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26th August 2016 Verity Sanderson

Slick, dynamic, and cannily organised #AMAconf

Georgia Attlesey, from Poet in the City, was a recipient of an AMA bursary for this year’s AMA conference – On a Mission to Matter. Here she explains her key takeaways from the conference.

There’s a certain kind of irony involved in visiting a city for a marketing conference where the annual Fringe Festival is a riot of self-promotion and hurriedly made flyers. Returning to Edinburgh and walking across the Royal Mile, the start of preparation for the Fringe in full flow, I couldn’t help but delight in coming back to this city to find out exactly how best to spread the word.

The AMA conference is slick, dynamic, and cannily organised; from the inter arts venues used to host the conferences, to its ‘On a mission to matter’ theme for this year’s conference, that mimicked the organisation’s own phonics; when you’re at conference, you’re made to feel like you’re learning from the best. Having been awarded an AMA bursary, I felt very lucky to be able to join as part of the AMA’s commitment to supporting those of us at the start of our careers in this field. To have been able to meet people from organisations across the country from different points in their career journey was fantastic from both a personal and professional perspective, and I am looking forward to developing these relationships in the months to come.

The sessions across the conference were inspiring and engaging; from Kate Dale’s viral campaign to Donna Walker-Kuhne’s session on engaging audiences, which further reinstated the importance of bringing your organisation to the people around it, and not vice versa. There were also sessions that gave practical tips on developing communications and harnessing technology to get your message across. Throughout the idealism and impressive demonstrations of future trends were specific tips to accommodate this development, making sure that there were always practical steps to implement behind the strategic insights on offer.

Breakout sessions were also invaluable, and a great opportunity to interrogate the techniques of specific organisations. Hearing about the Mental Health Museum’s approach to reasserting itself offered an interesting example of how receptive communities can be to the arts as long as you make sure to include them. Similarly, speed mentoring and lunch time briefings were terrific and a time efficient way of squeezing in even more learning to an action packed couple of days

Thanks to all at the AMA for a fantastic couple of days. It’s genuinely exciting to think about the legacy of the conference on organisations of all shapes and sizes around the country. The most important thing I’ll be taking away is the power of communication, and getting your message right, as well as the significance of ready audiences waiting to be involved. As I try to decipher my hurried notes in the weeks to come, I’ll be constantly reminded about the importance of clear communication. I might even tell the flyerers.

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