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?
We love the summer at MEETinLEEDS! Not only do we love the sunshine (well, the few days we get up North), it give us chance to welcome 1,000’s of delegates to events at the university, which in turn gives us a chance to show off everything the fine city of Leeds has to offer!
Leeds has fantastic restaurants, excellent nightlife, beautiful parks and lots of cultural activities for all the family. However, it is in the summer that the city really comes to life, attracting millions of visitors to hundreds of events, so there is guaranteed to be something for everyone to enjoy.
If you do plan head up the “Jewel on the Aire”, remember that we have accommodation right in the centre of the action for just £40 per room per night: the perfect base camp from which you can explore the city.
That’s our plug out of the way, so without further ado let us introduce our top things to do in Leeds this summer…
Leeds Waterfront Festival
Saturday 25th and Sunday 26th June 2016
Now in its ninth year, the festival is an annual celebration of everything that is wonderful about Leeds Waterfront and a fantastic opportunity for everyone to relax, explore and enjoy the spectacular locations along the water. We are proud of our waterfront and love to show off its heritage, opportunities and potential to thousands of visitors every year. This year’s festival is expected to be the biggest yet, with a spectacular offering of arts, music and culture along the tow paths; and boat rides, music, food, drinks and activities for all the family to enjoy!
The Big Disco
Friday 1st July
Building on the momentum established with le Tour de France’s Grand Depart, Yorkshire Festival has commissioned Duke Studios to deliver the disco to end all discos. While Leeds dances under the world’s biggest disco ball and at fringe events across the city centre, all over the region revellers will use DIY Disco Kits, delivered in cardboard boxes, to become part of the nation’s biggest party.
Working with Yorkshire Festival and NEWSUBSTANCE (disco ball creators), Duke Studios are taking the creative lead on this ambitious project. Building out from a central party loaded with street food, carnival performers, bars and costumed party-goers, Duke Studios are coordinating venues across the region in the creation of their own Big Disco events, as well as designing, creating and distributing DIY Disco boxes, attracting sponsorship and curating a list of 10 potential songs to draw Yorkshire together at the big moment.
Celebrate this incredible city by joining the biggest party on record. A world-class cultural event that is accessible to everyone that showcases the talent coming out of the region and gives a massive thank you to the people who make Leeds and Yorkshire so inspiring.
Monday 4th – Thursday 7th July
The International Medieval Congress has been a fixture at the University of Leeds since 1994, and has steadily grown into the largest annual conference in any subject in the UK. Tickets are all sold out for this year, but there are a number of public events (some of which are free that are sure to tickle the fancy of any medieval enthusiast!
The final day of the event (which is free and open to the public), now a staple fixture of the Congress are the ‘Making Leeds Medieval’ activities, which will bring a number of medieval-inspired activities to the main campus of the university, with displays of crafts and local produce as well as live entertainment including music, combat displays, re-enactment demonstrations, and a falconry display.
University of Leeds Staff Festival
Friday 8th July
We are afraid this one is for University of Leeds Staff only, but if you are interested in hosting a similar event please read on and then get in touch with our team!
The Staff Festival is a thank you to all staff at the University of Leeds for their hard work and a chance to relax with colleagues, partners and families on campus.
“Country Fair in the City!” is the theme of the Staff Festival 2016, whisking you away back to those fond countryside fairs. With activities for adults and children, both a craft and food market, have-a-go workshops, scrumptious food and drink and live performances and experiences there’s a fun day to be had by everyone. All Staff of the University of Leeds, along with friends and family are invited!
The Festival takes place on Friday 8 July in and around the Refectory, LUU building and stage@leeds. From 1pm you can enjoy a ‘Taste of the Fest’ whilst browsing the stalls or enjoying the delicious food and drink on offer. Between 3pm – 7pm the main event programme gets underway. At 7pm the festival closes but you can carry on relaxing in the Terrace Bar until late.
To get a feel for previous Staff Festivals, take a look at the photo gallery.
Millennium Square Council Summer Series
July & August – Various Dates
Once again Millennium Square will come alive for over a fortnight with concerts and special events, starting with Ocean Colour Scene on 23-24 July!
Further dates and event details will be announced on this website, so keep your eyes peeled for more fantastic events!
