This year commscamp celebrates a fifth birthday. But here are some little known things about it and what people take from it.

By Dan Slee

It’s a little known fact but commscamp may have actually been held in a basement chapel and was first held in the depths of winter.

Snow was on the ground as the first attendees trudged in with heavy boots and winter coats that first year. The excellent Lloyd Davis helped get us airbourne. Paul Clarke took the pictures.

Thirty sessions were held and we went home happy.

But how did it happen? The whole thing came about after I’d had a chance cup of coffee with fellow UK Govcamp attendee Ann Kempster about a blog she wrote. We both thought a comms unconference was long overdue so decided to do it.

One of the first venues assessed was a Methodist church in central Birmingham. Would it have worked better than the converted warehouse of the Bond Company? Probably not.

As anyone who has been involved with an unconference will tell you, the event stands or falls on the energy and enthusiasm of the attendees. Thankfully, we’ve been blessed with some amazing people.

So, we’ve asked some attendees through the Commscamp Facebook group what they have taken from the event.

No hierarchy or top table

No hierarchy, the confidence it brought me in my profession and what I did when I first went, the way it pushes you out of your comfort zone, some of the best friends ever, access to talented, creative people, a sense of empowerment, an upheld and acted on view that women are equal and welcome and talented and reflect the industry right here, right now, the best of times, development, opportunity, the best learning. I could go on and on and on…one of the best days of the year. – Emma Rodgers, Stoke-on-Trent City Council and attendee turned organiser.

Contributing

I said something once and everyone listened. Contributing is valued. – Wedge Black, intranet developer.

Access to a network

Access to loads of fab people doing ace things, who are more than happy to share what went well, as what didn’t go so well. – Kate Goodall, Walsall Council

Knowing people will stand with you

Solidarity – Tanita Cross, General Medical Council.

Batteries

A recharge of mental batteries – Glen Oscko, Granicus and former local government officer.

Connecting and cake

A chance to meet brilliant people that I’d already been chatting to on Twitter, plus meeting great new people that I could continue talking to on Twitter afterwards, and reconnect with at other events. The best darn cake table going – Kelly Quigley-Hicks, Jesus College Cambridge. 

Good ideas

Oodles of inspiration – Tony Moran, University of Birmingham

Being re-invigorated

It’s a very positive event from the range of people attending, the variety of pitches, the support given, the willingness of everyone to help, volunteer, bake, donate, the money raised for charity, meeting up with friends, making new contacts, coming away inspired, reinvigorated and ready for the challenges ahead. It’s on my Top Five Days of the Year List. – Kate Bentham, Shropshire Council

Meeting people

More of a what I’m looking forward to this year – meeting some of the people I’ve been speaking to in the headspace and head of comms groups. Feels very much like I’m going to meet familiar faces now – Sara Yates, Broxtowe Council

Dan Slee co-founded commscamp and comms2point0.

Picture credit: Paul Clarke / Flickr.

Original source – comms2point0 free online resource for creative comms people – comms2point0

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