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Academic Venue Solutions announce new Board Chair and Vice Chair

Clare Forster
As the consortium dedicated to support academic venues in the UK, enters the new decade with a wealth of member venues, the Board who manages the strategic direction for the consortium expressed their gratitude to Steve Crawford, Centre Director, College Court who led the consortium through its rebrand, handing the reigns over to Clare Forster, Conference Office Manager, University of Salford in Manchester.

Reflecting on his two years as Chairman, Steve Crawford commented: “During my tenure, the two cornerstones were the re-branding to Academic Venue Solutions (AVS), which reflects the unique position we have in the marketplace as the leading academic consortium.  The other, the focus to supporting our members, growing the membership and putting in a team structure  of experienced industry professionals to implement and advise on the key focus of the organisation and specific projects.  Our membership has seen significant growth over the past 18 months, welcoming 12 new member venues during 2018/19 and 8 so far for the academic year 19/20.  

None of this could have been achieved without the support and commitment of an excellent Board of Directors.  I am delighted that Clare and Harry have taken up the roles. We are most fortunate to have such a wealth of talent to continue driving forward Academic Venue Solutions.”  

Taking up the Chair at the Board Meeting held in January, Clare welcomed all the Board Members to a new decade, and on her appointment said, “After many years of involvement with the organisation, I am thrilled to be taking on the role of Chair. The sector is seeing a pace of change that is unprecedented and the role of academic venues within our universities has never been more relevant.  Steve has steered the board through the last couple of years in an ever-changing environment, positioning us well to embrace the next decade. I look forward to continuing the excellent work that he has achieved, and continued membership growth, with the support of a committed team, experienced Board of Directors and engaged and passionate members.  

As we enter a new decade the role of academic venues within our universities is vital. We put our members at the heart of everything that we do: as well as generating business for them, the organisation allows a unique opportunity to collaborate and share best practice. Higher Education faces a myriad of challenges and if Academic Venue Solutions can help our members to meet some of these challenges, it is more valid than ever before. We are the only organisation that solely represents academic venues, and this gives us the opportunity to be a strong voice in the industry. I’m excited about helping raise the profile and voice of our members within the wonderful industry that we represent.”  

Harry Warner, Head of Conference Sales and Marketing, King’s Venues, who has been a member of AVS for over seven years, commented: “I am delighted to be moving into the role of Vice Chair with Academic Venue Solutions.  We have implemented some exciting changes in the past few years and I am thrilled to be supporting Clare, and the board in promoting academic venues as a great choice for events.”  

The consortium, which has 52 member venues, has key objectives for the next few years which include: increasing membership; maintaining academic venues as a key sector for the events industry; and to showcase their members through great networking events, such as the AVS Showcase in London in March 2020, exhibitions and new initiatives.

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