Conference 2012 - Feedback


Friday Evening:

[‘Question’] ‘How was this event?  What did you think of the venue? 
How relevant was the subject matter?  Are you pleased you attended? etc’

“A map of where the place was would have helped – also signs directing people upstairs would be useful. 
The DVD was good but perhaps a shorter extract and a longer debate? 
Venue reasonable: food very good [although a menu would have been nice]. 
Should have paid for a full-page ad’ for Julian’s talk on Sunday and sold extra tickets for a big name – don’t always rely on LSH website.”

“Interesting – I had not seen the video before – relevant – yes.”

“I could not attend because I was working.”

“A good idea.  Enjoyed the DVD and discussion afterwards … good ice-breaker.”

“Venue was fine (once we found it) – although confusing in layout. 
I enjoyed the ‘Four Horsemen’ video and found the subtle differences in emphasis of the speakers interesting.”

“I was planning to attend but pressure of work prevented me.  But it would have been a long way to travel for a few hours; I was commuting not staying in a hotel.”

“Interesting video and follow-up discussions.  Useful event to kick-off the conference. 
Glad I attended (but almost didn’t because I couldn’t find the room).  Would have been good to have some signs saying where the conference was being hld.
 [I asked a couple of (presumably Mason) men near the entrance ‘where the humanist meeting was’ and looked at me with something approaching contempt!”

“Enjoyed this ‘primer’ event – the Four Horsemen’ got me in the mod for debates on Saturday. 
Nice to have a drink and relax with some other conference-goers. 
The venue is fine (not too keen on the picture of the Queen); but very much like the men-in-aprons”


[‘Question’] ‘How was this event? What did you think of the venue?  How well was the time used?  How relevant were the speakers? What was the catering like? Are you pleased you attended? etc’   

“Very enjoyable day – good mix of speakers and discussion in workshops. 
Lunch was excellent. 
Enjoyed the speakers in the afternoon. 
Evening session and the dinner a good opportunity to socialise and get to know people from other parts of the North West. 
Enjoyed ‘making up a religion’ but even the most risible could not compete with the real thing.”

“I enjoyed the event – the venue was easy to get to and the facilities were good.  Food and refreshments were fine. 
One doubt was the evening session: which I though could have been more fruitful.”

“Well-arranged programme with interesting speakers. 
I particularly enjoyed Pavan Dhaliwal’s talk and was impressed with her dedication to attend the conference; despite obviously feeling unwell.
Bothe the buffet lunch and the dinner was excellent: but I was most unimpressed by the after-dinner speaker – due to the fact that he didn’t speak!!
I spoke to Martin during one of the breaks and he had some very interesting things to say (and also during the ’Question Time’ session); so I felt it was a missed opportunity to learn from him.
The group-activity that he initiated ‘create your own religion’ was just a blatant rip-off of Bobby Henderson’s religious satire ‘The Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster’.  The people on my table thought it was quite a silly exercise and we were reluctant to participate… I suppose it kept us awake after a long day and a good meal!”

“Venue fine, except: 1. Information about distance from rail-station completely inaccurate – it’s a good 15 – 20 minute walk. 2. Main room became hot & stuffy.
I enjoyed the slightly longer tea/coffee breaks and lunch: that allowed me to get to know members of local groups.
The ‘a.m.’ break-out session also served as an ice-breaker and it was good to see shared views.
Found update by Pavan valuable; but not easy (in the heat) to concentrate on a presentation without any visuals.
Found Callum’s session very interesting and well done – the personal; testimony of interviewees added a great deal.
Lunch – good selection & ample.  Enjoyed time to meet people.
Dinner – felt tired at end of day and needed time-out.”

“Thoroughly enjoyed.
Pavan did well with a cold – she could have done a power-point usefully (sic).
Enjoyed doing the Golden Pig!
Prof. Callum Brown’s talk very interesting.
Pro. Norman’s talk: good prep for Pavan’s talk.”

“Again – everything was fine.
Richard Norman’s talk was something that I regard as being very important for us as a movement – but also provided a seriously difficult challenge; as we all found during the break-out sessions.
It was most intriguing that the issue of education rose to the surface of every group discussion.
The buffet was excellent and the bar facilities convivial and comfortable.
I enjoyed [and found most encouraging] both talks from Pavan and Callum.  I learned a lot from both of them.”

“[For both Saturday and Sunday] - Honestly – found the venue depressing.
Speakers were excellent; but the Saturday morning session while interesting seemed not to have any real outcome or purpose.
Thought Pavan’s talk was very revealing in terms of what the BHA is doing – but only from her own personal perspective.
I’m not sure why: but I thought this year’s conference did a better job of getting us all talking to each other.
All-in-all a great conference.”

“The lunch was very good.
The talk by Pavan Dhaliwal was excellent.
The talk by Callum Brown was very informative.  I don’t know where else I could hear a talk like this, so it seems like a unique selling point for a conference like this.
The conference dinner was fine.
I was not so keen on the break-out sessions following Prof. Richard Norman’s talk because it seemed a bit pointless.”

“This worked out better than I thought it would.  The time for discussion / questions was about right – and well used.
Richard Norman very relevant to theme and handled the plenary discussions well.
Pavan Dhaliwal – very impressive.  Reason for optimism: BHA ‘PR’ seems in good hands.
Callum Brown – Interesting but not very relevant to theme.  A few personal recollections don’t really tell you much.”

“There was too big a gap between the end of session and meal: there’s not much to do in Preston for 1½ hours.  If it had been an hour earlier you could have at least gone to the shops.
Mr Poulton’s exercise was great – a talk after a meal can be tiring but this wakened everyone up again … could also be a good ice-breaker in future for Friday night.
Speaker were really good!”


[‘Question’] ‘How was this event?  Did you enjoy the speakers?  How relevant was the subject matter?  Are you pleased you attended? Etc’

“Yes – very thought provoking.”

“Julian’s talk provided plenty of variety and gave me new things to consider in my life . . . The ‘Question-Time’ was great fun.”

“A thoughtful and stimulating talk from Julian Baggini and a refreshingly ‘waffle-free’ panel (as you’d expect) from all our speakers, who made a thoroughly entertaining and very diverse group.  … Excellent!”


“Julian spoke in an original & stimulating way.
Panel – ‘brilliant’ – (but I’m biased!)”

“1. Enjoyed presentation  - The lesson for us as humanists in secular world will need to reflect still.
2. Q-Time session – Found it useful & interesting to have different perspectives.” 

“Really enjoyed this session.”

“Julian Baggini was excellent; nice to have a slightly different perspective on the humanist world.”


Any other comments:

“Attendance was disappointing and I wonder if the cost implications of spreading it over three days is a factor.  Would a ‘concentrated’ one-day event be more attractive to more ‘less-committed’ people.”

“The venue was fine . . . Very friendly conference.”

“I really enjoyed the whole weekend and congratulate everyone involved in making it possible.
Low attendance was disappointing, but had its advantages in giving a splendid informality to the proceedings.
I do think we should think about limiting the event to a maximum of two days though; if we want to encourage greater attendance.”

“Thank you.  I will join the Manchester Group.  Attending the conference helped me to make that decision.”

“Overall a very good event.  Many thanks to the organisers.”

“Thank you to Ian and John [et-al] for their work in planning and organising this excellent; informative and enjoyable conference.”