Patron Away Day – 18 & 19 May 2023

We’re heading back to the Peak District for our third Patron Away Day – a half day’s un-conference and residential to take time out to work on your business, connect with other people working in publishing, and blow the cobwebs away.

What is an un-conference?

Our Away Day is a half day conference for people working in and around magazine publishing.

But there’s a twist. It’s an un-conference, which means the speakers are also the delegates.

Once you’ve booked to attend, we’ll ask you to submit the topic of something you would like to talk about. This could be business or personally focussed; it could be magazine related or something that feeds the industry; it could be an unusual hobby that you think others would be interested to see, or learn how to do.

The topic is entirely up to you, as is the format – it could be a talk, a workshop, a discussion point – whatever you’d be happiest with. We suggest 30 minutes for each session, but if you have an idea that would be longer or shorter, just chat to us about it.

We’ll take all the topics submitted, anonymise them, and then put them out to vote on from everyone attending. This means that whoever gets chosen will know that there’s already lots of people who would like to hear from them, which hopefully will reduce some nerves, and make the conference useful and fun for everyone.

Not sure what to pitch? Email Nikki Simpson for a chat.

Before and after

We’ll have lunch on arrival on the 18th, then the conference with a break in the middle, time to chill out a bit before dinner, then dinner and drinks in the evening. Breakfast will be available on the 19th, and there’ll be a chance for a walk-and-talk (weather permitting) before we head home.

Thursday 18th May

  • 11am-12pm Arrival and bag drop-off
  • 12pm Lunch
  • 1pm Conference Part 1
    • 1pm Welcome and introductions
    • 1.10pm Peter Houston, Talk – There may be trouble ahead, but let’s face the AI generated music and dance
    • 1.40pm Helen Coston, Talk and Game – Handling objections from advertisers
    • 2.10pm Steven Short, Brainstorm – How to invite people to work for free without exploiting anyone
    • 2.40pm Mark Alker, Talk – My Greatest Mistakes, a top ten of our greatest publishing mistakes and what we learned from them over 22 years
  • 3.10pm Break for refreshments
  • 3.40pm Conference Part 2
    • 3.40pm Nikki Simpson, Workshop – Build a brand extension for your business
    • 4.20pm Amer Safir, Talk – Minimum resources for maximum video – using my iPhone and a friend’s camera to produce a 6 million viewed video that made international news
    • 4.50pm Chris Wills, Quiz – The artist formerly known as Prints
  • 5.30pm Break before dinner
  • 6.30pm Dinner

Friday 19th May

  • 7.30am-9am breakfast
  • 9.30am-10.30am walk-and-talk (weather permitting)
  • 10.30am check out and head home


This is a Patron-only Away Day, so if you’d like to attend but you’re not a Patron, please sign up here and we look forward to meeting you.

Tickets to attend are:

  • £330 per person for a Premium room with sole occupancy ONE ROOM REMAINING
  • £240 per person for a Premium room with shared occupancy ONE ROOM REMAINING
    If you would be happy to share but are coming alone please let us know and we will pair you with someone of the same sex
  • £280 per person for a Standard room with sole occupancy SOLD OUT
  • £170 per pitch for a camping or caravanning pitch, with hook up if required. Please note you must be a member of the Camping & Caravanning Club to book a pitch – join now from only £48/year.

The ticket price includes attendance at the conference, your accommodation, all food and three drinks in the bar after dinner. We ask you to make your own way there – if you would like to car-pool, get in touch and we can introduce you to other people coming from your area.


Q Where are we going?

The Oakhill Hotel in the stunning Derbyshire countryside, set in extensive landscaped gardens within the historic village of Cromford. The address is Oakhill Hotel, Intake Lane, Cromford DE4 3RH.

Q I’d like to car pool – can you put me in touch with others attending?

We’d be happy to. Email us and we’ll introduce you to others coming from your area.

Q What’s included as part of a camping or caravanning pitch?

Hook up/electricity is included if required, and access to an outdoor toilet and sink in a wee hut – unfortunately there are no shower facilities. Please note you must be a member of the Camping & Caravanning Club to book a pitch – join now from only £48/year.

Q What happens if I book but then can’t come? What is your refund policy?

As numbers are limited based on room occupancy we will refund you:

  • 100% of the ticket fee if cancelled more than one month from the event
  • 75% of the ticket fee if cancelled between one month and three weeks from the event
  • 50% of the ticket fee if cancelled between three weeks and two weeks from the event
  • 25% of the ticket fee if cancelled between two weeks and one week from the event
  • 0% of the ticket fee if cancelled less than one week from the event

Q What happens if Covid restrictions increase and the event is cancelled?

We will refund all ticket fees.

Q I’ve got more questions, who do I speak to?

Please direct all enquiries to Nikki Simpson, she’d love to chat to you.

Back to top of the page