Recipe for a good fringe

Over the last two weeks, H+Kers have been attending numerous fringe events at the Labour and Conservative conferences - some great, some less so. Based on these experiences, we have rummaged through the conference centre store cupboard to find the ingredients for a great fringe event.


3x panellists, ideally including a politician and a commentator. Try to find 3 panellists with different views - people who think exactly the same thing makes for a plain panel. Make sure to mix in some tricky questions alongside opening thoughts.

60x seats with good padding, spread with enough room so that people can stretch their legs, squeeze in and out, and far enough apart not be touching their neighbour

1x room, with window and mid-level lighting. Too dark and it's miserable, too bright and you'll dazzle the audience - not in a good way.

1x clear hashtag for people to discuss the event on social media

short comments from the sponsor - sometimes sponsors can add a lot to the discussion, but if they are just there to host then comments if they must be made should be kept short.

Red and white wine (gin and tonics optional to add an extra kick)

Sweet and savoury snacks (this recipe is better off without sad sandwiches) 

Heat at 20 degrees, avoiding excessive use of a hot or cold fan

Cook for an hour, making sure not to keep it in for any longer. We have found that panels cooked between 4-6.30pm tend to have the tastiest results.

If the above recipe doesn't seem to work for you then try mixing it up a bit. Our conference goers especially liked the Dragon's Den format trialed last year by Policy Exchange. It adds some more flavour to the mix of events.

By Charlotte Nathan

Chris Pratt

Hill & Knowlton Strategies Search