The Unblog – Norton Folgate
The unblog is the official blog of The Recruiting Unconference London (if anything can be official about such an event!). This is the place for random thinking on recruiting and social recruiting, debate and discussion. In the spirit of the unconference, anyone can post here on any topic, start their own blog or leave comments. The comments are unmoderated, it is down to you to respect common decency just as it will be on the 19th November. All you need to do is register and start blogging. Word, video, podcast, whatever method you favour, post it here.
A what & a why you might be asking. What is an unconference & why Norton Folgate? (unless you are full of madness, you probably won’t know the answer to either.
An unconference is an unconventional event that has built momentum from the technology sector in the states. From barcamps to gatherings in parks, the unconference is seen as the best way to share and communicate and come up with real solutions without the clutter of structure or set agendas. Its also an ante-dote to attending a traditional conference, knowing half the speakers already and paying £3 – 400 to see one of them.
There are no rules or fixed structures, speakers or auditoriums, and definitely NO death by powerpoint. The event is broken in to tracks with trackleaders in most cases, who have some expertise in the discussion area. Their role is to encourage conversation, input where needed and support the exchange of ideas, communication, conversation, disagreement, debate and discussion. Anyone can join in and if you get bored, you just change the conversation or move to another track. I lead a track at Recruitfest09 in Toronto and this great event convinced me that we needed to do the same thing in London.
Norton Folgate is the name I’ve given the blog for The Recruiting Unconference London or #trulondon if you live on twitter. I mention Madness, or the nutty boys for two reasons. Firstly they are by far the best band ever, and second, their recent (and excellent) album is titled “The liberty of Norton Folgate.” The release of the album drew my attention to the history of a part of London that was was named Norton Folgate, tucked between Whitechapel and the Bishopsgate. (The quest for the venue starts on the location of the Norton Folgate then head east from Mr.Truemans beer factory via the gas lights).
The area was declared by statute a liberty i:e: A free land with no rules or order. Being a liberty, it attracted all of Londons society and became home to the artists, poets, performers, artistes, free thinkers, buskers, anarchists and the like. You might expect anarchy without order but the story , as the song goes saw a society spring up where people accepted each other, helped and shared views without the need for law and agenda, the people in effect policed and organised themselves.
The liberty of Norton Folgate may have been forgotten in time but for Madness, reviving it in song and retelling the story. By some strange chance, and in an event eerily unconnected with the band, property developers planned to pull down the alleys and buildings that form Norton Folgate and replace them with functional but faceless glass skyscrapers to match most of the surrounding areas. Norton Folgate seemed doomed forever when local protest met a brick wall of bureaucracy. By chance, a local historian opposed to the destruction of this piece of history found the Liberty and discovered that by error, the beaureaucrats had never actually revoked it. By evoking the Liberty, and declaring that the land did in fact belong to the people and not the planners, the demolition has been prevented at least for the time being. At the same time, Madness had read about Norton Folgate and had written a series of songs on London, culminating in a 10 minute classic celebrating the Liberty. The protesters, on hearing this, adopted the song as their anthem and the two movements combined. Madness, being a bit rebellious (but nice), in their day were honoured that their musical mischief making had coincided with such a rebellious event!
On my part, the spirit of Norton Folgate is exactly what the Recruiting Unconference London is all about. No set rules or structure, self policing, the tracks and controlling the content. We are expecting enjoyment, engagement, laughter, a little anger and plenty of learning. I view it that as The Bill Boorman Consultancy is the name above the door, it’s our job to facilitate the event, it’s the job of every attendee to organise it and make sure that the content is just right for them. You choose what you want to know, what you want to talk about, where you want to contribute and where you want to listen. Then just like in Norton Folgate, the evening will end in revelry.
The Recruiting Tweetup is a quarterly event organised by Jamie Leonard of The Ladders and Matt Alder of Penna Barkers, the social media ringmaster himself. The London RTU brings your networking offline and enables you to put faces to the tweets whilst enjoying the odd ale, liquor or similar exotic tipple. The London RTU is the place where the debate will no doubt continue long in to the night fuelled by intoxication. A great end to a great day!