London DrupalCon Europe 2011

Robert Castelo's picture

Drupalcon UK 2011 nomination

Table of contents

  1. Drupalcon UK 2011 Nomination
    1. Nomination
    2. Strong regional groups with experience of running events
      1. London
      2. Northwest UK
      3. East Anglia/East of England/Cambridge
    3. Production Team with experience of organising events
      1. Anthony Albertyn - anthonyalbertyn
      2. Django Beatty - adub
      3. Mark Boulton - markboulton
      4. Robert Castelo - robertcastelo
      5. Simon Elliott - mrsimonelliott
      6. Andrew Larcombe - andrewl
      7. Chris Maiden - matason
      8. Tim Millwood - timmilwood
      9. Dan Smith - Galooph
      10. Mori Sugimoto - dokumori
      11. Ayca Apak Tonge - aycaat
      12. Jeff Veit - smoothstr
      13. Rachel Graves - didlix
    4. Good transportation infrastructure
    5. UK business climate for Drupal
    6. Conference and branding
      1. Branding
      2. Structure
      3. An environmentally friendly conference
      4. Families & spouse activity
      5. Follow up
    7. Hospitality and social programming
    8. Venue
      1. Accommodation
    9. Finances
    10. Date
    11. Appendices
      1. Notes on Location
      2. Notes on Date


The Drupal UK community is pleased to nominate London for Drupalcon 2011.

The UK has one of the oldest Drupal communities and is well established with close to 2,500 members registered on its website ( and maintains an active IRC channel (#drupaluk) for day-to-day discussion.

Drupal UK is made up of smaller Drupal communities in London, Northwest, Midlands, East Anglia, Wales and Scotland, which communicate and collaborate well with each other. The UK is home to some of the most high profile Drupal websites, such as MTV UK, Amnesty International, and The Economist. Additionally the redesign and D7UX projects were co-ordinated from the UK.

Strong regional groups with experience of running events

Scorecard: Team meets regularly
Scorecard: Team has hosted events

There are regular meetups, workshops and sector based events in all regions. Regional Drupal user groups support each other and are well networked.


Drupal London has held the following successful events:

  1. Regular user group meetups for over 4 years
  2. Drupal for Designers (140 attendees)
  3. Drupal for Publications (116 attendees)
  4. Drupal for Education (53 attendees)
  5. Drupal for Enterprise (90 attendees - two times)
  6. Drupal For Music (60 attendees)
  7. Drupal for Developers (50 attendees)
  8. Drupal for NGOs (50 attendees - six times)

As well as Drupal specific events, the London Drupal community participates in numerous non-Drupal events providing presentations, workshops and promotion at events such as LinuxWorld. London Drupal also holds informal events on a regular basis.

Northwest UK

The North West UK Drupal user group has been meeting monthly for 2 years and has been key in forming a strong Drupal community presence in the North West. The first Drupalcamp UK was held in Manchester, in May 2009 and was attended by 100 people.

East Anglia/East of England/Cambridge

Drupal East Anglia will soon hold its first meetup, and it is expected to grow as quickly as other local Drupal communities.

Production Team with experience of organising events

Scorecard: Team is large and structured

Anthony Albertyn - anthonyalbertyn

Branding & design

Anthony is the Digital Marketing Director at a small advertising agency in Cambridge and also a member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing in the UK. Anthony has been doing web development since 2001 and has recently switched to Drupal and has become a big fan in the last 12 months. Anthony, together with Jeff, started East Anglia UK Drupal regional group and their first meetup is on 12 October 2009. Prior to 2001, Anthony has 10 years experience in logistics and international trade.

Django Beatty - adub

Sponsor recruitment, Press relations and PR, Conference programming

Django is based in London and runs the small Drupal consultancy Adub, specialising in large media sites and integrations. He has been working with Drupal since 2005, attended Drupalcon Paris and has given talks at Drupal London events.

Mark Boulton - markboulton

Branding & design
Mark is a designer from the UK. He's worked exclusively in web design for over ten years, but has a background in traditional graphic and typographic design. Drawing on this traditional background, Mark is able to bridge the gap between graphic design and the modern web design. Mark runs his own web design studio, Mark Boulton Design, who specialise in designing simple, beautiful things for the modern web. In February, he self-published "Designing for the Web" which has sold over 7,000 copies since release. He also co-wrote "Web Standards Creativity" published by Friends of Ed, and he writes a popular Blog, mostly about design.

