We’re very pleased to announce that the University has acquired a new city centre conference and meeting venue, Cloth Hall Court.
Cloth Hall Court has a very well established reputation as one of the best conference and meeting venues in Leeds. Offering a range of spaces including an impressive reception, multiple seminar rooms and break out areas, and ideally located in the heart of Leeds city centre opposite the train station, Cloth Hall Court will enable the University’s MEETin LEEDS team to provide an entirely new platform for meeting and conference organisers.
Harriet Boatwright, Sales and Marketing Manager at MEETinLEEDS, commented: “We’re thrilled to be welcoming Cloth Hall Court to our roster of venues, and look forward to developing business at the venue and showcasing all that it has to offer”
Dennis Hopper, Director of Campus Development, commented: “The University of Leeds’ conference team pride themselves on high levels of customer service, putting customers at the heart of what they do, and Cloth Hall Court will complement our existing venue portfolio as well as helping to forge new links between the University, the City and our business partners. We are looking forward to working with existing and new customers.”
The Merchants’ Hall in Cloth Hall Court
Over the past 12 months, all of the team here at MEETinLEEDS have been working hard to make sure that we’re delivering our very best with every single conference, and going above and beyond meeting the needs of our customers.
As 2019 draws to an end, we reflect over some of our most unique and busiest conferences, that have not only made huge impacts within their respective industries, but have also offered pivotal learning opportunities for team to learn and develop from.
Students focus on Sustainability
Kicking off 2019 with a positive start, we were delighted to support an event that saw students unite over the Leeds Student Sustainability Research Conference. Welcoming over 200 attendees, the conference showcased the latest research in cross-disciplinary sustainability studies, as well as offering the opportunity for like-minded students to network and discuss.
Not only was this conference a wonderful opportunity for students to get involved with sustainability research, but the event also perfectly aligns with the University of Leeds’ ongoing strategic commitment to sustainability.
Taking a step back in time with the International Medieval Congress
As the largest humanities congress held across the EU and the largest in medieval studies all over the world, we thoroughly enjoyed welcoming the International Medieval Congress (IMC) onto campus for its 26th year. By working closely with academics within the University of Leeds, we welcomed over 2,000 delegates from across 66 different countries, and brought together medieval experts for a series of discussions, demonstrations and debates. The public were also invited to get involved on its final day, which saw a medieval market serving historically inspired street food, a full medieval craft fair and medieval demonstrations taking place.
Summer school for teachers with Teach First Summer Institute
Marking its sixth time in the city, Teach First Summer Institute was a wonderful conference which welcomed over 1,700 trainee teachers, who were all due to start training in schools serving disadvantaged communities across England and Wales. Not only was the conference a fantastic chance for teachers to get together and kickstart the two-year Teach First Training programme, but it also offered a great opportunity for us to work as part of a city-wide collaboration. This involved working closely with our partnership organisers including First Direct Arena and Leeds Beckett University, as well as collaborating with wider stakeholders including LeedsBID, Conference Leeds, Leeds City Council, and many university accommodation providers, to enhance a city-wide approach to the event.
As the University of Leeds’ Positive Impact Partner, we were delighted to support Communication Matters with the UK’s leading annual Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) Conference for the seventh year. Welcoming over 430 delegates from 19 countries, including as far as Japan, the USA and Denmark, the AAC offered a unique forum for representatives to meet and exchange information, including AAC users, parents, personal assistants, professionals and more.
This conference also presented our team with the perfect opportunity to go one step further in the preparation process, by undertaking important face-to-face training with the aim of helping trainees identify ‘good communication’. This event was a perfect demonstration of how we’re able to work in partnership with our conference organisers, whilst providing the best customer experience possible.
We were also extremely proud to support Communication Matters’ very first AAC awards ceremony, which was an evening dedicated to celebrating those within the AAC sector who have made honourable and inspiring contributions to the industry.
Internal successes and celebrations
Conferences and events are what makes us tick, but we wouldn’t have had such a successful year without our incredible team behind us. This year, we were delighted to welcome multiple new starters onto our team who will be enhancing our expertise in digitalisation, internationalisation and sales. This not only extends our offering, but also means that we’re able to further meet the needs of our organisers to the highest possible standard.
