International speakers will share insight and best practice with senior public relations practitioners at Scotland’s first festival for public relations next June (Thursday 16th and Friday 17th).

The inaugural PR festival, ‘The PRofessionals’, will take place in Edinburgh ahead of the festivals. It aims to engage the wider PR and communications community by bringing international speakers to Scotland to sharing best practice and insights to their success.

Participants include Stephen Hull, editor-in-chief at Huffington Post UK, Frederik Vincx, founder of Prezly from Belgium and one of the innovators behind the #PRStack initiative; Claus Boden, ceo of Jung Relations in Sweden, finalists in the Global Creative Agency of the Year Award in the prestigious Holmes Report Awards; Jaime Pham, who moved from San Francisco to London last year, in her role as LinkedIn’s global marketing consultant and Graham Goodkind, chairman and founder of multiple award-winning global consumer PR agency, Frank PR who recently set up offices in Scotland.

Panellists also represent a different angle with Louise Macdonald, chief executive of YoungScot, Ann Rowe, Head of Communications, SCVO and Carolyne Mitchell, digital team leader for South Lanarkshire Council. There are plans to develop the programme further.

Creator and organiser of the festival, Laura Sutherland, who is chief at Aura PR and one of Scotland’s most prominent public relations professionals, reckons that public relations practitioners need to embrace technology, diversity and creative thinking in order for the industry to progress and modernise. “Lines aren’t blurred about what PR is, it is still about ‘public relations’ but modern two-way engagement has meant taking a fresh look at best practice. Technology has brought us new tools to help modernise workflow and help us do our jobs more efficiently and creatively.

“By bringing recognised global leaders to Scotland we can learn new things and adapt our own practice to be better at what we do. In saying that, Scotland also has much to celebrate about its PR offering and we aim to showcase this at The PRofessionals.

“There are an estimated 62,000 UK public relations practitioners, according to a recent PRCA report, making a good contribution to the UK economy; the market is worth an estimated £10billion. It’s a sizeable market and Scotland can play a big part in its development at home and internationally.”

The inaugural event will bring all sectors of PR and comms together and is timed to coincide with AMEC’s International Summit in London and Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity; three of the speakers will head to Cannes after the The PRofessionals. The festival will celebrate achievements and also allow practitioners to hear, discuss and ‘hack’ PR challenges and collaborate to help develop professional skills and the industry.

A special half-day session has been programmed on the second day, which will use discussion points and challenges raised during the festival to get practitioners to think about and come up with solutions to industry issues at the same time as share best practice.

Sutherland continues: “If you look to recent examples of crisis situations you can immediately see why brands still need experienced, skilled and ethical public relations practitioners who can work across all forms of media, to ensure reputation is being protected.

“I’m very excited to launch The PRofessionals and host the first year in Edinburgh. It seemed timely to hold it ahead of the International Festivals, but with overlap of our industry’s global events, the AMEC summit and Cannes.”

 Like a true PR person, Sutherland has done her research and advises the festival has been informed by 1) a Scottish survey which was widely distributed on social media, 2) research from feedback from CommsCamp2015 3) Future of PR Conference 2015.

Sponsors include brand consultancy Pocapoc Creative and video specialists Capture Media. Opportunities still exist to get involved.

Early bird tickets for full days and tickets for half days available from Monday, 7th December via prfest.co.uk.

Follow updates @ThePRFest

The PR festival will take place in the Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design.