Today, (Thursday, 15 June), the second #PRFest, the world’s only festival dedicated to public relations, has kicked off at Whitespace in Edinburgh, Scotland, ahead of the international festivals. 15-16 June, 2017 and sponsored by PRCA.

An idea brought to life by Aura‘s Laura Sutherland, #PRFest brings practitioners from across the UK to Scotland, to learn, share and collaborate.

A line-up fit for the world stage, industry leaders will talk about mental health, diversity, crisis management, data and analytics, influencer relations, influencing the boardroom and ethics, all the way through to the most up-to-date and current thinking on PR and cyber security.

Sutherland said: “I’m pleased once again to have organised and brought together so many industry leaders across all fields of public relations and to give practitioners the opportunity to develop their knowledge and skills, as well as network, collaborate and do business.

“We’ve been missing an event like this for some time. Gone are the days of boring conferences, we now look to develop more innovative events where practitioners can learn and implement immediately, as well as discuss big industry topics collectively.”

In addition, #PRFest welcomes two new initiatives, Women in PR launched last night in Scotland, an independent networking organisation for senior women working in the PR industry and a new cooperative has launched for independent practitioners, the Scottish PR Collective.

The Scottish PR Collective (SPRC), also developed by Laura Sutherland, is taking the agency model and turning it on its head. Sutherland explains “This group of independent practitioners have their own PR businesses, working with their own clients, but SPRC was developed to promote independent practitioners in Scotland, allowing businesses and organisations to find them more easily and indeed to take advantage of the huge growth in brands looking for extensions of their teams, one point of contact and without the large overheads. We have a wealth of independent practitioners in Scotland, mostly of a senior level, with amazing experience and skills to tap into.

“In addition, we will collectively work together on bigger projects, cover holidays, offer advice and support and we each offer something a bit different.

“With the rise in the desire to have a better work-life balance and the requests to work with skilled and experienced independent practitioners, this collective offers flexibility and we’ve got each other for wider network support.”

A website has been developed (scottishprcollective.com) to make searching for and finding relevant, skilled practitioners, more easy and in the hope more independent practitioners can grow their own businesses and client base. The SPRC launches with nine founding members from across Scotland.

A Scottish PR influencer dinner is being held tonight, with PRCA’s Director General, Francis Ingham leading discussions on industry trends, challenges and opportunities, ahead of his presentation on Friday, 16 June on day 2 of #PRFest.

Francis Ingham, Director General, PRCA, said: “We’re very proud to be supporting #PRFest, which this year promises to cover some of the really big issues in PR and communications. I’m looking forward to discussing the global trends, challenges and opportunities within the industry when I speak at the event on Friday,  and that promises to be a lively discussion!”

So, the second #PRFest has much to boast and it’s onwards and upwards as interest grows in the model, internationally and at home.