What’s more, this year we were also delighted to have been awarded the Customer Service Excellence® standard award as part of the University of Leeds’ Commercial and Campus Support Services, as well as achieving the Best Accessibility award at Academic Venue Awards.
Here’s to looking back on 2019 and going forward to an even more successful 2020!
This year marked the third edition of the prestigious Academic Venue Awards, specifically crafted to bring together the best of the industry to share knowledge and highlight excellence that has been achieved over the last 12 months. The Academic Venue Conference and Awards took place on the afternoon of Friday 22nd November at the Victory Services Club in London.
Our team was recognised for ensuring that our academic venues are inclusive and accessible to all, taking home the 2019 Best Accessibility Award for the third year in a row. An event this year that best demonstrates the performance and versatility of our facility space was the Communication Matters National AAC Conference, which took place in September. This marks the 8th year that MEETinLEEDS has hosted the conference on campus, showcasing how the team continue to work closely with the organisers to meet their needs. The conference is the UK’s leading annual AAC event, with a diverse programme of plenaries, presentations and exhibitions held over two and a half days. What’s more, in preparation for the conference, the team at MEETinLEEDS all undertook important face-to-face training with the aim of helping trainees identify ‘good communication’. This award also follows the Early Adopter status for the Communication Access symbol that MEETinLEEDS were awarded with last year; a symbol dedicated to indicating spaces that are accessible for people with communication difficulties.
Harriet Boatwright, Sales and Marketing Manager at MEETinLEEDS, commented: “We are absolutely thrilled to have been recognised for the hard work and dedication of our teams over the last 12 months with the Best Accessibility award. Our customers are our inspiration and they closely work with us, and with our wider teams, to ensure that we deliver facilities and services that enhance their delegates’ experience. The Academic Venues Awards provides a great opportunity to highlight the fantastic work taking place across academic venues, and we’re extremely proud to sit alongside our friends from across the sector. “
Ian Robertson, Director of Residential and Catering services commented: “Winning this award recognises our commitment to providing equal and excellent service for our conference visitors. Team members in the Facilities Directorate should be very proud of the work that they do to tailor services to meet the individual needs of different service users”.
Communication Matters, the national charity which is part of the International Society for Augmentative and Alternative Communication (ISAAC), marks their 30th year at their Annual Conference which will be held at the University of Leeds from Sunday 11th – Tuesday 13th September 2016.
Communication Matters National AAC Conference (CM2016) is the leading annual Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) event and sees over 400 attendees come together to partake in workshops, talks and learn about advances in technology and research. The conference provides an opportunity for representatives from all disciplines associated with AAC to hear about and be part of the latest developments in the field. Platform and poster presentations will cover the areas of Best Practice Research, Clinical & Professional Experience and Personal Stories & Preferences. The conference will open with a 30th Anniversary Tea Party with music from Jive Duo, a Leeds-based Jazz duo, followed by the CM’s Got Talent Final with three competing video performances.
MEETinLEEDS, the conference office for the University of Leeds, will be providing event space for the conference, including the supplier exhibition which will be held in Parkinson Court. The University is also providing accommodation at the University’s flagship campus accommodation, Storm Jameson Court halls of residence which carries the highest possible accreditation under all categories of the National Accessible Scheme (NAS), with 20 fully accessible bedrooms (and the Gold Award for Sustainable Green Tourism).
The keynote speakers at this year’s conference are AAC user and international best-selling author of Ghost Boy, Martin Pistorius, and Dr Angharad Beckett, Associate Professor of Political Sociology and Deputy Director of the Centre for Disability Studies at the University of Leeds. In addition to the educational and exhibition elements of the conference, each year the Alan Martin Award is made to an AAC user who has made a significant contribution to the Creative Arts. The Award, first presented in 2013 was established to honour and commemorate Alan Martin who worked for the inclusion of all people within the arts regardless of their disability.
The conference is now into its fourth year at the university, with the charity’s main office being based in Leeds since 2015. The charity is now looking to encourage local AAC users to become members of Communication Matters. They are also looking for interest from both the public and private sectors in the city to become involved in and support initiatives such as the ‘Communication Access for All’ project, where CM will train local businesses in appropriate interactions with AAC users.