Robert Castelo - robertcastelo

Recruiting and managing volunteers

Robert has a mix of design, development, and organisational skills and has been actively involved in the Drupal community for more than six years. He has contributed core functionality and design work, written documentation and helped organise the handbooks, developed a number of contrib modules, and is a member of the Drupal Security Team. Robert has been to every European Drupalcon, and has organised numerous Drupal events in London, ranging from informal meetups to multitrack days with 140 attendees.

Simon Elliott - mrsimonelliott

Scholarship program

Based in Normandy, France, Simon is a freelance Drupaleer, he is very involved with the French Drupal community. He was on the proposal and organisation team for the Paris DrupalCon then worked as a volunteer during the conference, so far this year he has made presentations at DrupalCamp Cologne, DrupalCamp Louvaine le Neuve (Belgium), DrupalCamp Lyon and contributed in a 48hr NGO project where 40 devs and themers built a drupal site for a good cause.

Andrew Larcombe - andrewl

Conference Programming

Andrew is based in London and is a partner at the web development company NetDojo. He's worked as a software developer and consultant for fifteen years, and with Drupal for over three years. This year he's spoken at various conferences and events including OpenStreetMap in Amsterdam, Drupal for Designers in London and GeoCommunity in Stratford-upon-Avon. He also co-organised a Geospatial BOF at this years' Drupalcon Paris. Andrew is vice-chair of the Geospatial SIG of the BCS - the chartered institute for IT where he organises monthly events.

Chris Maiden - matason

Website management

Chris is based in near Manchester, UK, he works with James Panton (mcjim) and Dan Smith (galooph) for menusandblocks Ltd. Chris has been working with Drupal for 3 years, attended Drupalcon Barcelona, DrupalcampUK and Drupalcon Paris. Chris helps organise the north west Drupal user group which has been key in forming a strong Drupal community in the region over the last 2 years.

Tim Millwood - timmilwood

Website management

Tim is based in South Wales and has been working full time for Mark Boulton design for the last six months, and has been a Drupal developer for the last two years. He has attended two Drupalcons and one Drupalcamp. He has also tried to play as active part in the community as possible.

Dan Smith - Galooph

Sponsor Recruitment

Dan is based in the North West and helps organise the Drupal user group that meets in Manchester. Earlier this year, Dan took on and successful carried out the key role of organising the UK's first Drupalcamp, a highly successful event that was attended by 100 keen Drupallers.

Mori Sugimoto - dokumori

Hospitality and social programming

Mori is a freelance web consultant / architect based in London. He has been working with Drupal for nearly 3 years, exclusively building websites for NGOs and social entrepreneurs using Drupal. He co-organised the first Drupal meetup in Tokyo and is now setting up a regular event 'Practical Drupal for Small NGOs' to help small UK-based NGOs build and maintain their websites.

Ayca Apak Tonge - aycaat

Press relations and P.R.

Ayça is a communications and events specialist with a track record of marketing & PR experience. Main areas of expertise include creating & implementing PR & marketing plans, encompassing the corporate image, branding, messaging, direct marketing, events, media coverage & relations, corporate hospitality, web strategy and external communications. Additionally, thorough expertise in production of marcoms tools such as advertisements, brochures, newsletters, reports, presentations, publications & web sites. Ayça has attended two DrupalCons and one Drupalcamp. Based in London, Ayça uses Drupal for many of her current projects.

Jeff Veit - smoothstr

Speaker recruitment and scheduling
Jeff runs a small Drupal agency, specialising in events and publishing. Jeff writes code on a daily basis, when not talking to customers or writing proposals. He has been using Drupal since version 4.5, and has used Drupal for events of up to 3,000 people. He organises two monthly events for each month as a hobby, for between 30 and 60 people. He has organised conferences and has been known to jump small buildings in a single bound. Jeff lives and works in Cambridge.

Rachel Graves - didlix

Rachel is based just north of London and is a partner at the web development company Net Dojo. She has worked with php for 8 years and has recently started working with Drupal. Rachel previously worked as a Linux systems administrator in the New Media advertising industry and has managed hosting environments for some large companies such as Audi UK, Premier In (one of the U.K's largest hotel chains), Big Yellow Storage (one of the U.K's largest self storage companies) and General Motors. Rachel was a speaker at the first BarCamp Transparency in Oxford and is working on more talks to give in the future. Rachel developed some web based events management software which has been used multiple times by General Motors.

Good transportation infrastructure

Scorecard: Location is easily accessible
Scorecard: Accessible in terms of public transport

London is a hub for international travel, and has flights to and from every major airport in the world. It is also connected to mainland Europe by high speed train.

