#UnseenUnheard Conference Generates Massive Interest on Social Media

  • 11 Sep 2017

Unseen, Unheard: Advancing the Rights & Needs of Children With a Parent in Prison

When Dr Fiona Donson and Dr Aisling Parkes began planning the Unseen, Unheard conference, they hoped to raise “awareness of the need to develop a national and cross-sectoral approach to supporting children with a parent in prison”.

Funded by the Irish Research Council and working in partnership with the Children’s Rights Alliance and the Irish Penal Reform Trust, Dr Donson and Dr Parkes placed digital media at the heart of their communications strategy.

From the outset, Dr Donson and Dr Parkes were active on Twitter publicising the conference and used Eventbrite to allow those interested in attending register well in advance.


Aided by an emotive illustration created by a graphic designer and a short 10 second video highlighting the conference timetable, their social media campaign continued throughout August and into September.

Indeed, both Donson and Parkes generated a high level of interest and engagement long before the conference was scheduled to take place.


Having already established the event’s presence on Twitter using #UnseenUnheard, conference participants were prepared to engage on social media throughout the event itself.

For many observers, this was particularly fascinating, as the discourse spilled over from the event floor and onto social media.

Consequently, with the help of Ph. D student, Samantha Williams - who managed the conference Twitter account, @UnseenUnheard17 - event organisers enabled #UnseenUnheard trend for 13 hours.

In fact, such was the level engagement, the hashtag was Ireland’s most popular at midday.


For this, a great deal of credit must go to Donson and Parkes, along with the Children’s Rights Alliance and the Irish Penal Reform Trust, particularly as U2 released their new single on the same day and football fans were continuing to trawl over Ireland’s defeat to Serbia.

Indeed, such was the interest in the conference, the Irish Times, Irish Examiner and Irish Legal news reported on the event.




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