Conference Retreat


As I wrote a few weeks ago I’d never been to a multi-day conference, never mind a whole-week double, so I was quite excited about my trip to Brighton to attend ReasonsTo Be Creative and dConstruct.

My fears about not actually talking to anyone were pretty much realised but to be honest that turned out fine. Listening to talks puts in a more pensive than chatty mood so I just went with it; just taking it all in, enjoying the hotel, taking a lot of pictures, experimenting with my camera, and fixing bits of this site. It made all the difference having my Macbook with me, being able to take it out and edit photos in situ was glorious.


ReasonsTo Be Creative is a long-running conference that used to be all about flash, so I never had reason to go back in it its “Flash On The Beach” heyday. It was pretty spread out, with loads of talks happening over three days, most of which being people showing their work, but when they moved beyond the portfolio to the processes involved it gave some great insights into other parts of the industry. While a couple of talks were hilarious, a few inspiring and most interesting, I got the sense that there was a lot of padding; I’m sure many of them could have been cut to 40 minutes with no loss of content. The quick fire round was much more my speed, 20 people in an hour! It reminded me a bit of the great format of last years Responsive Day Out.

Over all it was really good but a couple of times I was thrown by talks being super un-PC; one otherwise excellent speaker miming a mentally ill person hanging themselves, another had slides peppered with nudity and subjected the audience to a clockwork wanking monkey for way longer than was funny or even comfortable. I might live in a SJW bubble because I was looking around in confusion but people seemed fine with it.


dConstruct was only a couple of days later and in the same venue but immediately had a very different feel, for one there were way more women among the attendees. (Someone even tweeted with delight that they were having to queue for the ladies loo!) It was my 5th dConstruct and the 10th in total, and though it can be a bit hit and miss for me keep coming back! happily, because this year’s was most definitely a hit; perhaps the best I’ve been to. It felt heavy, important, and real, but Jeremy Keith said it much better than I could. ClearLeft always put their audio online after the events and I’d definitely recommend checking out Mandy Brown’s talk in particular.

So yeah, a great week where I learned a lot and I got a lot done, but without all the networking that’s supposedly supposed to go on, so while I’m happy with how it went I still feel I’m missing a big part of the big whup and I’m not sure I made the most of it. Perhaps I should be checking out workshops or classes instead?

That said at the last talk I spotted a local luminary sitting at the back of the auditorium just listening alone, and thought it was pretty ok.