London has rail links to all major UK destinations. The UK can be accessed from Europe by high speed train via the the Eurotunnel.

Access to London is via the M25 motorway which circles the whole city. There is an extensive 24 hour bus network.

It is easy to get around London by Tube, London has an extensive tube network, the transport system is integrated, and busses are part of the same network.

The City has international links via London Heathrow Airport and Gatwick airport, and European and internal links via Stansted and Luton airports.

The UK can be accessed from Europe by ferry at Dover and numerous other ports.


London encourages cyclists and has cycle paths, allows cyclists in bus lanes.


Scorecard: Location is easily accessible
Scorecard: Accessible in terms of "barrier free" for all

The UK is used to hosting international events. EU nationals do not need a VISA to enter the UK, and the UK has entry cross-agreements with many other countries; but residents of some countries will need visas. A complete list can be found at

Although we do not anticipate it given the regularity of travellers visiting the UK, if there is sufficient demand we may be able to hire the services of a visa assitance service.

UK business climate for Drupal

Scorecard: Location has strong business or media interest/involvement in Drupal

London is a world centre for the financial, publishing, creative and NGO sectors - Drupal has gained lot of market share in all these sectors and has widespread adoption in the UK.

Examples of high profile UK Drupal sites:

The London Paper -
The Economist -
The Open University Community Platform -
Comic Relief -
Greenpeace UK -
Amnesty International -

There are also many large Drupal projects which are not publicly accessible, for instance Nomura Bank uses Drupal as part of a system that tracks the status of 2,000 of it's servers, and British Telecommunications has a large human resources project running on Drupal.

There are a large number of both small and large web design agencies using Drupal for their projects, including Imagination (

The local Drupal community has good support from organisations such as Sun Microsystems, the BBC, Imagination, Amnesty International, Greenpeace UK, Comic Relief, and The Economist.

Conference and branding


Do you have a theming or branding concept for DrupalCon?

The Drupal UK community has some of the best designers in the world available and a rich history and culture to draw on for it's branding.

Preliminary discussion has come up with two suggestions, but it should be emphasised that these are very unlikely to be the endpoint:

    Branding concept 1: "Connected Drupal". The focus could be on connecting and communicating with other people to make the Drupal difference. The branding would aim for a strong emotional appeal and emphasise the community spirit. The technology is nothing without the community. The branding would show people connecting within its imagery. It would to show energy and have an element of fun within the theme design.

    Branding concept 2: "Drupal University" a place to learn. Hiring university facilities could play a part in setting the theme. We could have a "time-table" with different "lecturers" presenting classes which could have university themed names, like "Views 101". Many smaller sessions instead of very large ones. This might be silly, but "lectureres" could wear a university cap, the types you get when you graduate (in Drupal colours with Drupal logo). The DrupalCon website could include typical University type paraphernalia, like a green chalk board, uni insignia, campus type look.

    If the London wins the nomination for 2011, we will develop further branding ideas, and build the conference around one, carrying the branding into the design of the website and literature.


    Scorecard: Proposal includes space/infrastructure for BOFs, multiple presentation tracks, trade fair.

    For most conferences, the key reason why people attend is to meet other attendees. We will make this core to the conference, ensuring that there are many opportunities to connect, both casual and formal. We envisage that small sessions like BOF's will be a core part of the conference; we will make hands-on a part of the conference; and we will organise sessions so that people have to interact - giving preference to sessions which encourage this.

    Our initial concept for the conference structure is to have two parts: each day would have a focus, for example: Drupal in Publishing, Drupal in Education, Drupal in NGOs, and Drupal as a Platform might be the focus for each day. That focus would be self-contained. So there would be Drupal 101 on each day for newbies. People would be able to buy tickets to these particular days, at a price that is more than 1/5 the whole-conference ticket. By doing this we hope to capture audience with specific interests.

    At the same time, running across all the focus days, we would run events for Drupal for Designers and Developers. Some of these sessions would be interwoven with Focus day sessions. Others would be independent.

    We envisage that we will have associated sub-events - for instance a trade fair for Drupal companies, and would let visitors enter the fair without necessarilly purchasing a ticket, so that the fair can be used to talk to potential customers. We would also hold 'open to the public' events in this room.

    We hope to be able to have representatives from other CMS systems talking - to have a 'What can we learn from others' stream for Designers and developers, with speakers representing Wordpress, Joomla, Microsoft, and several other major CMS's. The aim would be to have a comparison with Drupal of what they do and how they work.

