The Chartered Institute of Housing conference and exhibition is a key annual event for the sector. After a surreal couple of years of staying strictly at home and the addition of a few new faces to the See Media team, this year’s event felt even more like an exciting opportunity to catch up and learn more about how organisations are addressing the levelling up agenda, decarbonisation and tenant engagement.
After debriefing on our end of week team call our thoughts from the conference, we thought we’d share some of the key themes that shone from each of our team members…
Stuart: By now it is fair to say that I qualify as a CIH Housing annual conference veteran. I have been going since 2001 after all…!
In that time there have been many memorable moments and conversations (serious and otherwise!). 2022 will stand out for me because of the prominence of the ‘c’ word: communication. It was everywhere: from the keynote stage to the Fringe; from the exhibition hall to the numerous networking dos. Clearly communication has been top of the agenda for me ever since 2001. Amid the challenges we face today, it is heartening to hear everyone else joining in too.
Jade: Being new to the housing sector, Housing 2022 provided the perfect introduction to the industry and its key players.
Having met with numerous people across the conference and listening in to some of the presentations and seminar sessions, the overarching key theme — and I believe need — for the sector is to work with residents, not just for them.
Listening in on the resident activism panel at the Fringe stage provided fascinating insight into resident’s wants and needs and it is only by building relationships, approaching an open communication network and truly listening to residents, will the industry continue to move forward and achieve its ambitious plans for the next decade.
Something I regularly think about when putting together content on behalf of clients is that “people buy from people” — whether that is a physical purchase or buying into a belief system or culture. It is through good communication (and PR!) that we will continue to break down the barriers and dispel the potential ‘us vs them’ perception and get to know the industry’s service users as people in communities, not just numbers on a system.
Sarah: While at the conference, I popped along to see our client Stonewater represented by Dr Vikki McCall from University of Stirling take part in a session about the use of technology to support an ageing population. Vikki outlined some of the initial unexpected findings from the INVITE project – a conference being an ideal platform to share what we have learnt so far with sector colleagues.
In hindsight, I wished I had planned to stay for longer. There was so much to see, and I barely scratched the surface. I had forgotten what a great environment a conference is to find out all about a particular topic from various viewpoints in such a short space of time.
Eve: Being able to meet up with members of the See Media team is always brilliant – along with seeing both new and long-standing clients, in-person, for the first time.
Like Jade, Housing was my first time at a sector event; having last visited Manchester Central for a Bongos Bingo Halloween Special (featuring Natasha Bedingfield of course) it was certainly a very different experience, but nonetheless a great one!
Having the freedom of being able to wander and drop in and out of live talks was incredibly insightful – the discussion on today’s political climate and what it means for housing, in particular, sparked interest and new ideas for me.
Is your organisation interested in securing relevant speaking and exhibition opportunities, or are you keen to know more about the ‘must attend’ sector events? Get in touch and we’d be happy to talk you through activity that might be suited to your organisation.