Thursday, 3 October 2013

Oxford Conference of Corsetry 2013 - review

Just over a month after the corsetting event of the year, I've finally caught my breath and can start planning for next year the dates for which were confirmed soon after the end of the Conference.  Nobody wanted to leave theis year which I thought was a good enough indication that we can build on the huge successes of this year to make an even better event next year!  Excitement! 

My own perspective on the event is that it went better than even I could possibly have imangined!  There were less people than I had prepared for but ultimately that was good.  The group was not too small to make us feel like we were rattling around and not too large as to overwhelm the venue.  People gelled really well and some good and lasting friendships were made.  The venue staff were an absolute joy to work with - I have many years of experience as a conference organiser both as someone who organises large academic conferences and someone who manages the venue - my last venue job was Conference Manager at Keble College, Oxford, and so not only do I know how an event works from the inside, but I do have a very critical eye.  I simply wouldn't have booked a venue if I doubted their helpfulness or efficiency and Jesus has a real asset with their Conference Administrator Luke, who clearly has a natural gift for the job.  I hope they appreciate him.

My good friends and collegues did sterling work supporting me while organising the conference and teaching during the conference.  Alison who gave a superb fitting workshop with specially created mannequin, Dolly Button, gave me much moral support and helped with all the graphic design, Gerry who gave a fantastic masterclass taster on draping corset designs, enthused me no end with her excitement over the prospect of such an event and was a life-saver when it came to finding the wonderful photographer Chris Murray and liaising with corset queen Morgana who very kindly agreed to do the modelling alongside Victoria Dagger.  Jenni the embeillishment expert, kept the Conference Facebook page going by tempting people to book with snippets of the knowledge they could gain by coming to the conference, learning from experts and sharing information with eachother, and Marianne modelled to perfection although I am sad that we didn't use her more academic skills more fully - this will hopefully be rectified next year.

Dinner with Jesus!

Our guests Ian and Polly stole the show on Saturday night and I'm hoping they will both join in the fun again next year,  I didn't know it but they and others had their very first Pimms that evening!  Of course there would have been no event at all without our wonderful and talented delegates who completely personified the spirit of my vision which was to share knowledge, network, make friends and have fun!
We had generous sponsors too - Foundations Revealed paid for the wonderful Symington Collection of Antique Corsets to be present for examination, Proportion London provided mannequins for show, as did our friend Lucy at Corset Laced MannequinsJanome supplied fantastic goody bags, Sew Curvy (that's me!) funded various parts of the conference, and we had generous donations of fabrics and embellishments from everyone but special thanks must go to both Lisa Armstrong of Elizabeth Armstrong Design, and Izabela Pitcher of Prior Attire who literally donated suitcases full of silk, lace, beads and trims!

Ian Fraser Wallace of The Whitechapel Workhouse, and muse extraordinaire Polly Fey
Most amazingly we were covered by the local press and radio and we were featured on the BBC News "In Pictures" website!

You can read a whole lot more about the conference from all sorts of different perspectives by following the links below and I'll be doing some separate posts on some of the guests and sponsors over the next few weeks.  I'll also be getting the details of OCOC'14 together, so do keep watching!

BBC Radio Oxford interview with Julia Bremble - forward to 2:25:20
Oxford Mail Article with pictures
Review of the Conference by Marianne Faulkner on The Lingerie Addict Blog
Review of the Conference by Clare Sager, attendee from Nottingham, UK
Review of the Conference by Sara Spookystitch, attendee from Minneaopolis, USA
Oxford Conference of Corsetry Facebook Page - for further updates and news

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