A self organised unconference for anyone with an interest in services in islands, wherever they may be (including the big one with Cardiff, Edinburgh, and London on it); and for anyone with connections to islands, however tenuous. Also (in May 2012 and May 2015), an opportunity for visitors to Orkney to see puffins!

IslandGovCamp #IsleGC15 : Saturday and Sunday 30-31 May 2015
Kirkwall Grammar School, Orkney (and online)

(There will also be an island visit, and/or bus tour in Orkney on Friday 29 May 2015, for govcampers travelling to Orkney who can arrive a day or 2 early.)

Monday, 28 May 2012

#IslandGovCamp in transition from event to state of mind ...

[UPDATED: 14:40 Tue 29 May 2012: URLs for video recordings corrected]

Thanks to everyone who participated in #IsleGC12 , either remotely over the internet or here in Kirkwall. As the weekend's events turn from hectic reality to slightly gentler memories, I hope we can keep up the momentum and make sure that we all keep collaborating with any willing partners in the use of readily available technologies (including social media) to sustain and develop services (public, private and third sector) in our various island contexts.

We were very fortunate to have contributions from Sue Wells of Christchurch, New Zealand (over the internet), and from Jan Walburg of Bureau Walburg, based in Friesland in The Netherlands.  Sue's reflections on the experience so far of the hugely destructive earthquakes recently to have utterly transformed the city of Christchurch, and Jan's smartC4RE ideas (which we hope will result in developments and improvements in the use of technology for social care and health), added another dimension to the event. It was also great to have Duncan McKenzie of Northern Constabulary as a direct link to the #BlueLightCamp community, with #northernBLCamp , at Kirkwall Police Station (and on the internet) on Saturday morning. It is to be hoped that these contacts (among many others) will produce lasting results over the coming months and years.

Reflections on various aspects of the event will appear over the coming days and weeks, but in the meantime, there are some sources of video recordings of the event which may be of interest (anything with tags or hashtags of #IslandGovCamp , #IsleGC12, #smartcare and/or #northernBLCamp - as well as #twicket and #X1GuidedTourOfOrkney):

The list of specific thanks is very long, so let's adopt our habitual bulleted list, and hope that we don't miss anyone out.

