Attracting Speakers from the Community

What’s a good way of sharing experiences and learning from others? An approach taken at IWMW events has been to encourage members of the web management community to share their experiences with others who have responsibilities for managing institutional web services and other digital channels.

That has been a long-standing goal of IWMW events. But do we succeed in that goal? And has the event transitioned successfully from being a Jisc-funded activity organised by UKOLN to its current ownership, being organised by the event founder (Brian Kelly, UK Web Focus) sometimes in conjunction with others?

In order to see how well the event has been doing in attracting speakers we have looked at the speaker directories hosted on Lanyrd for recent IWMW events. A summary is provided in the following table.

Event No. of
speakers
Lanyrd Speaker
Link
Location Organiser
 1 IWMW 2017 43 [Link] University of Kent UK Web Focus /
University of Kent
 2 IWMW 2016 34 [Link] Liverpool John Moores University UK Web Focus /
Liverpool John Moores University
 3 IWMW 2015 28 [Link] Edge Hill University UK Web Focus
 4 IWMW 2014 22 [Link] University of Northumbria UK Web Focus/Netskills
 5 IWMW 2013 39 [Link] University of Bath UKOLN
 6 IWMW 2012 37 [Link] University of Edinburgh UKOLN
 7 IWMW 2011 26 [Link] University of Reading UKOLN
 8 IWMW 2010 41 [Link] University of Sheffield UKOLN
 9 IWMW 2009  33 [Link] University of Exeter UKOLN
10 IWMW 2008  32 [Link] University of Aberdeen UKOLN
11 IWMW 2007  38 [Link] University of York UKOLN
TOTAL 373

Note:

  • From its launch in 1997 the event was organised by UKOLN, a Jisc-funded organisation  based at the University of Bath.
  • In 2011, due to the credit crunch the event was hosted at the university of Reading over 2 days, rather than 3 days.  This is the reason for the drop in the number of speakers at IWMW 2011.
  • Following cessation of Jisc-funding it was expected that the IWMW 2013 event held at the University of Bath would be the final IWMW event.
  • Analysis of feedback received at IWMW 2013 showed that there was interest in continuation of the IWMW event. Following discussions, it was agreed that the IWMW 2014 event would be organised jointly between UK Web Focus and Netskills, a Jisc-funded training organisation based at the University of Newcastle.
  • Sadly, it was subsequently announced that Jisc funding for Netskills would be terminated. The IWMW 2015 was organised by UK Web Focus.
  • The IWMW 2016 event was organised jointly between UK Web Focus and the host institution, Liverpool John Moores University.
  • This approach is being used for the forthcoming IWMW 2017 event, with the event being organised jointly between UK Web Focus and the University of Kent.

It should also be noted that the numbers of speakers at the IWMW 2017 may be subject to change if sessions are cancelled, speakers are ill, etc.

Discussion

It appears that, after two transition years in 204 and 2015, the IWMW event has now settled down, and this year appears to be attracting the largest number of speakers in over 11 years.

Indeed looking at the number of speakers over the 21 years the event has been running we can clearly see the increase in the number of speakers over the past 3 years, with this year’s event seeing the largest number of speakers ever! It should be noted, however, that ten or so years ago we were exploring alternative approaches to plenary talks and workshop sessions including bar camps, minute madness, pecha kuka and similar sessions. Perhaps for future years we should look at revisiting such approaches – and we should probably use the event’s evaluation form to explore how popular such sessions may be. But for this year’s event participants have an opportunity to hear from large numbers of speakers and facilitators!