The series will culminate in the Parade Stage for the annual Leeds Pride on Sunday 7 August. The parade will start at Millennium Square and wind its way through the city centre to Lower Briggate.
For further information and ticket sales click see the following links:
Friday 22 July – The Cribs & special guests
Saturday 23 July – Ocean Colour Scene (sold out)
Sunday 24 July – Ocean Colour Scene
Wednesday 27 – Friday 29 July – The Film House on the Square
Saturday 30 July – A Classical Summer’s Evening
Sunday 31 July – ¡VAMOS! Festival
Friday 5 August – The Magic of Motown Under the Stars
Sunday 7 August – Leeds Pride
If you are attending any of these events (plug alert!) our £40 accommodation is just a few minutes’ walk away, so you can enjoy yourself to the maximum without worrying about missing the last train!
Leeds Festival 2016
Friday 26th August – Sunday 28th August
Leeds Festival has been a staple on the summer music scene since 1999, with a varied line-up that incorporates rock, metal, indie and hip-hop acts. It may have had its share of problems in the past, but since the move to the beautiful setting of Bramham Park in 2003 the experience has been far more enjoyable and is now a fantastic festival for all the family.
This year funk-rock veterans the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Scottish rockers Biffy Clyro and Oxford indie juggernaut Foals headline the main stage. However, there are 7 other stages hosting a variety of upcoming bands and old favourites, our picks being:
Pulled Apart by Horses – This Leeds based band that are not afraid turning a melodic riff into a skull crushing aural assault. Think Jesus Lizard turned up to 11.
Coheed & Cambria – If you like your metal with a massive helping of prog you will love this band. Think Pink Floyd played by Led Zeppelin with deep undertones of Dungeons & Dragons. In a good way…
Maximo Park – Giddy indie-pop with huge choruses and an energetic frontman. Think Squeeze with XTC hitting Jools Holland over the head with his keyboard. What’s not to love?
Cassetteboy VS DJ Rubbish – Cassetteboy make so0me of the funniest videos on Youtube (if you don’t laugh at the Apprentice mashup you are Alan Sugar and we claim our £5). Expect pop culture references melded to danceable tunes in their comedy disco.
Millennium Square Fan Zone
This summer really is a sporting bonanza: the Triathlon was hosted in Leeds for the very first time (and Alistair Brownlee, University of Leeds alumnus, won gold!), we are cautiously optimistic for England’s chances at Euro 2016 and hopefully Any Murray can follow up his French Open Final loss with a win on the home turf of Wimbledon!
If you want to get into the spirit with a friendly crowd in the sun the 2016 European Football Championships and Wimbledon Tennis Championships are on the Big Screen in Millennium Square.
England play Slovakia on Monday 20 June (8pm kick-off) in their final group game. Should they progress to the knockout stages, the Round 16 game will be shown on either Saturday 25 June (5pm or 8pm kick-off), Sunday 26 June (5pm kick-off) or Monday 27 June (8pm kick-off), depending upon where England finish in group B.
For all England games, a specially created family friendly ‘fan zone’ viewing area will be available for supporters to gather and watch the action in a big match atmosphere. There are a number of excellent restaurants and bars (have a look at our Restaurants & Bars section below) in the vicinity for you to get a delicious meal and carry on the celebrations (or drown your sorrows).
From Monday 27 June coverage will also be shared with the Wimbledon Tennis Championships where you can cheer on Andy Murray while enjoying traditional strawberries and cream, ice cream and Pimms!
For full details see the Leeds City Council What’s On website.
Leeds West Indian Carnival
Monday 29th August
The Leeds West Indian Carnival is Europe’s longest running authentic Caribbean carnival and
Thousands of visitors are expected to descend on the city on Bank Holiday Monday 29th August for the sparkling procession of floats and hundreds of stunning costumes from across the UK.
Carnival Founder and Chairperson Arthur France said, “As well bringing the streets of Leeds to life with the colour, spectacle and unbeatable atmosphere that have attracted millions of visitors and millions to the economy over 49 years, Leeds Carnival 2016 gives culture in the city yet another chance to shine.” Organisers of the Carnival, which in 1967 was the first of its kind in Europe to feature all three essential Caribbean carnival elements of masquerade, music and a parade – are working closely with artists, funders and partners and hope to attract corporate sponsorship to ensure that 2017’s landmark 50th anniversary celebrations are the biggest and best yet.
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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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