Exciting times at CIH annual conference in Manchester

I haven’t blogged about my work yet (surprising given that I spend a significant amount of time doing it). But maybe it’s because of that, as I want to blog about other stuff than work.

But for the first time I’ll talk about housing not only because it is a very important subject and it is part of my work but also because I am at our annual conference.

The CIH annual conference is a big event, that attracts thousands of delegates, an exhibition and lots of other related events.

It has recently moved from Harrogate to Manchester and I think everyone, delegates as well as staff have appreciated the move. For me it is more convenient as closer to London and also less demanding on my feet ‘on heels’ (a rare occurrence) as I need to walk less from one venue to the other. In Harrogate the conference was spread over a number of buildings which made navigating it more difficult.

I do enjoy going to sessions, listening in the debates and discussions. Although I am often left feeling even more confused afterwards. As efforts are made by conference organisers to plan lively sessions with speakers that have differing opinions the effect is achieved. Free market radicals often discuss in panels with pro-Keynesian interventionists and as both sides make their compelling arguments I can see where each of them are coming from. I have always found it difficult to believe that free markets will solve all our problems so every time I hear arguments in defence I follow with interest but am not convinced. The CIH housing conference is the place where these debates happen and where the clear role that housing plays in an economy is demonstrated.

I do usual produce some work at the conference. It usually is taking notes, producing summaries which are posted on the conference website and networking, talking to delegates about CIH membership, products and services.

This year I’ll be working on producing a member briefing on the Spending Review which is due to be announced tomorrow, Wed 26. Also tweeting from the conference is part of the things that is quite exciting as we’re able to share instantaneously with others what happens.

For the first time ill also be doing a work experience with Inside Housing the housing trade weekly magazine. As a first time thing it’ll be very exciting.

As I have now done this I can give a quick account. The process of going to sessions and taking notes was similar to my policy work. What was different was the approaching to finding lead stories and deciding on which angle to use. Inside Housing’s skilled journalists who mentored me were very quick at picking the story lines. So I have an insight into how they write their stories and I have to say i enjoyed it. I might ask to do it again?!

The result was that a piece I wrote this morning has been published no Inside Housing’s website 🙂


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