2018 logo with event dates 13-15 September and large blue tent, smaller tents and campfires

CommsUnplugged 2018 will be here in only a month. If you have not already booked your place, you  have time to get a ticket to this amazing event which runs from 13 to 15 September.

2018 logo with event dates 13-15 September and large blue tent, smaller tents and campfiresYou will be able to learn from speakers and workshop leaders, share ideas with fellow communicators, and get some well-deserved down time at this special event set in the Dorset countryside. At the same time, you will be able to earn a bunch of CPD points to help you towards Accredited PR Practitioner and Chartered PR Practitioner status or for your annual professional development confirmations.

The keynote speakers for Comms Unplugged 2018 will be Sam Hodges, Head of Communications at Twitter UK, and Giles Henschel, Founding Director and Chairman of Olives et al.

> More on the Comms Unplugged 2018 line-up

Workshop leaders include senior members of local public sector organisations and media outlets, creative leads and communications experts. Come along and share professional learning with:

  • Andy Martin, Editor and Head of News at the Daily Echo, Bournemouth
  • Heather Baily, Non-Executive Director, Dorset Healthcare University NHS Foundation Trust and the Department of Justice in Northern Ireland
  • Alex Ball, Head of Corporate and Strategic Communications at NHS England
  • Philippa Stanton, Artist and Photographer
  • Rupert Holloway, Founder and Chief Conkerer, Conker Gin
  • Alan Oram, Creative Director, Alive With Ideas

> The full list of Comms Unplugged 2018 workshop leaders (opens in a new window)

> Buy your Comms Unplugged 2018 tickets on Eventbrite

The event will take place at the Burnbake campsite near Corfe Castle in Dorset from 13-15 September. The full two night ticket is £150 and includes all speakers, activities, catering and pitch fees. A Friday day ticket is available for £70. Eventbrite booking fees apply.


Continuing Professional Development

The Comms Unplugged team have been working with the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) Local Public Services group to develop the CPD elements of the event. It has now been awarded CPD points by the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) – a total of 15 points for attending the Thursday afternoon and Friday schedule and 10 points for the full Friday professional development event. CIPR members will be able to make a custom submission on the CIPR CPD website for this and confirmation will be provided of attendance to the institute via Comms Unplugged.

For more information on CPD please contact Abha Thakor, who will be able to talk with you about CPD confirmations.

> Invest in your CPD (CIPR website)

> Log-in to your CIPR CPD record (CIPR website)

Mandy Pearse, Chair of the CIPR LPS group said: “Comms Unplugged provides the perfect antidote to our 24/7 always on PR world. It’s a great programme and I’d definitely recommend it to our public sector members.”


Why you really need to attend!

Darren Caveney, one of the event organisers and a co-creator, has posted a cut out and send letter to help public sector bosses who are not familiar with the benefits of CommsUnplugged.

Why CommsUnplugged is a work-related useful event

> Keynote speakers at 2018 Unplugged 2018

One of the organising team and co-creator Sally Northeast describes the taster session in June 2018 run with the Government Communications Service in the south west: “Our mini-unpluggers all entered into the spirit of the afternoon, chatting non-stop as we wandered around the country park, slowly letting go of our stresses and strains and breathing in the fresh air. By the time we asked them to discuss a knotty issue they needed help with, they happily paired up, found a quiet bench outside and supported each other to find solutions and new ideas.

Dorset-based Sally Northeast on the taster session run with the Government Communications Service in the south west to introduce the CommsUnplugged idea

Attendee Charlotte Parker described her time at the 2017 Comms Unplugged as a “genuine learning and development opportunity. You have inspirational speakers who you actually listen to because you’re not sneakily trying to send an email on your laptop, and workshops to both improve your mental well-being as well as your knowledge and understanding around key communications issues. And best of all you get to network with like-minded individuals around a camp fire… I left Comms Unplugged 2017 feeling completely revitalised and buzzing with enthusiasm after a break from all social media… The speakers and workshops at Comms Unplugged genuinely taught me a lot and made me think differently about aspects of my work.”

> Eastern region-based Charlotte Parker’s blog on why taking a chance and signing up for Comms Unplugged paid off

Co-creator of the event and Dorset-based practitioner Georgia Turner is passionate about the opportunities Comms Unplugged can give. She told Local Public Service Comms: “The ethos of Comms Unplugged is that, by switching off the tech, we engage more, we interact with each other more and so from a CPD perspective, we get so much more out of being there. It’s a genuine opportunity to be inspired and learn in a relaxed, professional sharing environment, away from the stresses of our usual working conditions – no pressure to respond to email or check those social feeds – just be in the field and soak up the learning.”

> Georgia Turner on tents, no mobile phones, a field and comms people at the 2017 Comms Unplugged

> Yorkshire-based local public sector communicator Josephine Graham’s poem to get you in the mood for the  creativitiy you will find at Comms Unplugged 2018. Attendees at the event come from across the country.

2017 attendee Em Northcote’s amusing anecdotes will definitely get you reaching for your mouse to book your very own place at this alternative conference. In her Comms Unplugged blog, she writes: “As I walked to the toilets at the back of the field, I passed faces I recognised from Twitter profiles – I decided to throw caution to the wind, leap out of my comfort zone and say hello! I’d never met these people before, but the Comms Unplugged movement (because it really is a movement – it’s definitely a ‘thing’) had seen us connect virtually, meaning that we were already over the first hurdle of polite hellos. We already had an idea of our common ground and some shared stories.

“There was no juggling of coats, buffet plates and notepads, just fantastic speakers in a stripped back, calm environment.”

Welsh-based public sector communicator Em Northcote blog can help you with any qualms you may have about attending an event at a campsite.

See you there!

Article by Abha Thakor, Chartered PR Practitioner


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