Briggate Leeds City Centre. Photograph taken by Hannah Webster

If you are thinking of visiting Leeds city centre soon then take a look at these fantastic web pages with everything you need to know to keep safe in the city and lots of ideas for things to do.
Leeds BID welcome us #BackToLeeds with lots of clear and helpful guidance for safety; plus updates and information about everything from travel and car parking to museums and restaurants.

Visit Leeds encourage us to be tourists in our own city, enjoy what’s on our doorstep and #RediscoverLeeds. They have lots of ideas from self-guided tours, browsing quirky independent shops and sipping cocktails with city views.

 

Screenshot of the MEETtheTEAM blogs

Proud to be MEETinLEEDS

From lockdown the team adjusted to working from home, prioritised their client contact and made staying in touch with each other a non-negotiable.  As lockdown was eased they worked to support our onsite teams, focus on the reopening of our buildings and services alongside our University colleagues, and again staying in touch remained a non-negotiable.  As we start to look at the return to campus members of the team are supporting other services offering their enviable customer service and organisation skills to ensure  that even through uncertainty they can offer a reassuring and kind hand. Again, throughout this staying in touch remains a non-negotiable.

Throughout this entire period the teams commitment and support of each other has been extraordinary. To find out more about this amazing team I am so very proud of have a look at our MEETtheTEAM team bios. Visit the MEETinLEEDS blog page.

Arch by the Great Hall

Who knew that when we left the office on 20th March that we would still be relying on our laptops and home Wi-Fi connections? Our business development Manager, Emma, has had a lot of time to think about what we miss about our everyday pre-Covid lives that we once took for granted. Our wonderful campus has certainly made Emma’s list of things to miss, and there are lots of reasons why.

Frothy Coffee & Hibiscus Tea

Meetings are always better with a cappuccino or a fancy tea! The chances are if you’ve met me about bidding for a conference or for a tour of our venues then we will have stopped for a coffee along the way. Making a cup of instant and sitting in front of your webcam just isn’t the same. We are spoilt for choice at the University. With 16 cafes across campus, it’s hard to pick a favourite. On a rainy day you can get cosy in the Edit Room, Loma or Affine, and when the sun is out I love sitting in the University precinct with a coffee from Hugo, our camionnette café, or for somewhere a little less lively the courtyard at Baines Wing café with views of the beautiful Great Hall building is a good choice. If you are having a meeting on campus, a delegate attending a conference on campus, or just passing through, there are plenty of options for coffee, tea or a bite to eat!

The never ending student experience

Okay, so it may have been a few years since I was mistaken for a student but I do still love that student atmosphere that you can only get on a University campus. Every Monday the University precinct is home to a farmers market selling fresh and local produce. We also get to enjoy brass bands, free pizza and pop up plant stalls throughout the year. Carol singers and Santa and his snow gun make an appearance in December too. There always seems to be something taking place and it makes for a fantastic atmosphere!

conference delegates outside building

Hitting my step count

I can’t be the only one that has noticed how hard it is to hit 10,000 steps a day whilst working remotely? We are so lucky to have our beautiful campus, Woodhouse Moor on the doorstep and even a public art trail to take advantage of on lunch breaks – or walking meetings! Giving regular tours of our conference venues usually makes for an impressive step count too – if you’ve been on a tour of multiple venues with me you will know why I always recommend ditching the heels and coming in flats!

Read more about the University event app. Photography of Clothworkers Court

Getting my nails done and spontaneous after work pints

Now it just sounds like I’m showing off. We have so many facilities and services on campus which are amazing for staff, students and visitors. Many of which can be incorporated or used as part of the conferences we host on campus too. It’s a long list and includes: bike rental, libraries, visitor accommodation, event management services, fitness centre, swimming pool, climbing wall, child care, bars, nightclubs, cafes, hairdresser and beauticians, Amazon lockers and Click and Collect points, a bank, opticians, printing and design facilities, museums and galleries including my favourite – The Marks and Spencer’s Archive!

Shop till you drop lunch breaks

We are lucky to have so much on campus, but we can’t forget that we are within walking distance of Leeds city centre too. It’s almost too convenient to run into town and back at lunch time to buy that dress you’ve been eyeing up. I’m a massive fan of our city and I’m very proud to call it home – take a look at the Visit Leeds website and you will see why. It’s hard to describe Leeds in one paragraph but our friends at Visit Leeds have given it a good shot:

The unofficial capital of Yorkshire. A city at the heart of the action, bursting with life and cultural energy. A vibrant creative community, with award-winning national theatre and dance companies, a world-class arena, and a thriving independent food scene you won’t find anywhere else. A renowned retail destination, where big brands meet Victorian arcades. And a welcoming host for international sporting events, colourful carnivals, and a packed calendar of festivals and events. A skyline filled with breathtaking architecture, and a destination easily reached by road, rail and air. We are many things. We are Leeds.