Thanks go to those who worked hard to make the weekend as useful as it was, and to make sure there were as few avoidable issues for inperson and remote attendees as possible on the day:
  • whoever brought the excellent hot, sunny weather which lasted the entire weekend (although it is quite a bit cooler today, as the wind has gone back round to a mostly northerly direction)
  • Orkney College UHI - including Christine Scott (Business Manager, for providing effortless - on our part - access to the College's huge range of facilities), Anne Hill and Susan Mowat (and their colleagues and students, for the excellent lunches on Saturday and Sundain), and Mike Berg and Keith Chalmers (ICT technicians, for assistance with video conferencing and wifi access)
  • John Fox - for being the calm, reasonable, focussed one throughout the weekend, and for his indefatigable positivity and invaluable (although unpaid, sadly for him!) communications efforts from the very first day we decided to go ahead with the idea of #IslandGovCamp (about 10 weeks ago), including operating the @IslandGovCamp twitter account for the last few days
  • Kate Deans - for 24-hour availability, and for hours and hours of unpaid events management and organisational assistance (including operating the islandgovcamp@gmail.com account, and the @IslandGovCamp twitter account), during her time in Kirkwall after working in the EU Parliamentarium (Parliament Visitor Centre), and before taking up a post as language assistant in Germany
  • Alex Stobart, of Mydex CIC (a member of the Digital Participation Action Group established in Edinburgh in November 2011) - for invaluable advice, assistance and encouragement since the idea for #IslandGovCamp began to take shape in the last part of 2011
  • Sean Lewis, of Magnetic North Films - for dogged and persistent work in broadcasting #IsleGC12 discussions on the internet, including building his broadcast set up bit-by-bit, component-by-component (while getting and keeping the show on the road, and making continuous efforts to improve the quality of the broadcasts as we went through the weekend despite encountering every sort of technical hitch imaginable (and a few unimaginable ones!)
  • the University of the Highlands and Islands - including Jem Taylor and Bob Brandie (both of the Learning Information Services department), for providing access to the University's video-conferencing and webcasting infrastructure, and for providing guest wifi for inperson participants
  • Fran Flett Hollinrake, of Dragon History - for designing and conducting #X1GuidedTourOfOrkney , for lots of moral support and #soothchapelchat, and for copious amounts of good self-organised sense
  • Judith Glue, David, Paula and the Real Food Kitchen team, for a great UnDinner on Saturday night
  • Bruce Mainland, for entertaining us with some songs on Saturday night
  • Orkney Cricket Club - including Andy Hollinrake, who made the #twicket #oftheNorth a reality on Sunday afternoon, and Liam McArthur for some ferocious bowling and for receiving a briefing on the whole weekend on the boundary
  • James Coltham, Martin Howitt, Leah Lockhart, Mark Braggins, Michael McLean, Shirley Ayres , and others based on the big island with Cardiff, Edinburgh and London on it, for being extra specially willing participants
  • Lesley Thomson - for being equally extra-specially willing in her participation, and for starting off the ScotGovCamp event in 2010. (The #IslandGovCamp "joke" was cracked at ScotGovCamp 2011 in Aberdeen, from which the Orkney event grew.)  
  • Blue Light Camp - including Sasha Taylor and others, from which (along with ScotGovCamp) many ideas and principles were "borrowed" 
  • John Popham of Huddersfield, for his inspiring attitude to "just doing" webcasting
  • Mary McKenna of Learning Pool - for being enthusiastic about the concept of #IslandGovCamp, and about puffins
  • James Macdonald of Cisco - for help with using Cisco webex for planning sessions, and for experimenting with different ways of providing remote access to the event
  • Tom and Sam - for putting up with me being embarassing, and for assisting with the raffle
  • Jenny Devlin - for everything
  • Orkney Islands Council - including Dawn Sherwood, Robert Horrobin and Vince Buchan (of  IT and Support Services), for tolerating and assisting Sweyn Hunter's  obsession over the past weeks and months with making #IslandGovCamp happen, and Marine Services for sponsorship
  • Orkney ICT Forum committee members - including Steven Heddle for chairing everything, and Malcolm Marwick for practical assistance throughout the weekend
  • Scottish Government Digital Division - for funding the event, and to Alyson Mitchell for assistance with that process
  • UKGovCamp - for inspiration, encouragement and sponsorship 
  • Molly and Pepper - for mascot services in Orkney and Christchurch
  • everyone else who contributed or assisted in any way

Friday, 25 May 2012

Remote Attendees - Participation Plan

The IslandGovCamp 2012 weekend begins tomorrow, there are various things you need to know to make sure that your remote attendance works as well as possible, allowing you to engage and participate fully in #IsleGC12.

We are aiming to strike a good balance between the needs of remote attendees and those of the people who will be in Orkney in person for the event. To enable effective remote participation, we might need to have a few more ground rules for those attending in person than is normal at a govcamp. On the other hand, we do not want to over-structure the discussions in the room, as one of the good things about the govcamp format is that it is very flexible, and avoids over-structuring discussions. So, we need organisation and structure to make sure that those attending remotely can follow what is going on, but we need informality and flexibility to make the most of the whole event; we will need to try to balance these competing aims, and we will not get it right 100% of the time. This element of #IsleGC12 is new and experimental, so please let us know about the problems and difficulties you will encounter.

All announcements, administration and important information will be given via @IslandGovCamp and #IslandGovCamp. If you have any problems, comments and enquiries about administrative and technical issues, tweet @IslandGovCamp. To avoid swamping this important information (especially for remote attendees), the hashtag #IsleGC12 (along with the event-specific hashtags, see below) is intended to be used for all discussion about the content of sessions (or any other discussion) between attendees.

