Elaine Swan gives ITCM an insight into a stimulating academic venueUniversity students have long holiday breaks. That suits the conference marketing teams at academic establishments, because it frees an array of remarkable, modern MICE facilities, making them available for use by corporate and association clients.
There is a growing demand from organisers of conferences on specialised topics for facilities to match. Where better to look than on university campuses?
Elaine Swan is the Sales & Events Manager of Unispace in Sunderland. At The Meetings Show in London she told ITCM about the unrivalled services and facilities that the University of Sunderland can offer event organisers.
Using the umbrella title of Unispace, Elaine has five venues she can configure to suit the needs of clients.
‘These are located’, she explains, ‘in the university and also in the National Glass Centre. Sunderland is world-famous for glass production and research and we can provide interesting tours to show how glass is made and its historical background and we can also arrange for some brilliant souvenirs to be made specially for delegates as a memento of their visit’.
She then adds: ‘We can even hold receptions on the glass roof of the Glass Museum – and that is something delegates never forget!’
The specialisations of the University have been creatively used to host many spectacular events, including conferences, team-building and training. ‘For the faculty of legal studies’, she explains, ‘we have replica courts of law. You can imagine how these have been applied for corporate debates.
‘Then we have a highly advanced sports faculty and our City of Space is a £12m prize-winning facility that has hosted major events, not only in sport but also, for example, the BBC’s Election Special.’
Media is another academic topic that has special facilities to match. ‘These include’, Elaine continues, ‘radio and tv studios that many client companies have been delighted to build into their team-building and training programmes.’
The idea, therefore, that academic venues are stuffy and inflexible should now be well and truly forgotten. Sunderland, certainly, can provide the venues for imaginative, creative and memorable events.
Pictured: Elaine Swan, centre, with event colleagues