Why Bristol Is Revolutionary For Women In The Digital Sphere
Today is International Women's Day, and what better day is there to give a massive shout out to the women who are responsible for organising some of Bristol's most engaging digital-focused events?
As Events Manager at Noisy Little Monkey, I've always got an eye on the meet-ups and conferences that are taking place within our little corner of the South West, and what I've realised is this: there's a TON of techie/digital/creative events out there that are being founded and run by women. Go us.
In order to shine a light on the wonderful events taking place within the sector, I've rounded up a small* number of meet-ups/conferences which you should most definitely check out if you're in the industry and live in Brizzle.
Rules Of Engagement
Shonette presenting at the Rules of Engagement. Photo taken by Ben Laine-Toner
Rules of Engagement is a monthly social media meet-up founded and organised by Shonette Laffy. Shonette set up Rules of Engagement back in 2016 when she landed herself a role as Community Editor at Sift and felt a little out of her depth. She said: "I wanted to meet other local digital folk and ask for their advice and thoughts on social media but couldn't find any groups tailored to what I wanted so I set the group up!"
Over the last couple of years the community has grown from a small Facebook group with monthly lunchtime meet-ups to a bigger, quarterly evening event filled with guest speakers and panel Q&As. The Facebook group now has an impressive 869 members.
When asked about who the event is for, Shonette said: "The event is really for anyone who's job is involved with websites or social media, whether it be editorial, marketing, UX or sales. We have a good mix of different roles, industries and job types attend, from agency through to freelancers and entrepreneurs."
If you'd like to head to a Rules of Engagement event, the meet-up meets up (lazy, Claire, lazy) once a quarter at Prophecy Unlimited.
Right: Members taking part in a hands-on workshop at UCD Bristol | Left: Alex Ryder, one of the organisers.
UCD Bristol is a monthly UX meet-up co-organised by Alex Ryder and Adam Babajee-Pycroft of Natural Interaction, and Jess Lewes and Maria Santos from People for Research. The event is entirely about connecting people who are interested in user-centered design, UX, user research and related disciplines.
Speaking about the intended audience of the meet-ups, Alex said: "There are other UX meet ups in the city but they tend to cater to those already working in the industry but we were keen to open the doors to a wider group. We want to make user centered design more accessible to people from across the creative, digital and tech space regardless of their level of understanding when they join us!"
A typical UCD Bristol event consists of free pizza and beers on arrival, before sitting down for either a talk, workshop or panel discussion. The group also welcomes applications from people who are new to speaking and want to flex their public speaking muscles by tackling a lightening talk in-front of a friendly crowd.
Left: Glug Bristol, photo taken by Craig Allan | Right: Keri Hudson, organiser.
One for the creatives out there, Glug Bristol is carefully curated by Keri Hudson and was started in April 2018. Glug brings together creatives from across the city to showcase their incredible work and inspire attendees to create incredible work of their own.
When I asked Keri why she decided to launch a series of Glug events in Bristol, she said: "I’m a Bristol girl through-and-through, but spent a few years cutting my teeth up in London. In the capital I was absolutely spoilt with creative and networking events (you could literally go to one every day if you fancied), but I struggled to find similar meet-ups when I moved back to Bristol. I was a huge fan of Glug London, so I thought… hey, why not set up a Bristol chapter?"
The Glug events are tailored for creatives, whether that's marketers, photographers, copywriters, developers, social media managers... All are welcome! The event structure consists of four speakers, talking for 20 minutes each on a specific topic: so far they've had speakers tackle subjects such as AI, animation, street art, branding, and film making (to name a few).
If you want to check out a Glug Bristol event, you'll need to head to the Square Club on a Thursday evening. Meet-ups take place every six weeks or so.
More info: https://www.glugevents.com/locations/bristol
Left: Digital Gaggle conference, photo taken by Liam Macauley | Right: Claire Dibben, organiser.
OK, this event is organised by yours truly but if I can't toot my own horn on International Women's Day, when can I? *toot toot!*
Digital Gaggle is a biannual digital marketing conference created for professional marketers. It's intentionally designed to be the antidote to stuffy, overly-corporate conferences, and gives attendees the opportunity to get out of the office for an afternoon of inspiration and knowledge sharing.
Past speakers have included experts from Senior teams at Yeo Valley, Ogilvy, Just Eat, Microsoft, and The Social Chain. The next event takes place on 4th April at Bristol's Watershed Cinema where you'll learn tips and insider secrets from the teams at HubSpot and Lovehoney (more names to be announced).
