UKFEchat Conference 2015... What was that then?
When UKFEchat colleagues from around the country first got together off Twitter, in real life, they discussed how they could find a way to share their ideas, enthusiasm and good practice with a wider group- with colleagues who weren't necessarily Thursday evening Twitter regulars. So... they wrote a book. Then another. Then another.
All three UKFEchat Guides (available to download from this site for free) got the word out that when we collaborate, when we motivate ourselves and each other, interesting things can happen. We just need to keep on chatting and get on with making it happen.
After small UKFEchat get togethers in London, Manchester and Nottingham we decided to have a crack at our next ambition- a conference in which we could discuss the big sector stuff, learn from some of the best pedagogical minds and exchange our own expertise.
It was vital to us that this gathering of like-minded colleagues was as accessible to everyone.
- at £20 a ticket we removed the cost barrier for most
- a week day conference is a barrier for many colleagues with a full teaching workload and when cover is hard to find- so we held it on a Saturday
- we took a vote to determine which city would be most convenient for everyone... London won.
City and Guilds very kindly sponsored us by providing an amazing venue in Central London.
The Education and Training Foundation enabled us to fulfil this ambition and continues to support us with all our projects. We can't thank them enough for their trust, enthusiasm and vision.
Everything we needed was in place. All except a programme of A-list speakers and any money to pay them. Many of these people earn their living by training groups of teachers and through speaking engagements. It was a massive ask for them to come to London on a Saturday, give us their services for free and not only that, but pay all their own travel and hotel expenses. It was a huge cheek to even ask... we asked anyway. All our brilliant speakers, all our conference management, even a photographer gave their time and services free of charge, to join us on Saturday 24th October and be part of the UKFEchat community. We were blown away by their generosity.
Our sponsors, our speakers and our delegates joined together as a supportive community. And despite the many challenges to our sector and to our daily life at colleges, in work based learning or in the community, we renewed our focus and inspired each other to continue being curious, optimistic and thoughtful about what we do.
We might have another go next year...
We meet on Twitter every Thursday at 9pm to debate, create and collaborate. Everyone is welcome to get involved with UKFEchat. Come and join the conversation.