Speaking ahead of CM2016, Ruth Mcmorran, Deputy Chair of Communication Matters said:
“Communication Matters is looking forward to holding our annual conference at the University of Leeds in September 2016 for the fourth time. The layout of the campus at Leeds is ideal for us with the residential accommodation, refectory, exhibition area, lecture theatres and seminar rooms all located close together. Many of our delegates are wheelchair users and the site is easily navigated and provides accessible routes to all buildings. The MEETinLEEDS team work extremely hard to ensure that each conference is better than the one before.”
Harriet Boatwright, Sales and Marketing Manager at University of Leeds commented:
“Working alongside Communication Matters for the last 4 years has given MEETinLEEDS the opportunity to embrace and understand the specific requirements of the conference and the delegates in attendance.
The nature of the campus and flexibility of the venues is such that each year we are able to map out a conference site that meets the needs of the event and offers an exceptional space to host the attendees of the event, who we are delighted to have as a regular visitors to the University of Leeds.“
The 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.
“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?
On the 1st and 2nd February MEETinLEEDS welcomed the Society of Evidence Based Policing to the University of Leeds for the SEBP 2016 Winter Conference.
The event, “Policing: Evidence as the Driver for Change”, saw the society, which is made up of police officers, police staff, and research professionals discuss how to raise awareness of, advocate and implement evidence based methodology part of everyday policing in the UK.
The main sessions were hosted in the Great Hall, our prestigious venue which focus for the University’s ceremonial activities. Parkinson Court provided the arena for catering and exhibition stands, including the key conference sponsor Axon Public Safety.
MEETinLEEDS worked alongside Clifford Stott, Principal Research Fellow at the University of Leeds School of Law to organise and host the event in collaboration with the N8 Research Partnership. Collaborating with Schools and Departments remains a key goal for MEETinLEEDS, as we seek to aid the University’s strategic plan of interdisciplinary working through a commitment to creating and enhancing collaborations in education, research and innovation.
The Event Managers Katrina Dickens and Anthony Lowe had an eventful few days over the course of the event, but the work started many months ago, says Katrina:
“Though the SEBP 2016 event initially appeared to be a straightforward 2 day conference we quickly realised that aspects of the event would require all of our problem solving abilities. Communicating with delegates and confirming attendance were our main challenges, as complexities of payment, communication and late registration are inherent in dealing with police organisations. The final numbers did increase in the days leading up to the event, which meant a reconfiguration of the room layout and catering, as well as a quick one-hour-turnaround of the Great Hall (see the video below) from its guise as the main session meeting room to that of the evening reception and dining area.
However, it was great to work with Clifford and the SEBP team, with the attendees having an enjoyable and informative stay at the University of Leeds.”
Clifford Stott said: “I would firstly like to thank MEETinLEEDS for their assistance in hosting the Society for Evidence Based Policing Conference on 1st & 2nd February. The event went very well and I think all the delegates and the organisation left with a positive experience that will reflect well upon the University.
We began planning the event later last year and began to organise this through the School of Law. We initially met some difficulties given our lack of experience in organising events of this scale and nature. In this regard I was delighted when I first had the opportunity to meet with MEETinLEEDS to discuss the planning and arrangements. It was from that point onward that the organisation for the event became effective and manageable. There was a very real sense of ‘ownership’ provided by MEETinLEEDS which gave me confidence the organisation was committed to the delivery of a very high quality event. Moreover, the team held regular meetings with us at which we were able to gain updates and discuss any issues that were relevant. The team were also important in handling the late changes and liaison with the SEBP executive as we approached the conference itself. On the day of the event the team were on hand to deal with registration and help resolve issues and the conference was delivered without complication.
In short I was very pleased with the excellent service provided throughout and would have no hesitation – indeed already have – provided the strongest recommendation for getting in touch with MEETinLEEDS when hosting any major event at the University.”
ORGANISING A CONFERENCE OR EVENT?
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MEETinLEEDS is the brand name of the conference, meeting, training, and events facilities of the University of Leeds.
The University offers a wide range of conference facilities: from a simple day meeting to a fully-managed residential conference, and all close to the heart of Leeds. Contact us on 0113 343 6100.
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