Netroots conference in London next weekend boasts a dazzling array of speakers and workshops


Hundreds of bloggers, tweeters and online campaigners will be gathering in central London next weekend for a day of training, networking and debate on digital activism, with a special focus on the continuing campaign against the involvement of the private sector in the NHS.

From 9.30am to 5pm on Saturday 30 June, the TUC’s conference centre is opening its doors to activists from the many digital grassroots campaigns in the UK, offering them a series of workshops – some run as small tutorials, others as larger discussion groups.

The opening session of Netroots UK 2012 – the third such event – will be about building a digital progressive movement. It features contributions from TUC Deputy General Secretary Frances O’Grady, Sunny Hundal from Liberal Conspiracy, Raven Brooks from Netroots Nation in the US, and blogger and disability activist Sue Marsh.

Clifford Singer from False Economy – the anti-cuts campaign site – will be joined by writer and activist Owen Jones for the afternoon session, with presentations giving ideas and inspiration for future digital campaigning.

There are more than a dozen workshops for participants to choose from, several of which have an NHS theme. Keeping the pressure up against changes to the health service following the passage of the Health and Social Care Bill provides the theme for one such workshop, featuring Marie Campbell from 38 Degrees and Middlesbrough doctor and campaigner Clive Peedell.

Another, with Chaminda Jayanetti from False Economy, Professor Allyson Pollock from Queen Mary College and investigative journalist David Hencke examines how activists can use digital tools to collect, interpret and publicise the negative changes that the recent legislation means for patients and NHS staff.

Journalist and author Paul Mason, together with Naomi Colvin from Occupy and environmental activist Adam Ramsay, plan to look at new forms of activist organisations and how they engage with members and the public, both on and offline. Other workshops on the day include how to use mobile phones to plan, shoot and distribute film news reports, a session on how to run more effective online campaigns and another on how to mount legal challenges against government spending cuts.

The organisers of Netroots are also inviting delegates attending to suggest their own ideas for workshops. The subjects for these open space sessions will be decided on the day, making the agenda more responsive to the needs of its participants.

Tickets for the event cost  £5 in advance and attendance is free for people who are not working



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