Lily Cole to support global literacy at Confex keynote

Actor and social entrepreneur Lily Cole will raise awareness of both her own social enterprise ‘’ and the newly launched ‘Project Literacy’ initiative when she delivers the keynote address on Day Two of International Confex this week. is Cole’s own social community initiative that, she says, encourages global sharing of ‘time, skills and objects’; and it is a subject she will be sharing with the Confex audience.

Cole’s presentation will follow an address she gave at the House of Commons in London on 23 February 2016, where she launched Project Literacy’s ‘Alphabet of Literacy’ campaign and urged British MP’s to tackle the global literacy crisis. The UN estimates that there are 757m illiterate people in the world and, in the UK, one in five children leaves primary school with very low levels of literacy.

“We need to put illiteracy more central to our thinking,” says Cole, speaking ahead of the event. “I’m trying to raise awareness and make people think about illiteracy in a more comprehensive way. Sharing this message with the events community – I hope will give this important message an even larger reach.”

Visitors to Confex are advised to arrive early at the Main Stage at Confex to see Cole deliver her presentation at 12.15pm in Olympia London on 3 March.

Steph & Dom, who won a cult following for their appearances on Gogglebox, will also be at Confex this week, discussing their meteoric rise to fame and how they created their own brand. They will be appearing on Day One (2 March).

Meanwhile, Julius Solaris, events industry blogger, speaker and author – and James Morgan, industry lecturer and founder of the EventTechLab, will keynote on each day of EventTech 16, which also takes place at International Confex.

The two-day programme will also include 12 sessions dedicated to event technology, its use, and its future. While Solaris and Morgan will provide the daily keynotes in the programme, other speakers over the two days include Ru Barksfield, founder of Fat Unicorn; Tim Bull from etouches, and Toby Lewis, from the Live Group.

With over 20 industry professionals and experts from around the world contributing to the programme, there will also be a panel discussions on Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality, and specialist sessions on audience engagement and the use of big data.

“This is a really strong programme with high profile individuals from the world of events and technology and both,” says Morgan. “Event Technology is one of the most dynamic yet daunting parts of the events industry and we’re looking to create an experience that explains, provides insight and then shows the future of this sector for event professionals.”

The programme will sit alongside an exhibition component that will include over 70 exhibiting companies. ISES UK Chapter will manage a welcome and orienteering zone for delegates looking for guidance through the area, while the EventTechLab will be showcasing a number of start-ups in the arena of event technology.

Richard Waddington, founder of the newly formed Event Tech Investor Group, a network of senior event industry professionals, is, meanwhile, presenting his Event Tech Investor Group concept and process to potential start-ups and developers at the Event Tech Lab Open Office Event on at Digital Catapult, Kings Cross, London, 29 February.

The initiative is in its embryonic stages, although Waddington is hoping to have his first ‘pitch the dosh’ by early May.

And, back at Confex this week, the Event Supplier and Services Association (ESSA) will be bringing a strong line up of speakers to its ESSA Pavilion.

The ESSA Pavilion, at stand J76 in the Grand Hall, will be hosting two sessions a day, at 11am and 3pm, with Chloe Batchelor and Simon Garrett of X-Venture Global Risk Solutions giving presentations on both days.

Garrett will be guiding delegates through high end risk, disaster handling and business continuity planning while Batchelor will be reviewing the theory and practice of CDM compliance, in light of the revised guidance.

Says Batchelor: “Almost a year after the CDM regulations were applied to the event industry, I will be taking a proportionate look at the last 12 months, and considering how the regulations are being implemented by event businesses.”

ESSA director Andrew Harrison adds: “These are must-attend sessions for any operations teams, with invaluable advice from two experts in their respective fields of risk management and safety regulation. Places are limited, so an early arrival is recommended.”

International Confex takes place 2–3 March 2016 at Olympia London. For more
information visit:

Paul Colston


Paul Colston

Managing Editor, Conference News & Conference & Meetings World.

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