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Tuesday 20 October
– Saturday 24 October 2020

Zoom

Celebrant Conference returns for 2020 in an entirely new, flexible, online form.

Whether you’ve been a Humanist Ceremonies™ celebrant for two days or 20 years, we hope you’ll join us.

Though we can’t meet in person, we can still come together to learn, share knowledge, gain insight – and this time, from the comfort and convenience of our own homes.

What’s more, holding Celebrant Conference over five days instead of 24 hours means celebrants will no longer have to choose their four ‘favourite’ workshops, missing out on others taking place at the same time. You’ll be able to attend every single workshop session, with a five-day Celebrant Conference pass.

However, this changed format also allows us to be more flexible than ever before, and so we are also offering day-passes, and even the option to attend only individual sessions.

Workshops will run in 50-minute sessions from 15:30–19:20 on Tuesday to Friday, and from 10:00–11:50 on Saturday, with a ten-minute break in between each session. The final, plenary, session with senior Humanists UK staff will run from 12:00–13:00 on Saturday 24 October.

Our timetable can be found below, and fuller descriptions of each session towards the bottom of the page.

Celebrant Conference 2020 will definitely be among the most unusual we’ve hosted; but also, we hope, the most informative, personalised, and accessible yet.

Programme

Tuesday 20 October

Session Time Title Workshop leader Booking
1 15:30 Humanist marriage campaigns Richy Thompson Book this workshop
2 16:30 Keeping ourselves secure online Hannah Hart Book this workshop
3 17:30 Green funerals Sarah Jones Book this workshop
4 18:30 Dissecting frogs Barry Fowkes Book this workshop
Or, if you’re looking to attend several sessions: Book all Tuesday workshops (£32)
Book all Celebrant Conference sessions (£80)

Wednesday 21 October

Session Time Title Workshop leader Booking
5 15:30 An introduction to using social media to promote your work as a celebrant Angie Aspinall Book this workshop
6 16:30 Misconceptions about humanism Luke Donnellan Book this workshop
7 17:30 Improving inclusivity and diversity within organisations Alison Lowe Book this workshop
8 18:30 How to win funeral directors and influence arrangers Deborah Hooper Book this workshop
Or, if you’re looking to attend several sessions: Book all Wednesday workshops (£32)
Book all Celebrant Conference sessions (£80)

Thursday 22 October

Session Time Title Workshop leader Booking
9 15:30 Dementia Friends Ruth Owen Book this workshop
10 16:30 Repair workshop for script and presentation bugbears Ian Willox Book this workshop
11 17:30 LGBT and equality Teddy Prout Book this workshop
12 18:30 Ubuntu – a humanist philosophy Ethel Maqeda Book this workshop
Or, if you’re looking to attend several sessions: Book all Thursday workshops (£32)
Book all Celebrant Conference sessions (£80)

Friday 23 October

Session Time Title Workshop leader Booking
13 15:30 Making Defence a more diverse and inclusive organisation Neil Weddell Book this workshop
14 16:30 An introduction to Twitter Angie Aspinall Book this workshop
15 17:30 Voice workshop Josh Turner Book this workshop
16 18:30 A collaborative and professional culture Felicity Harvest and Ginny Collins Book this workshop
Or, if you’re looking to attend several sessions: Book all Friday workshops (£32)
Book all Celebrant Conference sessions (£80)

Saturday 24 October

Session Time Title Workshop leader Booking
17 10:00 How celebrants can work with local media Ginny Collins Book this workshop
18 11:00 Words of assurance Jo Mutlow Book this workshop
19 12:00 Closing plenary Book this session (free)
Or, if you’re looking to attend several sessions: Book all Saturday workshops (£16)
Book all Celebrant Conference sessions (£80)

Session descriptions

Tuesday 20 October

Workshop 1 – Humanist marriage campaigns | Richy Thompson. 15:30
Humanists UK has long campaigned for reform of marriage laws. Richy Thompson, our Director of Public Affairs and Policy, will give an update on progress to date, and the current situation. 

Workshop 2 – Keeping ourselves secure online | Hannah Hart. 16:30
Hannah Hart, celebrant and trainer with experience in cyber security, will talk about why keeping ourselves secure online matters, what we need to do, and where to start. 

Workshop 3 – Green funerals | Sarah Jones. 17:30
More and more people are considering the environmental impact of the decisions that they make. Sarah Jones from Full Circle Funerals considers the environmental impact of the different options (in as much as they are currently understood). For some people, creating a ‘green funeral’ is at the forefront of their mind and for others it is one of many priorities during the arrangement process. There will be plenty of opportunity for questions too.

Workshop 4 – Dissecting frogs | Barry Fowkes. 18:30
As the author, E.B. White said, 'Analysing humour is like dissecting a frog. Few people are interested. And the frog dies.' Join Barry Fowkes as you probe gently into the innards of the metaphorical amphibian of fun and explore the formulas of how to set-up and pull-off some lighter moments in your ceremonies – even in dark, unexpected places…

Wednesday 21 October

Workshop 5 – An introduction to using social media to promote your work as a celebrant | Angie Aspinall. 15:30
Angie Aspinall, Humanist Ceremonies Marketing Officer, will talk about how you can use social media to promote your work as a celebrant.

