People Power 2013

People Power 2013 was a one-day conference designed to help you achieve your goals through campaigning and activism. What you do matters, and People Power is designed to help you win.

Campaigners and activists; and leading figures from government, media and the corporate sector – all were united to share knowledge, experience and insights.

Please visit for details of future People Power events.

The 2013 Agenda

09:00 – 09:20 Breakfast & registration
09:20 – 09:30 Welcome & Introduction
Linda Butcher, Chief Executive, Sheila McKechnie Foundation
09:30 – 10:15 Opening Plenary
Clive Stafford Smith, British lawyer and SMK Be The Change Award Winner
Clive’s opening speech will be a real source of inspiration. He’ll talk about his journey as a campaigner, from his beginnings as a human rights lawyer, to the founding of Reprieve, to Guantanamo and today’s campaigning world. He’ll offer advice to others who are struggling to campaign on issues they care about. And he’ll share his thoughts on some of the challenges campaigners can expect to face in the years ahead. Be inspired by his unerring dedication to creating positive change.
10:15 – 10:30 Comfort Break
10:30 – 11:30 Do charities still speak truth to power?
A panel session discussing the relationship between government and ‘big charities’
This challenging panel discussion will steer away from the usual debate surrounding the independence of the voluntary sector. The broad theme is whether charities still speak truth to power – or whether people are gravitating more and more towards less formal structures and grassroots networks. Looking back throughout history, we have seen trends of participation and membership: from trade unions, to political parties to charities. But are our days now numbered as the voice of civil society? Who now speaks for the people?
11:30 – 11:45 Comfort Break
11:45 – 12:30
  • A spoonful of craft helps the activism go down
    Sarah Corbett, Founder and creator of the Craftivist CollectiveThis highly hands-on workshop on Craftivism encourages people to understand the value, meaning and history of craft in campaigning. Participants will have the opportunity to put Craftivism into action and understand the value of the activity by engaging in a quiet and thought-provoking crafting session. Group discussion will reveal the thought process behind craft and its application to a diverse range of issues and causes. Attendees will be able to continue their participation beyond the session by finishing their craft piece later and sharing the results on the Craftivist Collective website.
  • Be the best version of you: Recognise what you’re good at and what you’re not
    Ruth Rogers and Natasha Devon, Co-Directors, Body GossipNatasha Devon and Ruth Rogers of Body Gossip have built the positive body image campaign Body Gossip from scratch, completely voluntarily and in their spare time (they both have full time jobs) since 2006. They have enjoyed celebrity endorsement from Gok Wan, HRH Duchess of Cornwall, Alesha Dixon, Jermaine Defoe and many more. They have also just won a Cosmopolitan Ultimate Women Of the Year award. This workshop will explore how you pioneer a campaign when your strengths lie not in business or finance, but creativity and innovation. Participants will learn to recognise their own skills; to create ideal teams around them; to push through the boundaries of their fears of their limitations. You’ll even get tips on how to get that top celebrity patron!
  • Staying the course: Lessons from a long-standing campaigner
    Pragna Patel, founding member of Southall Black SistersAs a long-standing campaigner who has ‘stayed the course’, Pragna’s session will be a real source of inspiration for everyone in the audience. Pragna will talk about her journey as a campaigner; the lessons she have learnt, the current campaigning climate and offer advice and insight to people who are struggling to sustain long-standing campaigns on issues they care about. You’ll have the opportunity to join in a group discussion with Pragna and share your own experiences of grassroots campaigning.
12:30 – 13:30 Lunch
13:30 – 14.00 Open advice surgeries with our sector experts
14:00 – 14:45
  • Connect the media with your cause
    The Guardian Voluntary Sector Network
  • Are national charities having an identity crisis? Campaigning in a changing policy landscape
    Helen Undy, Senior Policy and Campaigns Officer, Amy Whitelock, Policy and Campaigns Manager and Tom Pollard, Senior Policy and Campaigns Officer, MindThe workshop will explore the role of a national campaigning organisation and how we can best adapt to changing structures, demands and audiences to maximise ‘people power’ over an increasingly diverse influencing landscape. The workshop will then move on to examine these issues by asking participants to consider a scenario based on a real situation faced by Mind, the mental health charity, and discuss possible campaigning tactics and targets in small groups. We will then share ideas and talk through how Mind has dealt with these issues and how this has changed our campaigning strategies going forwards. The session will end with a discussion and Q&A, drawing on thoughts from Twitter and participants in the room.
  • Campaign effectively with older people
    Mary Milne, Senior Campaigns Officer, Age UKOften, campaigners can forget about the power of older people and the tremendous value they can add. The workshop will highlight this by drawing on examples from two recent campaigns – Care in Crisis, aiming to bring about urgent reforms to the social care system, and Change One Thing, supporting local groups of older people to change their local communities. Through this session, we will focus on a few key points:
    • The value of offline campaigning in the digital age
    • The diversity of older people and the need to challenge assumptions
    • How to support people to campaign on issues they care about
  • An elevator pitch masterclass
    Emma Higginson Smith, Director, Campaign TrainIt can seem difficult, or even impossible, to reduce complex contexts and campaign aims to a single clear, understandable and persuasive message. That’s why this masterclass is designed to maximise your organisation’s impact by helping you to refine a one-minute ‘elevator pitch’. It will then show you how to adapt your pitch to target stakeholders in different campaign scenarios by switching influencing styles and techniques. It focuses on the advantage that can be gained from matching an influencing style to a stakeholder and a particular scenario to great effect. Skills focus: Strategic thinking, confidence building, assertiveness, teamwork, ability to listen.
