Drawnalism Part 2 – the start of a journey

This is a slightly edited version of a post which first appeared on the Drawnalism blog as On the record.

In my previous post, I met Matthew from Drawnalism at a Knowledge Cafe, many years ago. This time, my relationship with Drawnalism moves from ‘having a nice chat’, to us actually working together.

Not a conference

One of the components of the BlueLightCamp flyer

An ‘unconference’ is a bit like a conference without a predefined agenda. Instead, attendees ‘pitch’ ideas to each other. The most popular sessions form the agenda. You only go to those sessions that genuinely interest you. For more info, see Unconference in a box, by James Cattell.

I regularly attend unconferences like LocalGovCamp and UKGovCamp, and sometimes help out. However, my perspective completely changed in 2014 when I co-organised an unconference.


A blue swirrl with the words BlueLightCamp 2014 and event hashtag #UKBLC14
Stickers based on the BlueLightCamp logo

BlueLightCamp brings together people who care about blue light / emergency services. It’s informal, and job titles are left at the door on the way in.

All attendees need is to have a shared interest in a topic. This means that chief officers, frontline staff, community groups, and others can talk directly to each other about topics of mutual interest.

Engineering serendipity

Another component from the flyer, re-usable for stickers (and blog posts!)

Unconferences increase the chances that you’ll meet people who are passionate about the same topics as you. These ‘chance encounters’ make it much more likely that ‘good stuff’ will happen.

The process is sometimes known as ‘engineering serendipity’, or creating ‘happy accidents’.

Drawnalism at BlueLightCamp

I already knew that Drawnalism would capture ideas in an entertaining and informative way. However, what I hadn’t anticipated was lots of reusable marketing collateral as well. For example, we knew we needed an event flyer, building on the existing BlueLightCamp logo. Here’s what Drawnalism came up with:

Drawnalism made each element available as separate images. This meant that we could repurpose them for the web site, social media, and event merchandise, like mugs.

Collector’s items: BlueLightCamp mugs

Top hosts

The Ordnance Survey team, led by Gill Blake, were brilliant hosts. For example, they printed and hung banners throughout the building.

The BlueLightCamp 2014 Organising Team (left to right):
Clare White, Simon Whitehouse, Mark Braggins, Sasha Taylor, and Christine Townsend of MusterPoint

Next up

If you’ve made it this far, thanks for reading. In my next post, I will talk about my first experience of Drawnalism’s In the Moment service.

About Mark Braggins

I’m interested in lots of things, in no particular order: society, politics, public services, open data, technology (and what you can do with it), wildlife, photography, the countryside, and long distance walking.
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