University Square MarqueeThe University’s campus is alive with visitors from far and wide during the summer months, attracted by the numerous conferences and events that are hosted by MEETinLEEDS.

“Contrary to the idea that the University is quiet from late June to mid-September, it’s an incredibly busy time for us,” says Harriet Boatwright from MEETinLEEDS. “This year, the summer conference season saw over 25,000 people attend conference and events activities on campus, and an equal number of ‘bed nights’ spent on campus and Devonshire Hall.

“MEETinLEEDS are here to help our schools and faculties attract and deliver exceptional conferences, and we can offer full facilities and expert support – whatever’s needed, we’ll do our best to make sure it happens.”

This year’s events included the British Neuro-Oncology Society conference; Crystal Growth of Organic Materials 2016; the International Kansei Engineering & Emotion Research Conference; Think Ahead – the new fast-track programme for exceptional graduates to become mental health social workers; the Communication Matters National AAC Conference (CM2016); WES – the Work, Employment and Society Conference – and, of course, the International Medieval Congress (IMC). Have a peek at the short video of the “Battle of the Vikings”, which took place as part of the IMC “Making Leeds Medieval” event. A variety of educational engagement activities and summer schools also took place.

Teach First“Some of the statistics are amazing and will give people an idea of the scale of the events we have,” continues Harriet. “During the IMC we provided 4,000 breakfasts, 1,100 lunches, 940 evening meals, and drink receptions for over 1,000 people. The Teach First event – which we hosted in partnership with Leeds Beckett University and First Direct Arena – saw over 4,300 attendees visit Leeds over two days.”

The MEETinLEEDS team has one big, final conference to organise before the academic year begins. “We’ll be welcoming 800 delegates to the British Education Research Association (BERA) conference in mid-September,” says Harriet. “BERA is a member-led charity that champions the best of educational research and aims to build momentum within and beyond the field. The three-day conference attract around 1,000 national and international delegates representing a wide range of academics, policy makers and practitioners, all with a strong interest in educational research. I’m sure that some colleagues from the University will be attending.”

ORGANISING A LARGE CONFERENCE?