Sessions will take place on Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning. We have four rooms available at Orkney College for sessions. Which sessions take place, and in what order, will be decided between 12.00 and 13.20 on Saturday; we will take all the ideas submitted on IdeaScale and any suggested on the day to this “session pitching” process.

Because the session topics have not yet been decided, the hashtags for each scheduled session (1 hour each) have already been allocated by time and room location (see the table below). The topics for each session will be entered into this table, will be posted on the Blog, and will be tweeted, as soon as the planning session has finished (approximately 1320).

Once the session planning session has finished, the discussion topics for the first time slot (13:30-14:30) will be known, and will be tweeted (and put on the blog), along with links to the session broadcasts. This will enable Remote attendees to participate in the first sessions immediately, while the rest of the schedule is prepared and and published on the blog (www.islandgovcamp.org.uk), and links to it are tweeted by @IslandGovCamp

Before every subsequent session there will be a 5 minute warning announcing the next session to take place in each room and the corresponding hashtag (and a reminder link to the full schedule). When each new timeslot actually begins, this will be repeated.

Each govcamp session will have:
  • A dedicated hashtag (e.g. #papay3). This is for all discussion related to that session.
  • A volunteer 'Twitter Monitor', in person in the room, to act as spokesperson for remote attendees at that session. (The Twitter Monitor will follow the session hashtag for comments and questions. All other in-person participants in the session are also encouraged to follow the hashtag, and take into account the comments of remote participants throughout the session).
  • A volunteer 'Session Tweeter', in person in the room, to narrate (as far as possible) in twitter the discussion in the room, labelling each tweet with the session hashtag.
  • At the beginning of each session, the broadcast link will be set up and tweeted out by @IslandGovCamp with the session hashtag.

Please do not hesitate to get in touch on Friday evening, or during Saturday by email (to islandgovcamp@gmail.com). Equally, if you have any questions or comments before or during the sessions, please tweet them if you'd rather (mentioning @IslandGovCamp and/or the #IslandGovCamp hashtag).

We are all looking forward to a great event, which we hope will be interesting and entertaining. Let's hope it all works!

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Finalised IsleGC12 schedule and remote attendance info

Hello all attendees, both remote and in person!

We are almost there, and with that we have a finalised schedule for the IslandGovCamp weekend (see below). On here you can see the times and places you need to be along with any vital extra info.

Tomorrow, we will be sending out an email to remote attendees with specifics on how the broadcasting and remote discussion will be structured (e.g. which twitter hashtags to follow, where to get admin info, when streaming links will appear, etc), along with suggestions for facilitating interaction in the IslandGovCamp sessions (In person attendees will be given all this information when they arrive at Orkney College on Saturday).

In the meantime, keep an eye on #IslandGovCamp and @IslandGovCamp on Twitter and posts on this blog for administrative updates, and get ready for an exciting weekend!

#IsleGC12 Finalised Schedule

Friday 25 May

Tour of Orkney mainland by public transport (X1 tour)
0845 Kirkwall Travel Centre
For 0900 assembly, and 0910 X1 dep KTC

0925 Tormiston Mill
For 1000 Guided tour of Maeshowe.
1050 X1 dep Tormiston Mill (next bus1150; arr Stromness 1205)

1105 Stromness arr Travel Centre, and guided tour of Stromness by Fran Flett Hollinrake
1215 Lunch and free time
1340 X1 dep Stromness (next bus 1440, arr Kirkwall 1510)

1410 Kirkwall arr Travel Centre
1420 Tour of St Magnus Cathedral by Fran Flett Hollinrake. Toilets available.
1500 Coffee and free time

1610 Kirkwall Travel Centre
for 1615 X1 dep Kirkwall Travel Centre (next bus 1715, arr Lamb Holm 1730)

1630 Lamb Holm Walk to Italian Chapel. No toilets.
1705 Walk back to bus stop
for 1715 X1 dep Lamb Holm (next bus 1815, arr Kirkwall 1831)

1731 Kirkwall arr Kirkwall Travel Centre

Saturday 26 May 2012
1000 - 12.00 Kirkwall Police Station, Blue Light Camp

1200 Orkney College UHI, Kirkwall
1200 Lunch
1200 - 1730 IslandGovCamp planning and sessions. Coffee served throughout. Toilets.

