First of all let us say a huge thank you to everyone who has run a #BrewEd so far. Since the first one in Sheffield back in November 2017 there’s been so many events up and down the country, each one bringing people together for a day of learning and laughing together. All the events have been successful in their own terms and as the founders of the movement Daryn and Ed are both moved and pleased beyond measure to see #BrewEd grow.
If you’ve organised, spoken at or attended a #BrewEd you are part of something that has made a real difference to our profession. Thank you.
As the events have snowballed we’ve noticed that some have moved away from the basic model that Daryn and Ed set up. Some of the changes have been fine but a few, we think, have weakened the format. No blame to people who have made these shifts but we’d like to re-affirm our belief that #BrewEd works best when it adheres to some basic principles and ask that anyone who chooses to call their event a #BrewEd does their best to stick to these principles. If you really don’t want to stick to these principles of course you should still run your event but please don’t call it a #BrewEd.
1) #BrewEd is for discussion. Most or all the sessions should be about half and half presentation and discussion. Say your guest speaks for ten minutes then the participants get to question and discuss for ten minutes. Or fifteen and fifteen. Or twenty and twenty. It’s not a #BrewEd if the people who have paid to come along don’t get to question and have their voices heard.
2) #BrewEd is for bringing people together from differing sectors. When you’re putting your speakers together watch out for this. Got a primary speaker? Brilliant – add one from secondary. Got an ITT tutor? Fine, maybe add someone who works in a PRU. Or Special Ed, or EYFS. Got direct instruction proponent, excellent see if you can recruit someone It’s not a #BrewEd if all the speakers speak from one sector or represent one viewpoint.
3) #BrewEd is about equality. It’s our social time so work hierarchies are irrelevant. We listen to a chalk face teacher with just as much interest as the university academic or the CEO of the Multi Academy Trust. It’s not really a #BrewEd if the speakers rely on status for authority.
4) #BrewEd doesn’t do sponsorship and doesn’t do sales. Sure your speaker may have written a book – it seems most of the people with a couple of thousand followers on twitter have somehow wangled a book deal. That’s fine but try to make sure they don’t use their slot as a chance to sell it, get them to speak on something else. The only way we can be sure to stay independent is to keep free of the people who would use our platform to sell stuff. If there’s a goody bag on the seat or a pop up banner next to the stage it’s not a real #BrewEd.
5) #BrewEd happens in an authentic social space, it doesn’t have to be a pub – it could be a café or a community centre but if you’re sitting in a conference room or a lecture hall you’re not at a #BrewEd.
6) #BrewEd needs some fun so don’t forget to include the pub quiz. If we let ourselves get too worthy we’ll bore off the people who like the social aspect of the days. If we want to maintain a wide group of participants we need to keep the events broadly interesting. If there’s no quiz or, at the least, a game or two it’s not a real #BrewED.
I think if we keep to these principles we’ll keep the character that made the #BrewEd format successful. I think that if we lose them we’ll still maybe have some nice days out but we’ll lose some of the magic. People have asked about a few other bits and pieces, we’re not so worried about them but if it helps, here’s some thoughts.
Raffle: Some #BrewEd organisers like to have a raffle, some don’t. We don’t mind wither way. Ed was enormously moved by the people who raised money for Sobell House Hospice in memory of his wife Diane and it’s fine if that continues but there’s no need. Why not raise money for a local charity or for one that means something to your locality.
The Rucksack of Shite: This is Hywell’s brilliant idea. There’s no need to have it if you don’t want it. Ed’s son disagrees and thinks it’s an essential part of the format but what does he know?
Ticket Prices: We want to keep these as low as we can. Generally we don’t build the cost of food in as that way we can keep ticket prices down below a fiver. Sometimes the pub wants the money for food up front or we have to cater it and the ticket price has to go up. It’s ok – just be straight up in your ticket description so people know what they’re paying for.
Accessibility: Please try to find and accessible venue. It’s so disappointing for our colleagues with mobility challenges to find they’ve been excluded from an event because it’s up a flight of stairs or because there isn’t an accessible toilet.
Social Media and Live Streaming: Strangely for an event born in social media – from a twitter chat between Daryn and Ed – twitter and facebook aren’t always our best friends. We know the buzz created around each event by happy tweeters sharing their journeys and selfies with new friends helps build the vibe of positivity around BrewEd and anticipation for the next event – the issue is more around slides from presentations tweeted without the context and direct quotes from speakers which can be taken the wrong way. I use the example that I might be talking about behaviour management and how stressful it can be. I might recall how, as a younger teacher I didn’t always manage it so well and sometimes used to let it get to me. I might admit that sometimes when I’m feeling low for whatever reason, sometimes I let myself down and still, just once in a while, raise my voice. And a tweeter might tweet “I still shout at children – Ed Finch.
As a general rule I say to people,- please do share our event but please don’t directly quote people or tweet pictures of slides as they are so likely to be taken out of context. I think the same probably goes for live streaming – it gives the appearance of being an authentic ‘in the room’ experience but really doesn’t capture the inclusivity of the experience people are having in the room – I’d probably avoid it I think. Another good reason not to over tweet or to live stream is that, in my experience, speakers are more open and more honest when they know the presentation and discussion is ‘in the room’.