A Day with Iriss: Reflecting on our conference

Published in Inside Iriss on 25 Jun 2024

Last week, we hosted our annual conference - A day working with Iriss. The hopes of this day was for attendees to hear about how Iriss does things (the ins and outs), see some project examples on how our partner created change and work through some of their own challenges. We wanted participants to be able to take away something tangible and practical from the day, a solution or step towards implementing their own change.

There are always nerves before an event, but these were quickly dispelled by the enthusiasm and engagement the attendees had. We gathered in the Barracks Conference Centre in Stirling and were guided through the day by Iriss board member, and Lasting Difference CEO Graeme Reekie.

Dee Fraser (our fearless leader and Iriss CEO) started things off by encouraging conversations between the attendees and then having a chat with Joanna MacDonald (Deputy Chief Social Work Advisor to the Scottish Government), covering topics such as Joanna’s background, what she would wish for from a genie (confidence, wouldn’t we all??) and the creation and future of the National Social Work Agency. Joanna even bravely took questions from the attendees where she celebrated the diversity of skills across the sector (but bemoaned the amount of bureaucracy).

We were delighted to be joined by Lorraine Closs, Geraldine Morrison and Amanda Black from Durham College in Canada to discuss their recent project with Iriss. I particularly enjoyed hearing Amanda speak on the difference the project had made to her life, as she puts it “These ideas - they work, they simply work”. 

4 people stand in front of a projected screen saying welcome

Having spent long enough listening to others speak, the rest of the day was filled with workshops and networking. The attendees heard about the recent Iriss Passion4Fusion and Child Protect Planning projects (links to something on the projects) and how these projects were put together, they were invited to discover what kind of changemaker they were (of course in the form of a change-animal) and they were encouraged to work though the thinking-doing gap together and see how to give their ideas their best chance to flourish.

It’s clear from the feedback we received on the day that attendees really appreciate the space and support to work through their ideas for change, and were hopeful to see people coming together to do so.

Feedback from the event: Re-ignited the spark. Thought provoking. refreshing.

I really enjoyed seeing everyone come together on the day and want to thank all the attendees for being so engaged, the speakers for giving such wonderful input (and sticking almost to time), the venue staff for looking after us so well, Grace Chocolates for their excellent treats and the Iriss staff for all their hard work.

If you missed the conference you can get the highlights in the blogs from my colleagues and if you have a change you need support with you should take a look at our services page or get in touch