Oooh another one…

Bit of a flurry of activity here. Sorry about that, but after attending the Mumsnet Blogfest on Saturday, I felt inspired to update this place. I’ve got plans to blog my research reading  for my MA project (along with all my malaises and moans about the subject). My Mostly Film writings are also under a separate category and if I find any more interesting family history stuff, it’ll go under Family Stories.

So…Blogfest. I’ve never done a blogging festival before, but my friends Jenny and SouthwarkBelle, both bloggers, persuaded me it would be a laugh (gin may have been consumed during this conversation).

The day was divided into two morning and two afternoon sessions, with a small awards ceremony and a drinks party in the evening.

That’s Margaret Atwood. In her house…

The first morning session was all about motherhood and creativity, with Bridget Christie, Meera Syal, Margaret Atwood and some bloggers (I didn’t really take notes…sorry…). It was interesting to hear people discussing how they negotiated childcare and creative work – something for which you need time and space.

I had a bit of a problem with the event logo. You can’t really see it in the photos, but the logo was purply pink with a slightly offset red shadow. From a distance it looked a bit like the beginnings of a migraine.

Not bad. And I got mints too!

The mid-morning session on photography yielded my first ever goody bag! It was a rather snazzy Western Digital portable hard drive. The label said it was 3 terabytes, but my macbook can only detect 1 terabyte. Still, can’t be greedy. My images, posts, documents and embryo ibooks were all backed up and safe almost as soon as I plugged the drive into the USB port. What more can you ask for?

Just before lunch, we had Think Bombs: three well-known people (Sandi Toksvig, Val McDermid and David Baddiel) gave five minute presentations on a topic that was supposed to stimulate conversations. They were all seasoned (and excellent) performers, but the cynic in me spotted that David Baddiel had a show to promote, Sandi Toksvig was promoting the Women’s Equality Party, and only Val McDermid seemed to be just there to encourage us to silence our inner critics and find space to create.

After lunch, we had probably the most interesting session for me: how the Internet changes public discourse and campaigning. Stella Creasy offered some great practical advice on engaging MPs in your campaign (give them something specific to do, don’t just ask for their support) and Nimco Ali talked of her campaign against FGM. This was a livelier session, with plenty of contributions from the floor and I learned a lot about how people use social media as a campaigning tool, not just to ‘raise awareness’.

I can’t remember much about the next session, but afterwards there was cake…


We were getting a bit worn down by the last (and possibly the most gruelling) session, discussing how much of your private life do you put in the public domain. The panelists had all put something of their inner lives on the internet (and made a living out of it), and I came away not really any the wiser about whether it was a Good or a Bad thing. Possibly I was getting cross and tired by this point and I needed more tea.

But then there was an odd awards ceremony (three prizes, all of which seemed to go to the people sitting in front of us – I was reminded of eLearning awards that seem to circulate around three or four agencies). And then there was wine…


I’m holding a glass of prosecco and a sealed plastic glass of rather smooth Merlot that I snaffled for Mr S. We drank, we raided passing canape trays, Belle and Jen hugged fellow sciencey/health bloggers…then we picked up our groaning goody bags and went home.

Blogfest’s focus seemed to be on writing and creativity, getting published, promoting your ideas. I already write for a living, and I’m happy with doing the odd MF piece or scribbling on my blogs without having to be sold the middle-class writer lifestyle (they didn’t go into the fraught ‘pitching ideas to harassed editors and being paid in magic beans’ side of things much).

On the plus side, the sciency philosophy bloggers were lovely, and I learned a few interesting things, read some really good writing and drank lots and lots of coffee.

And it must have worked because I’ve spent two evenings updating and fussing around with this blog. So, maybe this is a new start, eh?



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