might want to use this week to start thinking about possible topics.

What are you interested in? What would you like to learn from others? How could we respond to the challenges we face? You might have ideas, questions, suggestions that you might want to share. You might be interested in how we can support each other, opportunities for working together, how we could encourage public trust, how we could raise awareness of the work that goes on in our sector, what we could do to help the sector be less reliant on grant funding, what skills we think the sector needs in the future… the list goes on! But don’t let me lead you! Bostin Summer Camp is your event and you can discuss whatever you’d like.

So get thinking and feel free to share your thoughts, comments and suggestions here too!

If you haven’t booked a place at Bostin Summer Camp yet, you can do so here.

I’m looking forward to joining you next Thursday.



Why I love unconferences


Unconferences are fantastic! I’ve met totally amazing people at unconferences and learned all sorts of things … for free and without being bored stiff by a rotation of speakers and uninspiring powerpoint presentations.

My first unconference experience was on a Saturday in Birmingham in April 2012, when the Talk About Local team organised an amazing event, building on their experience of running annual unconferences for the previous 3 years. I was astonished that everyone introduced themselves, despite there being about 100 people present. I was inspired by how quickly things moved from a blank ‘un agenda’ to a self-organising event with a diverse and fascinating array of discussion options, clearly timetabled and easy to navigate between. And as if to prove how much fun the whole things was, nearly everyone continued connecting and conversing at the pub afterwards.

I got the unconference bug, and following the Talk About Local unconference I have taken part in:

(I also gatecrashed a health-related unconference in Brum once. When I saw people tweeting about it I hopped on a bus and just joined in the second half of the day!)

I don’t work in communications, or a gallery, or local government … but one of the delightful things about people who organise unconferences is that they welcome anyone with an interest in the broad focus. Which means that you can reach way beyond the edges of your networks and make connections with people who know all sorts of interesting and useful things.

By the end of every unconference my brain has been exploding with ideas – like fireworks. I feel truly content that I have been able to take control and power over what I learn about, which conversations I join and stay in, how the flow of my day is shaped. And I totally LOVE that twitter comes into it’s own and all sorts of connections and sharing happen in the online space as well as the physical space of the unconference.

I can’t wait for Bostin Summer Camp in Dudley, it will be a fantastic opportunity to learn all sorts of things and will no doubt help me to shape my work over coming months. I hope to see you there.