Social Media DIY
Left: Social Media DIY meet-up during a video marketing workshop | Right: Joyann Boyce, founder.
Social Media DIY was founded in June 2018 by Joyann Boyce, owner of The Social Detail. Joyann started her business because she wanted to help people, but she quickly learned she wasn't able to help everyone. She said, "not everyone can afford professional help when starting a business. I started Social Media DIY to enable people to fix their own social media problems themselves, hence DIY."
The events are predominantly for early-stage business owners, however they welcome anyone who is wanting to upskill themselves, whether that's marketing professionals, CEOs or influencers. The aim is that everyone leaves the meet-up with a list of actions and tools that will allow them to do their social media marketing a bit better.
Events take place on the first Tuesday of every month.
Bristol SEO Meet Up
Faye presenting at the Bristol SEO meet-up
Faye Watt set up the Bristol SEO Meet Up back in May 2018. She said: "It was originally just a bunch of us meeting up in the pub and I thought we could start doing some presentations, and it has picked up momentum really quickly!"
The Bristol SEO Meet Up is for anyone who is interested in Search Engine Optimisation. They generally get a diverse audience: from complete beginners to more advanced SEOs (and even people who are interested in starting a career in Search).
They typically have two or three presentations on different SEO topics at each event. Topics they've recently explored include Google My Business, keyword intent, site migration, and link building. Speaking about the various talks they've done, Faye said: "we try to keep the talks as actionable as possible! We try to prioritise speaking slots for those who have never spoken before and are looking to practice their skills."
Faye's group meets up either on the last Tuesday or Wednesday of the month in the Famous Royal Navy Volunteer.
More information: https://www.meetup.com/bristol-seo/
Social Media Week Bristol
Social Media Week Bristol in the snow back in Feb 2018 - photo taken by Saskia Boussevain
This global event was brought to Bristol by Sarah Woodhouse and Lis Anderson - the team behind Ambitious PR. When asked about why they wanted to bring this festival of events to Bristol, Sarah said: "I had been involved in bringing Social Media Week to Hong Kong and had seen first hand the networking, learning, development and business opportunities generated by the event. As well as the international connectivity and profile that Social Media Week creates for a city."
With 40 events held over 5 days, Social Media Week Bristol has something for everyone. The sessions vary in topic; some are designed to upskill and educate, others focus on thought leadership and inspiration. Tickets range from £5 - £35 to ensure the event is as inclusive as possible.
The next Social Media Week Bristol takes place from 10th - 14th June 2019 and Noisy Little Monkey are proud to be one of the sponsors. We'll be running a talk called 'It's A Long Way To The Top If You Wanna Stop The Scroll'. More details coming soon...
Find out more about the week of events here: https://smwbristol.co.uk/
Bristol WordPress People
Hannah Smith and Simon Pollard presenting at Bristol WordPress People
Over 850 members make-up the Bristol WordPress People community. It is run by six core voluntary organisers, including Simon Pollard (Chair) and Hannah Smith (Co-Chair).
When I asked Hannah why the group was set-up, she said: "The very principle of open-source software, which WordPress is, means that people are coming together to share knowledge and build on the shoulders of others. That principle is very much evident in the WordPress community."
The Bristol WordPress group has been around since 2014 and their mission is to be a friendly and approachable community for everyone interested in using WordPress. One of the things Hannah enjoys so much about the group is the diversity of its members. She said: "Literally anyone who uses WordPress is welcome, at any experience level. It’s not just for developers...we also have nights aimed at beginners who want to blog with WordPress or who want to know the basics of setting up a site for themselves."
Bristol WordPress People meets on the first Tuesday of every month. They run their meet-ups out of Runway East, a co-working space on Bristol Bridge by Castle Park. The event opens at 6.30pm and attendees are welcome to get a drink, and help themselves to the buffet which is generously provided by sponsors. The evening begins with an update about what's happening in the local and national WordPress community, before attendees are treated to two talks on a specific WordPress related topic.
I went to a Bristol WordPress People event last year and really enjoyed it, everyone was very welcoming so I'd highly recommend checking out the free event! Hannah (and a cohort of other people!) are also organising WordCamp Bristol 2019 (a two day conference on 18th and 19th May). There's more info on that event here.
More info: https://wpbristol.co.uk/.
You've reached the end!
*There will undoubtedly be people I have missed off this list - turns out there's way more digital events being founded and organised by women in Bristol than I thought... So, hit me up on Twitter @claire_dibs and tell me who's missing - I'd love to keep adding to this blog over time!