Workshop 6 – Misconceptions about humanism | Luke Donnellan. 16:30
There are many misconceptions about what the word ‘humanism’ means. Some of these are based on the word’s long history and the fact its meaning has drifted over time. Some worry about the ‘human’ in ‘humanism’ and have called for a rebranding. Some are the product of seeing all beliefs on a linear scale: ‘If it’s not that, then it must be this.’ There are also those today who define ‘humanism’ in a way that is alien to many humanists and stake a claim to their own definition. Opponents of humanism are able to employ these alternative definitions in order to damage the humanist movement. Luke Donnellan, Director of Understanding Humanism, will explore some of these misconceptions and alternative definitions. The better aware humanists are of them, the better prepared we can be for conversations about humanism and the better we can educate people about what humanism means to humanists.

Workshop 7 – Improving inclusivity and diversity within organisations | Alison Lowe. 17:30
Alison Lowe, Chief Executive of Touchstone – a Mental Health Charity in Leeds and West Yorkshire – will describe how her organisation progressed to being one of the most inclusive employers in the country. Touchstone's work in inclusivity and diversity has resulted in multiple awards, including the number 1 spot in the 2016, 2017, and 2018 UK Top 50 Most Inclusive Employers Award, and the 2018 National Diversity Award for Most Diverse Company. This session looks at their approach to this important area of work. 

Workshop 8 – How to win funeral directors and influence arrangers | Deborah Hooper. 18:30
Hear a celebrant’s experience of building business with Funeral Directors. What can we learn from one another, and from other ceremony types? This brief presentation will be followed by Q&As and a group discussion.

Thursday 22 October

Workshop 9 – Dementia Friends | Ruth Owen. 15:30
A Dementia Friends Champion, Ruth Owen, from Full Circle Funerals, will guide us through how we can support people to live well with dementia and broaden our understanding of what it means to live with dementia.

Workshop 10 – Repair workshop for script and presentation bugbears | Ian Willox. 16:30
Losing your place in your script? Getting tangled in poetry? Sounding too formal? Feeling too stressed? Bring your script and presentation bugbears to the repair workshop. Ian Willox has spent decades as a radio and television producer specialising in training non-broadcasters how to present. Alongside his broadcast career he has long experience in corporate communications at the CEO level – basically teaching bosses how to talk more effectively. Past clients range from The Bank of England and HMRC to Vodafone and Buckingham Palace.

Workshop 11 – LGBT and equality | Teddy Prout. 17:30
As providers of a service we seek to be as inclusive as possible in our provision. This session covers how to be inclusive of LGBT people in our ceremonies, the Equality Act 2010, and ways to approach writing a ceremony for LGBT clients.

Workshop 12 – Ubuntu – a humanist philosophy  | Ethel Maqeda. 18:30
Ethel Maqeda is a writer originally from Zimbabwe, now resident in Sheffield. Her work is inspired by the experiences of African women at home and in the diaspora. In this workshop she talks about Ubuntu – a humanist philosophy deriving from Southern Africa.

Friday 23 October

Workshop 13 – Making Defence a more diverse and inclusive organisation | Neil Weddell. 15:30
Neil Weddell, from the Ministry of Defence Humanist Network, will talk about the work they are doing in this important area.

Workshop 14 – An introduction to Twitter | Angie Aspinall. 16:30
Angie Aspinall, Humanist Ceremonies Marketing Officer, will talk about how you can use Twitter to promote your work as a celebrant.

Workshop 15 – Voice workshop | Josh Turner. 17:30
A practical and interactive session that will demonstrate simple exercises celebrants can do to improve their vocal clarity. 

Workshop 16 – A collaborative and professional culture | Felicity Harvest and Ginny Collins. 18:30
A collaborative and professional culture – that’s what we sign up to when we become celebrants. But what does it mean in practice? How can we best support each other in terms of finding and sharing work, professional development, and being there when help is needed? This workshop will draw on examples of collaboration and aim to create a blueprint for how we might support each other in the future. This is the same topic as last year’s workshop, which raised many ideas of how we could support each other. We’ll review how far we’ve got with what was suggested, but also talk about the support we’ve needed and received in the difficult last few months – so come back for more discussion, or come for the first time.

Saturday 24 October

Workshop 17 – How celebrants can work with local media | Ginny Collins. 10:00
Local print or radio media is a great way to promote your ceremonies. This session will help you feel more confident about approaching the media with a story or an idea.

Workshop 18 – Words of assurance | Jo Mutlow. 11:00
In non-religious pastoral care we work alongside religious colleagues who deploy faith-based rituals, scriptures and prayers as part of their 'ministry' to patients and prisoners. Their traditions are clearly not part of our repertoire in pastoral, spiritual or ceremonial contexts. Now accredited as a funeral celebrant, Jo has been exploring the sorts of assurances and responses that humanists can and do make that offer comfort and resonance for non-religious folk.

Closing plenary. 12:00
A final, plenary, session with presentations from senior Humanists UK staff.
 

Event policies

Speakers

All appearances are subject to speakers’ work and other commitments.

Photography, video, and audio recording

Humanists UK reserves the right to photograph and record video and audio for appropriate uses. Please be aware that by attending Celebrant Conference 2020, you consent to your voice, and/or likeness being used, without compensation, in any and all media, whether now known or hereafter devised, for eternity, and you release Humanists UK, its successors, assigns, and licensees from any liability whatsoever of any nature. If you would like to ensure that you are not captured in any media, please contact events@humanism.org.uk and we will do our best to accommodate you.

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