WordCamp Bristol 2019

I write this the day after spending the weekend in Bristol with members of the UK WordPress community. I had a brilliant weekend meeting old friends and new people.

I love going to WordCamps, they really are excellent events and WordCamp Bristol was no exception. Held from Friday to Sunday, there really was something for every WordPress user and I learnt so much and was inspired by so many things.

Contributor day

On the Friday before the main event kicked off there was a contributor day. This is a chance to give back to the WordPress project, contributing some of your time.

A view of The Pavilion, harbour side in Bristol.
The Pavilion was a great space for the contributor day above a BBQ restaurant with a great smell.
Source: https://www.bristol.gov.uk/web/the-harbourside-pavilion

I must admit I have been to a few of these in the past and not really managed to get anything out of them. I am not sure why. Probably, it is me.

I arrived with a couple of hours to go in the day as I had travelled down after dropping the kids off at school. Immediately when I arrived I could see that the room (The Pavilion above the Spitfire BBQ restaurant) was making great progress.

There were specific teams for design, theme review, WordPress.tv ( a particularly good idea) and support. Each fed back at the end of the day with some positive results.

The conference itself

The first day started with a nice walk through Bristol from my hotel to the venue. What I did not realise was just how hilly Bristol is!

I walked through parts of Bristol that I did not see on a previous visit to Bristol for the WordCamp in 2017.

The council building and the cathedral were particular nice and there was a lovely green space in front where lots where enjoying a lie in the sun on the walk back at the end of the day.

My first job of the day was Emcee for track 1, after visiting some of the sponsor stands, checking out the venue and generally having a chat with people. I really enjoyed being a volunteer and something I will try to help with again in the future.

Mark Wilkinson MC at WordCamp Bristol, holding a microphone speaking to the audience.
My role as MC was to introduce the speakers an co-ordinate audience questions after the talks.

The hallway track is often the best place to be in a WordCamp. That is in the hallway between the talks, chatting to all sorts of people including the sponsors.

You get the chat to people you don’t normally get to see in person and those conversations can be invaluable.

My talk on Building blocks without writing Javascript

I was speaking on day 2 in track 2 all about work we have been doing at Highrise Digital with the new WordPress block editor.

My talk was all about using Advanced Custom Fields’ new ACF blocks feature to build WordPress blocks without the need to write javascript.

The talk was well received as it was a bit of a hot topic in the WordPress community. I had lots of positive comments which was lovely.

Favourite talks

There was so many good talks but there was a few that stood out for me.

  • Legacy systems in your head from Lizzie Darville – this was one of the talks that I was MC for and although not directly about WordPress I really enjoyed Lizzie take of mental health in the workplace and dealing with stress and anxiety.
  • Selling WordPress from Scott Jones of Illustrate Digital – a talk about how we, as WordPress agencies and freelancers can better sell the WordPress software to potential customers.

I am already looking forward to the next WordCamp which is going to be in Leeds for me. Maybe I will see you there?

Featured image source: https://twitter.com/PiersTincknell/status/1130136570390933504/

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