    We will explore the possiblity of a recruitment fair, but would want to use a format unlike Paris.

    Compared to Paris, we hope to have many more parallel sessions, in smaller rooms, with different speakers talking to similar topics. You could expect to see two Views talks on at once. We think this could make the conference more intimate, despite the larger number of people attending.

    An environmentally friendly conference

    Scorecard: Proposal includes "green stuff": public transport, short (walking) distances, rail connections from airport(s) and so on. Innovative concepts for "greening" cons higly encouraged.

      We will approach Greenpeace UK to act as advisors and are open to inovation.

      Families & spouse activity

      As you would expect from a international city, London contains a wealth of activities for families and Drupal-spouses. The city abounds with world-famous museums, restaurants, shops, art galleries and parks. Whether it's a boat ride from the London Eye to the Tower of London, a visit to the British Museum, window shopping in Bond Street, or a picnic in Regent's Park London has something for everyone.

      We will gauge demand for day-care facilities for young children and aim to have a on-site creche. It should be noted though that the UK has very strict laws relating to childcare and a specialist company will have to be employed to provide this service.

      Hospitality and social programming

      Scorecard: Location has nice local attractions

      London is one of the world's tourist hotspots, with thousands of visitor attractions and a massive range of entertainment, ranging from the ultra-modern London Eye ferris wheel,with its amazing views over the capital, to the ancient artifacts on display in the British Museum; from the numerous world-famous West End Shows to the smaller attractions of huge variety of London markets each with its own character.

      West End theatre:
      There are about 40 theatres in West End. Some of long running shows include:
      - The Mousetrap (56th year)
      - Les Misérables (24th year)
      - The Phantom of the Opera (23rd year)

      London nightlife is buzzing, every day of the week, and with such a huge range of possibilities, Drupalcon could have a range of social activities, and could receive discount for bulk registrations.

      The South Bank:
      - Royal Festival Hall
      - National Theatre
      - The London Eye
      - BFI IMAX Cinema

      Cultural diversity:

      London also has a very diverse community, In race, culture, fashion etc.
      - Brick Lane: High concentration of Bangladeshi with vibrant art and fashion student area
      - Brixton: High concentration of Afro-Caribbean with lively market and concert venues
      - Camden Town - The home of diverse fashion, a beautiful Canal, the goth and hippy communities. Camden features a fantastic market that sells food and alternative clothing.

      - China Town - High concentration of chinese/asian people and restaurants

      There are also over 240 museums in London

      • British Museum
      • National History Museum
      • Science Museum
      • Design Museum


      Other attractions:

      • Big Ben
      • Kew Garden



      Scorecard: Venue can support 1500-2000 people

      London has numerous venues which are suitable for Drupalcon, and can handle events of any size. London is a hub for international conferences, and there are numerous suppliers for all equipment and resource needs.

      London venue examples

      DrupalUK has briefly investigated the following possibilities, but there are many more options which have not been explored:

      These locations have spaces which are able to hold all attendees for keynote sessions. If the plenaries can be split by venue or repeated, then there are many more options, chiefly Universities, some with residential possibilities. For instance:

      Scorecard: Accessible in terms of "barrier free" for all

      The UK requires all public venues to be accessible to disabled users, with the exception of some historic buildings. All modern conference centres will be accessible.


      Scorecard: Venue is close to hotels and restaurants

      London is a tourist city and is gearing up for the 2012 Olympics, according to figures produced in support of the Olympic bid, there were more than 70,000 three to five star hotel rooms within 10 kilometres of Central London in 2003 ( In addition, London is well known for it's excellent restaurants, there are more Michelin-rated restaurants in London than in any other city except for Paris. Our favoured Southbank venue has several restaurants and cafes as part of the complex.


      At this early stage, it is not possible to give an outline budget, but this topic is critical to the success of an event and cannot be ignored. Building an outline budget would be one of our next tasks should London be accepted.

      Regarding admission price:
      We expect to have more than 1 ticket type, so that it's possible to buy tickets per day or for the whole event. Different days might have different price points. Possible price points £99 per day and £250 for the week - but this is in part dependent on the venue chosen.


      At this stage, we envisage one of the first weeks of September: after European holiday month and before colleges go back so we can get student accommodation.


      Notes on Location

      DrupalUK considered two locations for Drupalcon: Cambridge and London.

