Venues for Amplified Midlands

One evening at the end of November a few of us from the Midlands trotted down to London for an event called Amplified. The aim of Amplified is to bring together the many digital/social media/innovation networks dotted all over the country – networking the networks.

The idea is to have quarterly, regional events throughout 2009 which will build up to a national event in 2010.


Amplified’s goals are currently being collected into a Manifesto. Briefly, however, they cluster around the idea that effective use of social media can greatly increase a person or group’s ability to communicate, innovate, create and educate.

The first Midlands event will be held in Birmingham sometime around the end of Feb/mid-March. Information about the event will go up on the Midlands section of the Amplified wiki. We had a preliminary meeting about organising this last week, ‘we’ being Toby Moores, Nick Booth, Joanna Geary, Pete Ashton and myself.

At this stage we just need to decide on a date and a venue so I thought I’d try and collect some thoughts.


Would we get more people:

  • at a weekend; or
  • mid-week (perhaps starting late afternoon but allowing people to turn up after work and not miss much)

Also it’d be good to avoid clashing with other events. The ones I know of so far are:

  • Birmingham Social Media Cafe – Friday 27 Feb
  • SXSWi – 13-17 March


There’s no budget for venue hire (unless anyone’s offering…), but we can perhaps use somewhere like a pub/club that would benefit from a bunch of people buying food and drink at a time when they’re usually empty. Unless someone can suggest somewhere else. Are there any suitable university/college/council venues we could use?

Here’s the rough venue criteria:

  • Capacity for around 100-150 people, allowing space to mingle comfortably and not have to shout over each other
  • Plenty of small tables and chairs for groups to cluster around to discuss topics
  • Availability of food and drink
  • A good standard of internet – we can perhaps ask venues to upgrade if we make it worth their while in extra custom

Someone (possibly me) will go around inspecting venues and talking to managers soon.

Sugestions so far:

So, all suggestions for dates and/or venues are welcome at this stage.

Meanwhile, you can declare your interest in attending on the Amplified Midlands wiki.

Published by Chris Unitt

I work at One Further, doing digital projects with cultural organisations. Follow @ChrisUnitt or find me on LinkedIn.

4 replies on “Venues for Amplified Midlands”

  1. The Creative Republic do was at Bluu and I had trouble hearing what people were saying with 50-odd other people in the room talking. I think Toby was right about going somewhere with carpets to dampen the noise.

  2. Hi Chris, We run lots of bars. I can think of 3 which may work well for you: Bar 42 (Perry Barr), lounge… (at Edgbaston) or the pavilion (Witton). We usually charge for the pavilion. Email me if you’re interested, and I’ll put you in touch with my commercial manager.

  3. Jaki, your comment about the carpets made me chuckle. I had not thought about it like that. At the Amplified09 session on the future of online video last week, 50 of us trended above Inauguration and Obama to be the top search term on twitter for a few hours, so we are definately amplified! I guess it is like putting a blanket in a drum to stop it drowning out the rest of the band.

    Seriously though, Amplified events work best when they are conversational rather than presentational. This means that cafes and bars with seating make excellent venues. We also tend to meet during the quiet times for trade so room hire is not an issue.

    The cafe style layout is important because however interesting the subject, once you get more than 6-8 people in a conversation you will only hear the 2-3 most talkative. So small tables encourage conversation but mean it is very noisy!

    We ran a couple of virtual tables at the last amplified. This is basically 3-4 people at a table streaming live to a rezpondr/ page. We chatted amongst ourselves and took online questions/comments as well. This was really successful and we will be extending this format throughout the year. This is an extension of the conversational format and is even more susceptible to noise.

    Thanks for the write-up Chris.

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