Netroots North West ran from 12 noon to 7pm on Saturday 18 February in the Kilburn Building of the University of Manchester.

Opening session: Trends and challenges for digitial activism

  • Sunny Hundal (Editor, Liberal Conspiracy)
  • Prof Rachel Gibson (University of Manchester)
    Prof Gibson will provide an overview of the latest findings from the research she is conducting into the use of online technologies in elections and campaigns. Her Comparing Online Democracy and Elections (CODE) project focuses on understanding how political organizations and modes of activism are being reshaped as a result of digital and particularly social media.
  • Clifford Singer (director of Social Spark progressive design agency and campaign director of False Economy)
    Right-wing groups and campaigns have lots of money and good access to mainstream media. We have little money and limited access – but we have more genuine grassroots activists and we’re better at new media. How do we turn this to our advantage?

Workshops (held in parallel)

  • Getting your voice heard online: Training session in making the most of your existing online communications. How do you build audience for your blog, write more impactful campaign email or use lobbying tools more effectively for your cause? With: Laurence Durnan (Editor, Political Scrapbook), Ellie Mae O’Hagan (Journalist and activist), Gregor Poynton (Political Director, Blue State Digital), Katharine Segal (Senior Campaigner,
  • Campaigning strategies: Training session with experienced campaigners from different backgrounds. Understand how change happens and what motivates people to support you, to better plan your campaigns. With: Tim Gee (Author of Counterpower: Making Change Happen), Casper Ter Kuile (Common Cause project), Becky Wright (Director, TUC Organising Academy)
  • When the Big Society says No!: Strategy session on the potential for organising the community and voluntary sector against cuts and austerity. What works? What obstacles are there, and can they be overcome? What role can digital activists play? With: Nick Beddow (Community development professional), Nishma Doshi (grassroots campaigner), Ally Fogg (Journalist and community campaigner), Maxine Moar (National Coalition for Independent Action, NatCAN, Grant Moar Communities).


Workshops (held in parallel)

  • Holding power to account: Strategy session to discuss the ways in which digital activists can better monitor and hold accountable decision makers and corporates. Panel: Louise Bolotin (journalist and #spartacusreport campaigner), Reni Eddo-Lodge (President, UCLAN Student Union), Richard Goulding (Editor, Manchester Mule), Sunny Hundal (Editor, Liberal Conspiracy).
  • Engaging with local media: Strategy session to discuss how activists can make better use of local and regional media and hyper-local community online media. With: Matt Finnegan (Former MEN journalist running a communications social enterprise), Mike Rawlins (Commercial and Technical Manager, Talk About Local, and Partner at, Lawrence Shaw (National Officer, National Union of Journalists), Tina Taylor (care cuts campaigner).
  • Whose Internet? Strategy session: The very tools and techniques digital activists rely on are under threat, as governments and corporations attempt to place limits on our digital freedoms, in the names of copyright and security. What can progressive activists do to defend our rights to organise and speak out online? With Nishma Doshi (Grassroots activist), Loz Kaye (UK Pirate Party leader), Jim Killock (Director, Open Rights Group).

Closing session

  • Kate Green MP: Shadow spokesperson for Women and Equality, and former Chief Executive of Child Poverty Action Group
  • Ally Fogg: Journalist and Old Trafford community campaigner

Networking reception

Blue State Digital are sponsoring networking drinks from 5pm to 7pm, to provide space for attendees to discuss the day’s themes and make contact with other activists.