      Drupalcon held in Cambridge would have an intimate Drupaltown feeling. It was strongly considered, but was rejected as unsuitable because the conference would not have been able to be located in one building: the largest venue holds only 1,462 people in theatre style. Other adjacent and nearby buildings would have to have been used for overflow and for non-plenary sessions. Venues are available for Sep 2010 and Sep 2011. Contracts are individual, but are able to be organised together through a central body representing most Cambridge venues. Accommodation in university quarters could also be arranged through the same body and is available for both 2010 and 2011.

      Notes on Date

      DrupalUK considered 2010 and 2011. The majority felt that 2010 was not viable due to most of the team having professional and personal commitment over the coming months that couldn't be re-scheduled or only being available for a limited time as volunteers. It was suggested that if some volunteers with experience of event organisation were paid to take on their roles as full time staff it might be possible to organise a UK Drupalcon in London for 2010.


      PDF version

      Jeff Veit's picture

      Attached is the submission in PDF version.

      This version differs slightly from the official version above.


      • Cleaned up the Table of Contents
      • Some headings from the end (Finances & Date) moved into their proper place - as part of discussion of the conference
      • Formatting on scorecard notes fixed
      • Corrected the venue size of QE2 - it is able to hold 1,300 in a single-room plenary. Not 3,000. If all rooms are used at once, it can hold in excess of 3,000 in theatre layout.

      It is possible some last minute cleanup changes were made to the official version, which do not appear in this version. For the avoidance of doubt: the official nomination is made above. This is provided for ease-of-reading only.

      Organizing team addition

      adub's picture

      Stewart Robinson from The Economist has also joined the organizing team today.

      Count me in

      dikini's picture

      The last five years I've been involved to a different degree in the organisation of 15+ mostly academic conferences.

      I could help with :

      • Branding
      • Conference programming
      • Speaker recruitment and scheduling
      • Web site

      I probably could help in other areas, but it is too early at the moment to say one way or another. Just count me in.

      Designing the program

      Jeff Veit's picture

      In the UK bid IRC meeting, we were questioned on this statement from the proposal "At the same time, running across all the focus days, we would run events for Drupal for Designers and Developers. Some of these sessions would be interwoven with Focus day sessions. Others would be independent."

      I undertook to draw a diagram to explain a bit more.

      The attachment shows threads of interest at drupalcon, each a different colour. The black circles show some of the sessions that run along that thread. As much as possible, we will try to have items that are of interest to more than one sort of participant - which is why most the talks occur at intersections. Talk number one is an exception - it's a talk just for beginners. It's in the top half, which has a background of light blue, to indicate talks and meetings which have relevance to the day's focus. These also have relevance to people who are not especially interested in the focus, whereas talks in the bottom half don't have special focus relevance.

      The grey line shows time of day. Each thread of interest has at least one event in each slot. We may have more than one relevant event running at once along a thread - people with knowledge to share are an important audience too. So for instance we could run a second session on the beginner thread - in the same time slot - which has no special relevance to the day's focus.

      Another feature of this schedule is that we want to provide forums for people to meet. The coffee meetup is an example - not quite a BOF, but a chance for themers to chat.

      I've filled in some possible sessions in the first hour of the day. The second hour should have sessions for each thread too. And so on. At least one hour would be devoted to keynote.

      The second day would follow a similar pattern with a different focus - for instance if the focus for the day was Drupal for Publishing, then we would expect some case studies to come from the publishing industry. We would expect to run a 'Drupal 101 for Publishing' on this day too, and some introductory sessions with relevance to design and coding for publishers.

      Of course it's possible to have events that appeal to more than two threads. This diagram doesn't have a good way to show these, but it's the best way I can come up with to give an idea of what we meant by interweaving sessions.

      We would probably not show the event program to attendees in this format - it's just intended to explain the concept of weaving sessions, and doesn't add much for attendees.


      adub's picture

      That helped a lot. Here's a more conventional remix which carries a bit of extra location info. (Uses the same key as yours)

      leontong.brightlemon's picture

      Hi Guys

      Missed the initial discussion - apologies been very busy ever since DrupalCon Paris - suddenly everyone and his dog wants a social network platform - would be more than willing to help in whatever way possible - and more than just sponsoring drinks...

      For the venue I'm sure it would be feasible to negotiate use of a location gratis on a sponsorship basis - particularly from an academic institution during the holidays/outside of term time.

      Perhaps we could discuss more at the upcoming Drupal London event - Drupal for Marketing?



      Jeff Veit's picture

      Here is a very useful overview of what to do to towards a carbon neutral or minimum carbon conference.. Hopefully this advice will help both the winners.

      Would love to be involved :)

      kae76's picture

      I will be attending the London meetup on the 23rd sept, am keen to find out more


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