Ellen Richards, Marketing & Communications Officer, The Piece Hall Trust
I missed out on the AMA conference in Belfast last year, as it fell just days before the hotly anticipated re-opening of The Piece Hall where I work. So this year I was delighted to receive the bursary for delegates who are in the early stages of their career. I couldn’t wait to spend three days learning from peers and the amazing speakers on the programme.
Being a first-timer, I was a little apprehensive as I knew no one at the conference but I put my reservations aside and went along to the ‘first-timer meet-up’ on the Tuesday evening. I had nothing to be worried about! On walking into the bar I was joined by two peers and after getting a drink we straight away began swapping notes and stories on our individual venues. The social moved onto ‘Camp and Furnace’ where we joined the rest of the delegates for a very cool evening with street food traders, a bar and live DJ – what a great start to the conference!
The following two days were jam-packed with inspirational speakers, useful sessions and relaxed networking opportunities.
The sessions that really stood out for me were SEO 101 – getting the most out of your online presence as well as Impactful Influencing – building your influencer strategy, both led by Digital Marketing expert Daniel Rowles. Daniel was so generous, offering access to his online tool-kits and lots of practical advice for easy wins and long term digital goals that I can go away and put into place straight away.
One of my favourite keynotes came from giffgaff’s Tom Rainsford, who delivered an energetic, fun presentation on Putting Play at the Heart of your Brand. With phrases like ‘be like old Kanye, not new Kanye’ he made it current while still making his point and affirming to me that it really is the people behind a brand that make it. The other keynote which I absolutely loved was from the inspirational Emma Rice, who spoke about how play should be in every aspect of work. Her passion was infectious and I came away confidently filled with ideas on how I can contribute to making small changes to create a more playful and productive environment.
All in all, the conference was an amazing experience for me. I attended a mix of both practical seminars and inspirational talks, stepped out of my comfort zone and met so many interesting people from cultural venues all over the country. I may have even convinced a few to visit The Piece Hall. All this has left me feeling confident not only on a personal level but also in my role, affirming that I am part of a much wider team of Marketing Professionals who are passionate about the arts and cultural sector.
I’d like to say a big thank you to AMA for the opportunity. I hope to attend again next year for more of the same and would encourage anyone in a similar role to book a place.