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Maria Keenan

Halloween and The History of How 9 Rituals Came to Be

Halloween is an old thing, but its appeal transcends generations. 

Something that's hard to understand can be frightening, but exploring what scares us often leads to our most rewarding discoveries. Given the seasonal opportunity, I thought we out to explore the traditions that we've grown to associate with Halloween events and celebrations, this being an events blog, and today being the spookiest day of the year.

I'd personally been pondering the following questions over the past few weeks as we drew closer to the last ever (?) daylight savings.

Here's a quick index of what I've researched for us, in case any one in particular is a burning question for you:

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Maria Keenan

3 of the Most Useful German Start Ups Event Organisers Should Know About

I recently had the fortune of winning a Women in Tech pass to Bits and Pretzels, a conference for founders held annually in Munich, Germany.

One of the highlights of the conference-come-festival was the inclusion of a stage for start-ups to pitch their products and services against each other in a bid to win the accolade of being the Best New Business there.

Participants presented to a panel of judges with distinguished legacies when it comes to investing in successful and creative ideas, as well as an audience of attendees.

The thing is, none of the contestants I'll be featuring here won because that's not the point, as many of those who competed will probably tell you. Exposure and refining their business pitches seemed to be the main fare of the day.

What matters for me is what matters for the people who read this blog, so I've chosen to showcase three of the most interesting German start-ups event managers should know about specifically that I learned about at the conference.

The three types of technology that promised to be most helpful were:

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Maria Keenan

2019 International Conferences in the UK That Deserve Early Attention

There are a lot of eyes on the UK, and there'll be even more in 2019. 

As I'm sure most of you will be aware, the (current) deadline for Brexit is March 29th, 2019, and there's a lot of speculation as to how it will affect the conference space, particularly when it comes to how the Sterling exchange rate may change, as well as international travel agreements. 

However, the show must go on, as they say. The events industry is worth some £39 billion to the UK economy. Whatever the multiple impacts, good or bad, that will come out of the UK leaving the EU for attendees and hosts, here we've handpicked some international conferences that are well worth attending regardless of changes that come our way:

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Annie Lowney

Event Management Tools I Loved (and Hated) During Admission

I work at a company that likes to try new tools. Tools that promise to make your job easier.

I’ve worked in the tech industry for well over a decade now. During that time I’ve tried a lot of event and marketing software and services. I always tend to revert to pen and paper because it works for me. If that makes me a luddite then you better hide your iPhone because you're liable to see me coming at it with a hammer. For Admission I agreed to try some new and older services for our event management tools. Here’s what I made of them in order of most to least helpful:

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Maria Keenan

What to Bring to a Conference (Or, what I forgot to pack. Twice.)

At the time of writing, I've been to two conferences in seven days.

Therein I've had the pleasure of acting as both one of the hosts and one of the attendees but, in the past, I've also been privy to the speaker lifestyle.

While I know that spending 10% of my week on a plane is pittance compared to the time some business people have to commit, I've learned that there are some creature comforts that go a long way when you're living out of a suitcase for work. 

With that in mind, I wanted to chronicle what I remembered to pack for conferences and what I didn't in a bid to give you some idea of what to pack for a conference, regardless of your role there:

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Annie Lowney

Hiring a Speaker 101: How I Curated the Admission Line-Up

When Maria approached me about writing a post on how I secured the speakers for Admission I looked at her blanky, “There’s no way I can get 500 words out of that.”

I thought, how can I write about something that feels very instinctive? We chatted about angles some more, which resulted in this piece. I hope that you get something from it. Feel free to reach out to me if you want me to expand on anything to do with hiring a speaker, or other event management advice.  

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Maria Keenan

Homeless Fundraisers: Why Painting Over the Problem Doesn't Work

Space is the most lucrative commodity in Dublin. 

For those of you who are not familiar with property in Ireland's capital, here are some statistics: 

  • There are approximately 9,846 homeless people in Ireland (June, 2018
  • There are 1,367 families with 2,894 children in homeless accommodation in Dublin alone. (July, 2018)
  • Four families became homeless every day in July of this year. 

But, as the situation worsens, there's yet another culprit set to ruin people's lives, and cause scenes of hair-pulling in council offices: allegedly, it's street art.

SUBSET are a collective of artists who've come to notoriety for large-scale murals and political art pieces throughout the city. 

Whatever your opinions on the sanctity of planning permission legislation (more on that later), the collective are due to host an exhibition called Grey Area at the end of this month. The event will be the latest in a series of homeless fundraisers by SUBSET who will be donating all proceeds to Inner City Helping Homeless - a fully volunteer-staffed charity that works with displaced individuals in Dublin.

I caught up with the individuals behind the project to talk about art, its absence, and the human condition.

When asked why the artists started SUBSET, they simply responded “to switch stuff up.”

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Maria Keenan

I Spoke With a Zero Waste Contributor to See How She Would Run a Conference

Béa Johnson is one of the most famous faces in the zero waste community. 

She's come to public attention over the past few years because of a jar. In that jar, she can put the entirety of her family's waste for an entire year, which she then chronicles on her website between posts about how she manages to keep their rubbish to a bare minimum.

A little while ago, I caught up with Béa over the phone to discuss her lifestyle, and how her methods could be applied by eco-conscious event organisers, something she has familiarity with, having presented at many events herself in the past. 

Here's what she had to say:

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Annie Lowney

Why Admission Downsized (And Why It Was a Good Thing)

Over the past five years or so it’s felt like everything has to be quantifiable to live. If the numbers don’t make sense, then you kill it. If you can’t prove your ROI, then why do you exist?

People whose motives are dictated by numbers and measurements are made uncomfortable by events. Events are expensive. You have to front load a lot of costs (the venue deposit is one example) before you even know whether your event will sell out. Basically, there’s a lot of risk. 

Admission started off with the goal of being a 200 person conference and, when ticket sales didn’t go the way we would’ve liked, we reduced it to 100. Then, when the sales were stubbornly erratic, we changed tack again. We downsized the venue and took the deposit hit.

In hindsight, it was always going to be a big ask to jump to a 200 person conference with our first marketing foray into the US market. In a lot of ways we went against our own ethos which is carefully considered growth. We were aiming for an explosion, and it didn’t work. Which is a good thing, as it allowed us to remember who we are and the brand direction that we want to go in.

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Maria Keenan

Events for Women (That We'd Actually Enjoy Going to) | Oct/Nov '18

It can be hard (and potentially ill-advised) to steer clear of all the bad news for women that's out there. Furthermore, it can make it overwhelming to put yourself out there.

While there are of course numerous events and conferences available to us where we can feel comfortable, safe, included, and appreciated, sometimes it's nice to spend time just networking, learning and celebrating with people who identify as women, and who have an understanding of the unique effects our gender identity has on our everyday lives. 

As such, here are some hand-picked events for women coming up in the last few months of 2018 that are there to connect us:

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