  • Successful campaigning on a local level
    Stephen Heard, SNUB and John Hamilton, Secretary and Campaign Officer, People Before ProfitThis workshop will explore campaigning on a local level. You’ll learn about local campaigns and campaigning tactics, with key lessons that the two speakers have learnt themselves through hard-fought campaigns. Stephen Heard will discuss the successful legal challenge that Stop Norwich Urbanisation launched against local authorities and John Hamilton will discuss the different tactics employed when campaigning in Lewisham – including the high profile Save Lewisham Hospital campaign. The workshop will also feature an open discussion, with participants being asked to share and discuss their own experiences of local campaigning.
14:45 – 15:00 Comfort Break
15:00 – 15:45
  • Master the art of digital persuasion: How to use the strange quirks of online behaviours to your advantage
    Rachel Collinson, Director of Knowledge Sharing and Innovation, Engaging NetworksIt is difficult to know why your supporters behave the way they do on the web. Persuading them to take part in your campaign can feel like an uphill battle. This workshop will explore the latest research in what motivates people to act online and how you can build that into your campaigns. This will include things like:
    • The most persuasive words to use when asking people to join your campaign
    • Why the results of focus groups and research surveys can be horribly misleading
    • A little-known (bizarre) fact that prompts people to act in a community-minded way
  • Peering in: Achieve campaign impact in the House of Lords
    Esther Foreman, Director of The Social Change Agency, Lord Jim Knight of Weymouth and Dr Andy Williamson of Future Digital.Do you know your Lib Dem from your Tory Peer? Attend this workshop if you want to understand how to work with Peers, with focus and impact to further your campaign in Parliament. Based on research conducted in the House of Lords with Labour, Conservative, Lib Dem and Cross-Bench Peers, and over 20 years collective experience running Parliamentary Campaigns, Esther Foreman and Dr Andy Williamson, will share all the techniques, tips, trials and tribulations they have picked up along the way, while helping campaigners to develop the skills and knowledge needed to achieve crucial support in the House of Lords. The workshop will cover: diagnosing your needs in the upper Chamber, contacting, communicating and lobbying in the House, using on-line campaigning to gain access, story telling to change opinion and monitoring and evaluation and the role of charities, the public and online campaigners in the eyes of Peers. It will also share with you what NOT to do!
  • What’s our understanding of history got to do with my campaign?
    Lucy Pearce, Environmental and Social Justice CampaignerParticipants will explore:
    • Their personal memory of campaigning (including events before their lifetimes e.g. Suffragettes)
    • Their organisation’s memory (where did the organisation come from, what is known of its past)
    • Connections between the two, and how participants can work with this knowledge, especially in their work with supporters.
    Through work in pairs and small groups, participants will learn about the concepts of “historical consciousness” and “cultural memory”, and how these could influence the shape of campaigns – from form to language to visual imagery. It will be an opportunity to step outside a campaign and view it from different perspectives.
  • Campaigning on the outside or the inside? Discover how to deal with decision makers
    Richard Bate, Partner, Green BalanceYour campaign has brought your issue to public attention, established what you don’t like and hopefully what you want instead. You have some solid arguments, a creditable band of supporters and you cannot be ignored. So how do you convert this campaigning on the outside of the decision-making process into a victory? This workshop is about engaging with decision-makers so that working inside the political process is effective rather than a dead-end. The workshop will consider questions such as:
    • What can you offer decision-makers (as well as what you want from them)?
    • If decision-makers oppose what you want, how will you persuade them?
    • What are your plans B and C: can you find the decision-makers’ weak spots?
    • Closing the escapes: can you make decision-makers stick to your agenda?
  • It’s not the size of your petition, it’s what you do with it that counts
    Brie Rogers Lowery, Campaigns Director, Change.orgOnline petitions are everywhere. But what is it that makes the best ones rise to the top? And how do you make campaigners out of people who sign? The UK director of, the world’s largest petition platform, takes on the myth of clicktivism and gives the inside track on building and engaging movements that win. There will be short presentation then some fast paced workshops to get your tactical and creative juices flowing at the end of a long day.
15:45 – 16:00 Comfort Break
16:00 – 17:00 Closing Plenary
Margaret Aspinall, figurehead of the longstanding Hillsborough Campaign
Margaret Aspinall lost her son in the Hillsborough tragedy and has spent the last 23 and a half years campaigning for the truth, as part of the Hillsborough Families Support Group. She will close the day with advice and insight gained from her on-going fight for justice after a tragic personal experience.
17:00 – 18:00 Drinks and discussion: informal networking

The Sponsors

The Sheila McKechnie Foundation (SMK) was established in 2005 to help develop a new generation of campaigners who are tackling the root causes of injustice. Set up in memory of Dame Sheila McKechnie, SMK is dedicated to helping campaigners create positive and lasting social change. SMK runs programmes for individuals and groups providing support, advice and a place to share information on key areas of effective campaigning: from strategy, tactics, and targets to evaluating successful campaigns.

The Good Agency creates communications that inspire action. We bring together expertise in branding, fundraising, campaigning and communications and look after our clients throughout the journey. We work above, below, through and on-line, and in the voluntary, private and public sectors. We are working in partnership Sheila McKechnie Foundation for the third year to bring you People Power 2013 because we are committed to inspiring people to make Good things happen.

Event Photography by Ignite Images, the event specialists

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