My work family

It’s a bit unfair that this one is at the bottom of the list as it is probably what I miss the most! I miss our daily debates about whose turn it is to make coffee, debriefs of the latest Netflix show and full details of what everyone is having for dinner – every day of the week. I’m sat writing this from my freshly decorated “lock down project” home office, which is great – but anyone that knows me knows that sitting in silence isn’t really my thing, and I cannot wait for some more human interaction! I’ve always known how lucky we are to have such a great team, we’ve supported each other through bad times and celebrated the good (any excuse for cake!) and we have laughed together – a lot. Not to mention the extensive shared experience and knowledge that we have when we are all together under one roof.

Read more about the University event app. Photography of Clothworkers Court

MEETinLEEDS has worked in collaboration with the School of Languages, Cultures and Societies to host a virtual version of the 4th Arabic Linguistics Forum (ALiF 2020), 30th June – 2nd July on the new University of Leeds Event App.
ALiF 2020 was initially to be held on campus however due to the outbreak of Covid-19, MEETinLEEDS’ assistance was sought to manage and produce an online version of the event. The virtual forum was comprised of 5 keynote lectures, 60 presentations and 10 Q&A sessions. The format is a mixture of pre-recorded videos made available on youtube and live sessions hosted on Blackboard Collaborate. The Q&A sessions offer an opportunity for live interaction and discussion on the pre-recorded content.

To provide a central “meeting place” in which attendees can browse and select their own programme, view presentations, access virtual meeting rooms, message fellow attendees, view speaker information and network, the Aventri platform was used. The platform is an app, available for apple and android products. It is also possible to access the app as a website.

Arabic Linguistics Forum (ALiF 2020) logo

The conference was expected to attract 60 – 70 attendees, however over 160 people have participated in the event, with nearly 50% of attendees joining internationally.

Harriet Boatwright, Sales and Marketing Manager at MEETinLEEDS, commented:

“It has been great to work alongside the organising team for ALiF2020.  The agility the team showed in pivoting last minute to a virtual space was fantastic. Whilst a fully virtual conference is the safest and most accessible option at this moment in time, we very much look forward to offering a blended conference experience in the coming months – combining all that is great about a physical conference with the undoubtable benefits of a virtual offer.”

Feedback from the event has been excellent, with the committee praising both the organisation of the event and the technology used to support its delivery.

MEETinLEEDS' virtual exhibition stand at MEETGB virtual even

Last week we exhibited at MeetGB Virtual – a virtual exhibition in place of a live event we were due to attend this year in Wales.
Given the current circumstances the live event could not go ahead, so MeetGB Virtual was an excellent opportunity to showcase The University of Leeds conference and meeting facilities and services to planners for their future events. We were able to connect with companies, associations and event organisers from across the UK, Europe and North America – all without leaving the house!

Over 60 UK destinations, venues and suppliers exhibited including our friends at our local conference bureau, ConferenceLeeds, who were flying the flag for our amazing city and speaking about how hosting a conference in Leeds means you will experience the exceptional.

The platform took on a similar format to a live exhibition – a theatre space for the welcome presentation, a networking lounge and an exhibition floor full of stands to browse. We thought it was a really engaging experience for attendees and a great platform to forge valuable business relationships whilst we are unable to meet in person. Attendees seemed impressed too, and in particular loved the videos on the different stands describing them as the next best thing to visiting the cities and venues around the UK in person.

MEETinLEEDS' virtual exhibition stand at MEETGB virtual even

A reflection for me, post event, is that when you meet in person the conversation can feel more natural – being able to read facial expressions and body language is second nature and this can be difficult in a virtual environment. There was, however, the benefit that you could chat with anyone at any time rather than only when people are walking by your booth, as would be the case at a face-to-face exhibition. I also found it really useful to be able to share specific information instantly and easily, particularly when speaking with associations and societies where there was a connection with our research and expertise at the University of Leeds. I was able to share key information and web links as part of the conversation.

It is fantastic that Visit Britain pulled this online event together so quickly, supporting the conference and events industry on our road to recovery. It was great to make new connections virtually and we look forward to meeting you face to face in the future when it is safe to do so. There is nothing quite like meeting in person to showcase our amazing destinations, venues, experiences and hospitality we have on offer in the UK.

The Great Hall at the University of Leeds

The University of Leeds has moved up two places in the latest QS world university global rankings, consolidating its place in the top 100.
Here at MEETinLEEDS we are very proud of the part we play in encouraging global engagement through international conference activity and in 2019 were proud to have welcomed, among many other conferences, the 16thEuropean Symposium on Comminution and Classification, 45th Annual Conference of the European International Business Academy, 16th International Conference on the Economics of Grids, Clouds, Systems and Services and the 11th Conference of the International Society for First World War Studies.

Notably, Leeds also hosted the MIT Regional Enterpreurship Acceleration Proragmme (MIT REP) in January, with visitors across the world seeing how first-hand how the university and the region inspires innovation.

Read more about the University’s success.