Marmalade 2020: Programme Principles for Hosts

This guide is designed to help you host a session at Marmalade 2020. It includes information about Marmalade, information about practicalities and how to access additional support to host a great session.

If you have any questions about this information or would like to discuss further, please get in touch with Sara at

We look forward to hearing from you regarding your session!

Becs, Jeremy & Sara

About Marmalade 2020

Marmalade is an inclusive platform for social change. It is hosted by Arts at the Old Fire Station in partnership with Oxford Hub from the 31st of March to the 3rd of April.  

We believe that relationships are the foundation for social change - relationships within organisations, across organisations, and between people with different amounts of power - including those whose voices are rarely heard.

At Marmalade 2020 we want to build on the work we started last year, hosting conversations that deepen existing relationships and build new ones. Our aim is to support people and organisations to build trust and capacity for collaboration, in order to bring about sustainable impact.

We are the fringe event to the internationally renowned Skoll World Forum, but we are particularly interested in how Marmalade can help strengthen relationships locally. By hosting international, national and local projects we want to showcase what is possible in our City. We are also excited about showcasing initiatives which are tackling complex challenges through strong local relationships.

At Marmalade 2020 you can expect a diverse set of sessions, activities and an engaging arts programme that will enable you to connect with others to bring about positive social change.

About our 2020 themes

This year we continue to build on the focus of Marmalade 2019, with three main themes which we hope will inform both content and, more importantly, session design:

-          Relationships: Marmalade is an opportunity to explore how relationships can help us achieve positive social change – connecting within organisations, across different organisations and in the wider ecosystem. We are looking for sessions that will contribute to build new relationships and deepen existing ones.

-          Power: we want to acknowledge the different amounts of power and explore the challenges of power relationships in social change. We hope that sessions will bring together people with different amounts of power and help distribute it.

-          Place: we are the fringe event to the international Skoll World Forum, but we are rooted in our community all year round. We want to help Oxford City and the wider county connect with national and international insights, while enabling them to drive change locally. We are looking for sessions which will be relevant to our community. 

Session hosting principles

As a new approach this year, we want to emphasise to hosts that sessions are particularly useful if they fit with their organisation’s strategic plans, or they are deriving some value from the session itself. Hosts may use their session to test different plans, co-design new products or launch something new. We want sessions to be meaningful and have a legacy beyond the Marmalade 2020.

When thinking about the design of your session, we ask that you bear these hosting principles in mind:

-          Being fully present – we hope that hosts will choose to engage with Marmalade as a whole, beyond their session. This is an opportunity to connect with others, build relationships and have fun. The arts programme around Marmalade is designed to create a buzz around session and build bridges amongst people that wouldn’t have connected otherwise.

-          Free to attend, pay to present – in line with our approach for the last 9 years, we ask that hosts make a financial contribution in order to support Marmalade. Contributions range depending on the financial means of hosts, and we don’t want this to put anyone off. Talk to us about what you may be able to contribute. In 2019, hosts contributed from £100 to £2000, depending on their ability to support the event.

-          Collaboration & co-facilitation – we always have more session hosts than spaces available at Marmalade. This means that as part of programme curation we may suggest you join forces with someone else. We also encourage you to share power and think about how you may bring co-production principles to your session or invite others to be part of session design.

Based on these principles, we suggest some additional practical parameters:

-          For sessions to be meaningful, we recommend a minimum duration of 2 hours, although we encourage you to consider hosting for at least half a day. This will enable you to get some real work done.

-          We’re encouraging people away from purely ‘sharing’ sessions where possible, as we know these sessions are less engaging for attendees. This means less talking to a powerpoint, more doing and building during the sessions.

Support available

-          Venue logistics. As part of our support for your session, we will arrange a room and associated logistics as part of the event. We ask that you provide details about any specific needs you may have, and we will endeavour to accommodate them as much as possible.

-          Session design. We are able to help review session design, provide feedback and suggestions, in order to ensure you are confident in implementing some of the Marmalade 2020 design principles.

-          Support with outreach. Hosts will be doing their own outreach for the session, and the Marmalade team will be available to support with outreach, particularly focusing on the Oxfordshire network, in order to continue to build our place focus for the event.

-          Immersive and experiential opportunities. By this point you are hopefully thinking outside the box with regards to the design of your session. We will be hosting a range of immersive experiences outside of sessions but get in touch with us if you want to bring some of those into your session too!

Next Steps

-          In order to confirm that you want to host a session, you need to fill in the registration form with all details about your event.

-          The sooner you submit the session, the more likely it is we can host you at Marmalade 2020 and the more publicity we can do for your event!

-          All sessions need to be submitted by the 10th of December.

For additional help or if you have any questions regarding this information, get in touch with Sara –