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Glasgow ambassadors continue to attract large associations to the city

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A world-leading professor of Phonetics and Sociolinguistics has spent the last 20 years using Glasgow as her research platform to study the changing landscape of language.
Now at the top of her field, Professor Jane Stuart Smith combined her expertise with her role in Glasgow’s award-winning Conference Ambassador Programme to head up the city’s successful bid to secure the 18th International Conference of Phonetic Sciences (ICPhS) 2015.


As the Chair of the Local Organising Committee Jane coordinated input from a consortium of four Scottish universities. She worked closely with a 20-strong team to deliver a winning bid, a successful conference and a fantastic conference party in the city’s iconic Merchant Square for more than 800 people.

The conference took place in Glasgow recently welcoming 1000 global experts with the local economy benefiting from an injection of more than £2million.

Jane said: “I was able to use my expertise from the last two decades to work with Glasgow City Marketing Bureau, the SECC and academic institutions located across Scotland to put together a winning bid.

“It’s no secret that Glasgow has world-leading research hubs, esteemed academics and huge strengths across its key areas of strategic growth and I was delighted to work with the team to win this large congress.

“I’m originally from the south of England but I’m proud to call my honorary city of Glasgow, home. It was in this city that I have made leaps and bounds in my research and forged huge discoveries in the subject of accent and dialect.”

The University of Glasgow professor is one of 1700 influential individuals in Glasgow’s Conference Ambassador Programme, each working in partnership with Glasgow City Marketing Bureau to bid and secure conference business.

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the programme, the first in the UK, and has showcased its incredible success throughout the industry. Now ambassador-won meetings account for approximately one in three confirmed conferences to the city, making a healthy financial contribution to the local economy.

Glasgow’s has an unrivalled reputation as a ‘smart city’ due to its research and academic strength; but its accessibility, vast accommodation options, affordability as well as its vibrant culture, scenery and diverse restaurant scene, are popular amongst associations choosing a host destination. Jane added: “The Glasgow dialect is a phonetic treasure trove, I could spend my whole career working on it – many of our delegates also loved the added bonus of being able to study and experience this first hand.”

Jane enlisted the skills and experience of PCO and ABPCO board member Celia Lloyd of Intelligent Events to aid her in the delivery of the conference.

Celia said: “We were delighted to be part of the team to win the bid for the International Conference of Phonetic Science 2015.

“Organising conferences on this scale is challenging but the clear vision that Jane provided enabled everyone to focus on the practicalities of delivering a world class conference.

“It’s been a real pleasure to work with such a collaborative team over the past four years and showcases the importance of a strong teamwork ethic in the winning and delivery of conferences.

“I am also honoured to be on the Executive Board of the Association of British Professional Conference Organisers (ABPCO), and to be able to contribute to the ongoing support ABPCO provides for its members.

“I am passionate about the impact of emerging business practices and technologies and how these can improve the way we work and the conferences we deliver. I was delighted to be involved in the facilitation of conference exchange visits to promote best practice and collaboration between members.”

In the last calendar year (January to December 2014), Glasgow conference ambassadors secured 178 conferences worth nearly £85 million to the city’s economy.

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