1930 Judith Glue’s, Kirkwall
For 2000 - #IslandGovCamp Unconference Undinner, £20/head (not including drinks)

Sunday 27 May 2012
1000 Orkney College UHI, Kirkwall
1000 - 1300 IslandGovCamp sessions, coffee available throughout. Toilets.
12.15 Lunch served, raffle and wrap-up

From 1300 Pickaquoy Centre, Kirkwall Gather for Twicket
1300 Cricket club available at Pickaquoy Centre
1430 Twicket competition starts
[If wet weather: alternative event of Pub Quiz]

2000 The Reel, Kirkwall Transatlantic Tales, Orkney Storytelling Festival Event. Admission by donation (recommended min £5/£3)

Friday, 18 May 2012

#IsleGC12 Venue and Remote Attendance Arrangements

We've had some thoughts about how to use the space available at Orkney College UHI, and how to ensure that remote attendees can follow all the sessions with as much prospect of seeing and hearing what is going on as an in-person participant will have.

Orkney College UHI, Kirkwall

What is listed below is subject to change, but initial discussions (with Orkney College UHI, University of the Highlands and Islands Learning and Information Services, Cisco and Orkney-based partners Magnetic North Films and Dragon History) suggest that the following will be feasible (all room numbers are Orkney College UHI numbers):
If you have any thoughts on this, or can offer to assist in making all this happen, please leave a comment below!

Use of space at the venue

For the #IsleGC12, we will name and use 4 areas in Orkney College UHI:

Auskerry: Room F4.07 (VC Studio OC-S2)

  • Discussions around the possible future smartC4RE project within the proposed EU/Interreg 5B North Sea Region programme
  • other discussions and sessions on the theme of social care, health and related services
  • Remote attendance will principally be by means of Cisco Webex.

Mainland: The Cafeteria

  • Lunches and coffees
  • Welcome and introductions
  • Session pitches
  • #IsleGC12 sessions on Saturday and Sunday 26 and 27 May 2012
    (as agreed by in-person and remote participants from noon on Saturday 26 May)
  • Wrap up sessions
  • 2.1.6 The Raffle
  • Remote attendance will principally be by means of http://bambuser.com (or similar internet broadcasting sofware)

Swona: Overblikk Restaurant (VC Studio OC-S6)

  • #IsleGC12 sessions on Saturday and Sunday 26 and 27 May 2012
    (as agreed by in-person and remote participants from noon on Saturday 26 May)
  • Remote attendance will principally be by means of connecting to the UHI video-conferencing infrastructure from other VC endpoints (and/or by means of UHI webcasting facilities)

Papay: Room F2.14 “The Room with a View”

  • #IsleGC12 sessions on Saturday and Sunday 26 and 27 May 2012
    (as agreed by in-person and remote participants from noon on Saturday 26 May)
  • Remote attendance will principally be by means of http://bambuser.com (or similar internet broadcasting sofware)
 (Text from #IsleGC12 - Venue and Broadcasting Plan - Draft 2)

Friday, 11 May 2012

Tour of the Orkney mainland by public transport

Tour of the Orkney mainland by public transport
Friday 25 May 2012

Please Note:
To book a place on this tour, please register on the Ideascale page, and vote for the idea (also leave a comment saying how many places you wish to book): it's first-come-first-served!

