About this guest post

The first guest post of 2019 is intended for potential speakers and facilitators at the IWMW 2019 event, especially those who have never spoken at an IWMW event. Lauren Tormey, a member of the IWMW 2019 advisory group, reflects on her experiences as a workshop facilitator at recent events.

Calling first-time speakers!

The IWMW 2019 call for submissions is now open – and I want to see some new names on this year’s programme.

After a fantastic experience as a workshop facilitator at the past two IWMW conferences, I’m now a new member of this year’s Advisory Group. In fact, over half of this year’s Advisory Group are new members.

Our first few Group meetings have shown the number of fresh ideas that can come from such a large number of newbies. I want our conference speaker list to reflect the same: fresh faces, fresh ideas.

As a relatively new face to the IWMW community, I know how intimidating the idea of presenting at a conference can seem – but I’ve also learned how rewarding it is.

So if you’re a person who has ever had the following thoughts that keep you from submitting a proposal, let me explain why you’re exactly the type of person who should be presenting at IWMW:

First time speaking at an event?

Let IWMW be your conference debut. You won’t find a friendlier group of people who genuinely want to hear what you have to say.

Nervous at the idea of presenting?

This year we’re looking to have a speaker buddy program so experienced presenters can help you along the way and get your session in top shape.

Never been to IWMW before?

Neither had I when I first presented at the conference.

You don’t need to have first-hand experience of the conference to know how it ‘works’. If anything, limited knowledge of the event gives you the chance to innovate and introduce regular attendees to something new – whether it’s the topic you present or the way you present it.

And if you do need help finding your footing along the way, the Advisory Group is here to help answer any questions.

You don’t think you have something of value to say?

Nonsense. This is exactly what I thought two years ago when my manager told me to submit a proposal. What could attendees possibly learn from me? Surely I’m the most inexperienced of the group?!

Imposter syndrome, be gone.

If you’re an asset to your institution’s team, you’re an asset to the wider HE digital community. We all operate in our own unique ways and we learn and grow as individuals, as teams and as a sector when we share our knowledge with each other.

So don’t keep that knowledge to yourself. We want to hear what you have to say.

The deadline is 8 February. Looking forward to seeing some new names.


Lauren Tormey is part of the University of Edinburgh’s Website Programme team. She uses her editorial, CMS and UX skills to help the 1000+ web publisher community to manage more effective, user-focused websites. As well as day-today support, she works on a wide range of website enhancement projects and manages the publication of a quarterly magazine promoting the activities of the University’s Information Services.


The featured image shows Duncan MacGruer, University of Edinburgh, who was a first-time facilitator at IWMW 2018 in a session on “You’ve Got (Too Much) Mail: Encouraging Self-Service Through Improving Content” which he co-facilitated with Lauren Tormey.