Looking Back at IWMW 2016

The IWMW 2016 event was held in Liverpool just over a year ago. Write-ups about the event have been published on the University of St Andrews Digital Communications Team blogPlymouth University’s Create Digital blog; the TerminalFOUR blog and the University of Kent Web Development Team blog.  Since the University of Kent is hosting the forthcoming IWMW 2017 event it is appropriate to highlight their concluding remarks:

For me, the key takeaways from this event are that the landscape of the sector is evolving. Students have higher expectations and we need to be able to satisfy these. Data driven decisions are important – asking users what they need in terms of the web will give different answers to what they actually ‘do.’

Several sessions from this conference have given me food for thought and highlighted areas that our department needs to find out more about, especially in terms of what we are doing with social media, and how this can assist with the institutional strategy. It has also echoed areas that we are doing well; especially when it comes to agile and Lean UX principles

Looking back, the event was particularly memorable for me for a number of reasons: the 20th anniversary celebrations (and the various prizes which were donated over the 3 days); the conference dinner at the Merseyside Maritime Museum; revisiting my home town of Liverpool (and being a tourist on the open top bus after the event was over) but also for the positive vibes which were particularly noticeable during the final session. Indeed I remember my concluding remarks: “Have a good journey home – and if you haven’t voted, make sure you do so!” – the final day of the event was 23 June, the day of the EU referendum.

Looking Forward to IWMW 2017

We all know what happened that day, and I recall the shock I felt when I looked at my iPad at 6am the following morning, And the ramifications of Brexit continue to worry many working in higher education. Such concerns, and other challenges facing the sector, will underpin this year’s IWMW 2017 event which has the theme “It’s The End Of The Institution As We Know It (And We Feel Fine)“.  On the second and third days of the event plenary speakers will describe positive aspects of institutional digital activities which leaves them feeling fine about Governance Issues; Tools and Technologies; Understanding Our Users; Working With The Wider Community and The Core Community.  But I have to admit that I am particularly looking forward to the open session on the theme “The End of the World?” which opens with a talk by Bonnie Ferguson, University of Kent on “The UK’s European University in a Time of Brexit” and is followed by Andrew Millar, University of Dundee on “Having a Good Crisis…and Not Wasting It“.

In addition to the plenary talks the event also hosts a wide range of workshop sessions and master classes – indeed, as can be seen from the figures given in a post on Overview of Speakers at IWMW Events this year will feature the largest number of speakers since the event was launched 21 years ago!

One of the changes for IWMW 2017 is that we have revived the notion of the event co-chair.  Marieke Guy was co-chair for several years when the event was organised by UKOLN. After the re-launch of the event in 2014 this year it was felt that the event would benefit from fresh insight into the event organisation, as well as helping to ensure the sustainability of the event. Claire Gibbons, former Senior Web and Content Manager at the University of Bradford, is the IWMW 2017 co-chair and also co-chair of the IWMW 2017 advisory group.  As well as working with event sponsors Claire also has responsibility for the events social programme. And as Claire has described in ta recent blog post on Social Activities at IWMW 2017:

This year we have decided to break with tradition and hold two social events based around an evening meal. On the opening night we will have a conference dinner in Rutherford Dining Hall, where delegates will be encouraged to sit with people they don’t know, and work together to complete a quiz, with prizes for the winners.

On the second evening we will have a barbeque, which will feature further opportunities for delegates to mix with each other through a series of activities designed to get everyone chatting, and mingling, and to increase their own professional networks – and there may more healthy competition thrown in for good measure. The barbeque will be held early in the evening, giving everyone the opportunity to explore the campus or town under their own steam later on, should they wish to.

IWMW 2017 Deadline is Fast Approaching!

We hope the IWMW 2017 event will appeal to those who work in institutional web and digital teams or those who have wider interests in the use of online technologies in higher education. If you’d like to read more about the event the following blog posts are available:

The event will be held at the University of Kent on 11-13 July and costs £400 for 3 days, which includes 2 nights’ accommodation, meals and social events.

Online booking is availablebut please note that the closing date is Friday 1 July. Book soon!