About This Post

Individually we are strong. Together we are stronger.

Recent IWMW events have attracted participation from across the length and breadth of mainland UK. But not all institutions are represented at the event, the annual Institutional Web Management Workshop, which was established 21 years ago to support those with responsibilities for managing institutional web services and, in recent years, has extended its remit to cover digital services beyond web sites.

This blog post introduces a survey which aims to address those who do not attend IWMW events in order to discover the reasons for this – the survey is available at the URL bit.ly/iwmw-attendee-survey .  Surveying non-attendees at an event is clearly not easy – how do we find these people? We hope that IWMW attendees will be willing to share information about the survey – and to incentivise completion of the survey those who complete the form will be entered into a draw for a small gift.


A recent post on Profiling Speakers and Facilitators at IWMW 2017 described the range of speakers and workshop facilitators at the forthcoming IWMW 2017 event. We seem to have achieved our goal of encouraging speakers from a wide range of institutions, attracting new speakers and encouraging participation from female members of the community. As can be seen from the speaker list on the IWMW 2017 web site there are :

  • 19 plenary speakers; 15 workshop facilitators and 12 master class facilitators.
  • 6 session chairs
  • A total of 42 individual speakers, facilitators or session chairs.
  • 12 female (20%) speakers, facilitators or session chairs and 30 males (80%), including 6 female (32%) plenary speakers.
  • 25 who currently work at a higher education institution; 4 who work for a higher education agency; 10 who work for a company and 3 who are individual consultants.
  • Of the 14 plenary speakers who work at a university 10 are first-time speakers at the event, which includes 4 who are also first-time attendees at an IWMW event.

The post concluded by saying:

there are only a limited number of speaking slots available at IWMW events, so we will not be able to provide too great a geographical diversity of speakers. There are, of course, many more places for delegates at IWMW events and this is where we are seeking to ensure that members of web management teams across the community are aware of the event and willing to attend – and if they do not wish to attend we want to understand the reasons for this. This will be explored in a forthcoming blog post.

This post looks at the host institutions for participants from the higher education sector at IWMW events in 2015, 2016 and 2017 (to date).

Host Institutions for Participants from the Higher Education Sector

Attendee data for IWMW 2015 and IWMW 2016 together with the current bookings for IWMW 2017 has been analysed in order to determine the location of the host institution for delegates who work at a higher education institution.

It seems that so far delegates from about 60 institutions have attended events in recent years or will attend this year’s event.

A Google Map of the locations is available and is illustrated. As can be seen participants from across England and Scotland have attended recent IWMW events, although there have been none from the two institutions in Northern Ireland and only two Welsh institutions are represented.

Growing The Community

The mission statement of the Midlands Innovation group is “Individually we are strong. Together we are stronger.” This could apply equally to many groups within the higher education sector – and particularly at a time in which the sector is facing many significant challenges (I am writing this post on the morning of the general election!(.

The IWMW event was established in 1997 to foster collaboration and sharing and continues to emphasise the importance of the community.  It is pleasing to see that attendance at the event spans the length and breadth of mainland UK and is not restricted to those located near to the recent events (IWMW 2015 and 2016 were held in Edge Hill University and Liverpool John Moores University) and IWMW 2017 will be held at the University of Kent. But what barriers may there be to engaging with the community and learning from one’s peers? Such barriers could include:

  • Financial barriers to attending events
  • Topics covered at events are not relevant
  • Length of the event
  • Location of the event
  • Time of event
  • Lack of management support
  • Preference for other events
  • Preference for online events
  • Use of online community tools (e.g. Jiscmail and HE-digital Slack channel, announced in February 2017)
  • Belief that we in competition with other institutions
  • Other reasons

In order to explore reasons for non-participation in IWMW events an online survey form has been created. The form also explores interests for other ways of community working such as regional groups (described by Duncan Ireland in a blog post on “The Life and Times of the Scottish Web Folk Regional Group“) and alternatives to IWMW events, such as commercial events. The survey is available at the URL bit.ly/iwmw-attendee-survey – feel free to share this URL with others.