College of Occupational Therapists Conference Named Best Conference of 2016

The College of Occupational Therapist’s 40th annual conference and exhibition has scooped a top award at the 2017 Association Excellence Awards. The college took home the award for Best Association Conference for between 450 and 1500 delegates at the Global Conference Network’s awards ceremony.

The 40th Annual Conference and Exhibition which took place between 28 and 30 June 2016 at the Harrogate International Centre was a landmark event and the College was keen to mark this by ensuring it was its largest conference ever. It smashed that target by increasing attendance by 194%. The judges were impressed with how the Conference programme was dissected into areas of specialism which meant that the Conference programme was seen to be instantly relevant for different areas of practice.

The team organising the conference also harnessed the power of social media to amplify the event. They identified a key group of occupational therapists who were particularly influential on Twitter, who they named ‘the Twitteratti’. They invited them to take part in a live Twitter chat at the conference and share knowledge with delegates new to tweeting. The conference trended daily, an outstanding achievement given the news stories at the time, Brexit and the power struggle between Boris Johnson and Michael Gove.

One of the unique selling points for Conference was the chance to meet the ‘occupational therapy stars’. There were a number of occupational therapy international leaders, who delegates could freely interact with. An early morning meet and greet session was organised and marketed, and was so oversubscribed that it had to run over two mornings.

Post event feedback showed an impressive 98.7% satisfaction rating with 95% of delegates saying that they would recommend attendance to a colleague.

Julia Scott, CEO at the College of Occupational Therapists said: “I am thrilled and delighted that our conference has been recognised by the Global Conference Network as the best conference of its size in 2016. It is a testament both to the hard work and dedication of everyone who helped to organise the conference, including college officers and members who volunteered their time and who worked tirelessly to ensure that it was a fantastic event. Tickets are now on sale for the 2017 conference and I cannot wait to be there for what promises to be even bigger and better.”

This 2017 conference will bring together talks from the leading lights of the profession, a scientific programme based upon a new and exciting submission criteria so content is more defined and relevant and practical advice from leading suppliers to the profession. Despite these improvements, it is the lowest fee for professional members since 2003.

There will be over 70 sessions including contributions from Professor Winnie Dunn, Dr Jennifer Creek and Professor Diane Cox – delivering the Elizabeth Casson Memorial lecture.

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