A6: Birds of a Feather: The Others

Over the years I’ve been to a few IWMWs (five or six I think) – as a delegate, a speaker, a committee member and even a sponsor. I know the organisers pretty well and I’ve always encouraged my team members to attend (in fact I’m sending someone along again this year). All that said I’ve never really felt like I belong. The simple fact is that I don’t work for an ‘institution’ and while I’ve worked in and around the web in higher education and research for a decade or more my audience and priorities have always been different that that of a Uni web team.

I’m not alone in this though. Over the years at IWMW I have met up with people from other Research Councils, JISC (well that was usually me!), HEFCE, Becta, HE Academy as well as museums and charities. There has always been something at IWMW that was transferable and the sense of it being a community led event always made it stand out from the commercial conferences (that at some point always start to feels like a sales presentation.)

This year though I thought I’d claim a spot in the schedule for the ‘outsiders’. For those of us who aren’t concerned with student recruitment, course details or international students. Instead we have the spectre of ‘convergence’ hanging over us, COI guidelines (that become mandatory seemingly at random), incomprehensible procurement rules and ever increasing expectations that digital is the ‘silver bullet’ (especially when savings are demanded).

I’m not sure what will happen on the day – given it is only 90 minutes (and I have no idea if anyone will even sign-up) I thought I’d keep the agenda fluid. What I can promise is though that I won’t be inflicting my own views or ‘death by Powerpoint’ on anyone. It will be a discussion led by the group (assuming it isn’t just me!) which I’ll do my best to facilitate.

I’m reading up on some facilitation techniques that should make things a bit more interesting – hopefully without being to cringe-making – and I can promise Sharpies, post-its and wine gums will be involved.

It would be good to have a couple of topics to focus on in advance so if anyone has any ideas then please let me know – either in the comments here or I’m @jukesie on Twitter.

Anyway hope to see one or two of you there – if you are not at my session I’m sure I’ll see a few of you in the bar!

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