Co-ordinated and led by Fran Flett Hollinrake, Orkney tour guide,
storyteller and
mild-mannered cathedral custodian

The Orkney ICT Forum is grateful to Fran Flett Hollinrake for sponsorship , in the form of contributing her professional services in devising the itinerary and leading the tour


1. All participants must bring stout footwear and waterproofs
2. We will use public service buses, which run to a timetable
3. Numbers on the tour are limited (to 20), due to the capacity of the Maeshowe monument
4. Additional guests may join the tour, but are not guaranteed entry to Maeshowe.
4. The format of “tour by service bus” is an experiment!
5. There is no absolute guarantee that buses we are relying on will have capacity to take us, so times and attractions visited may vary for this, or any other, reason!!
6. Anyone wishing to use their own vehicle (rather than buses) to follow the tour may do so (“Follow that bus!!), but parking may be an issue, especially at Maeshowe
7. Anyone wishing to join the tour at any point after the Maeshowe visit (or wishing to miss out a section of the tour, or leave the tour early) may do so – using the GovCAmp “rule of 2 feet” (and/or 1-or-more wheels) just meet us at the point you wish to take part (tweet @sweynh or ring 07796952788 first, to check where we are!)

The tour is designed to showcase some of the highlights of the Orkney mainland that are accessible by public transport in May. It contains many of the elements of an Orkney tour, including landscape, poetry, archaeology, geology, Norse sagas, Stone Age monuments, coffee, wartime heritage, lunch, modern art, shopping time, architecture, folklore. As far as the weather is concerned, Orkney is sometimes said to offer “all four seasons in each day”, although by late May we will hope for some sort of focus (for most of the time) on spring and/or summer!


0900 Arrive KW Travel Centre – distribute maps/mini-guides (index-cards as storyboard for proposed phone app ‘Kirkwall to Stromness by bus’, featuring sites of interest, geology, folklore, history, etc)

0910 Dep KW Travel Centre by X1 bus (next bus to Stromness at 1035)

0925 Arrive Tormiston Mill (Visitors Centre for Maeshowe) – check in for tour, toilet available, 7-8 minute walk to the monument. Photography NOT permitted inside Maeshowe. Members of Historic Scotland get free entry, as do members of English Heritage, Manx Heritage and Cadw (after 1st year of membership – if in 1st year then entry to HS properties is half price). Entry charge is £5.50 or £4.40 for concessions. If 11 or more people pay together as a group, there is a 10% discount.

1000 Tour of Maeshowe (booked). The tour starts at the monument and usually takes about 40 minutes. The guide will be informed that we are catching a bus at 1050. 7-8 minute walk back to the main road for the X1 bus to Stromness (next bus 1150).

1050 Dep Tormiston Mill

1105 Arrive Stromness Travel Centre

1115 Guided tour of Stromness by Fran Flett Hollinrake

1215 Lunch and free time for Pier Arts Centre, Stromness Museum, shopping etc. Lunch is self-sourced – various options include The Cafe Bar, Julia’s Bistro, Argo’s Bakery. Pier Arts Centre has free entry, Stromness Museum £3.00/£2.00.

1340 Dep Stromness (next bus 1440)

1410 Arr KW

1420 Tour of St Magnus Cathedral by Fran Flett Hollinrake. Photography permitted, free entry, toilets available.

1500 Coffee/Orkney Museum – Orkney Museum has free entry and will be self-guided with possible chat with Exhibitions Officer and local storyteller Tom Muir. Options for tea/coffee include The Reel or the St Magnus Cafe (both have WiFi), or The Strynd.

1615 Dep Kirkwall Travel Centre (next bus 1715)

1630 Arrive Lamb Holm – walk to Italian Chapel. Free entry, photography permitted, no toilets.

1640 Visit Italian chapel

1705 Walk back to bus stop

1715 Dep Lamb Holm (next bus 1815)

1731 Arrive Kirkwall Travel Centre