Well folks- it’s nearly here- Conference 2016 is almost upon us! It is the Sunday before when I am writing this. It is around lunchtime and I have been in a happy burble of Conference prep since Friday. This has included email, phone calls, preparing PowerPoint slides and scripts and also preparing for both the Exec Meeting and Annual Group Chairs’ Meeting that we have on Conference Saturday and the Oral Accreditation interview panels we are running on the Sunday morning. In short it is busy in the Presidential Palace this weekend!!
This prep has included a good deal of writing- of which this is not only the final piece but also both, so I understand, the final Conference blog and also, coincidentally, my final written piece as Chair of the Society…so, no pressure then!!
And in reality that is fair comment. There really is no pressure here- certainly not in terms of Conference. It has been quite a year, starting last July, putting this one together but what we have for you is, quite frankly, I think, awesome- and fit for information superheroes!
The format is familiar – a soft opening on the Sunday evening; keynotes, breakouts morning and afternoon Monday followed by Gala Dinner and Awards in the evening and then Keynote, breakouts, something different and closing panel on the Tuesday- but within that framework there is huge innovation in terms of approach and content this year.
And deliberately so- not because last year was not a success- in fact, it was hugely successful, but indeed precisely BECAUSE Conference year on year is so successful. To keep it so, we continually try new things- this year we are expanding the idea of ‘double keynotes’ - not only a ‘Super Tuesday’ double-header this year but a ‘Mega Monday’ double-header too!
We are also trying an idea of café sessions of linked shorter talks (a little longer than 15 minute lightnings but a little shorter than full 45 minute sessions too)- I am very much looking forward to the focus on topic that these will bring as well as being a great way to loosen up a little over Tuesday lunchtime after the intensity of the preceding couple of days!
On top of this we have something very new indeed- a Conference Fringe and a Conference e-fringe. These are both totally new departures. The Fringe is, as a Fringe should be, an informal and creative extravaganza on the Sunday afternoon- with themed chat and facilitated crafting within a context of a seaside afternoon tea – complete with cake…which sounds like a winning combination for Conference Sunday afternoon to me I have to say!
The e-fringe is a different thing again- live group chat on conference themes as the conference develops- delivered in a DP safe-play way via the Conference App (with private chat also available).
Goodness/Argol Mawr! I was excited about the whole thing before I started writing this blog- now I actually can’t wait! All of this and so much more besides-including new major sponsors coming on board- HP Enterprise, Restore Document Management, Isle of Man Post- these joining old friends Box-it and Iron Mountain and many more!
The list of fabulous things just goes on and on…an Oscars style awards evening with new award categories too, a living legend of an after dinner speaker, keynotes and breakouts to die for, our first ever sponsored bursary place…I wish now I had 5000 instead of 500 words…Jings! I am going to be pooped by the end of it all- luckily I have Wales going to our first football tournament in my lifetime to help me relax in June- oh my, what a couple of months it is going to be…
Meic Pierce Owen