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Venuemasters’ latest inspiration for academic venues

Venuemasters, the UK’s leading consortium representing around 70 academic venues hosted their annual conference at College Court in Leicester between 18 - 20 November. The Conference, exclusively for personnel at member venues, provided a balanced mix of learning and networking opportunities for members, including inspiring keynote speakers, practical workshops, and social evenings.

Based around the theme of ‘Identifying and Managing the Challenges Ahead’, the event attracted around 90 delegates from Venuemasters’ members across the country, with half of the delegates attending the Conference for the first time.  

Keynote speakers included ‘The Other Michael Jackson’, who took delegates on a journey of the changes in the business world on the Wednesday, while the fastest blind man in the world, Steve Cunningham, inspired delegates with his story about the challenges he has faced throughout his life on Friday morning.  

The social evenings offered delegates the chance to network and discuss the day’s events in a less formal environment. Wednesday evening provided an air of intrigue in the form of a murder mystery, with delegates being split into teams to try and figure out who was the culprit. Thursday evening was a much more formal affair, with delegates donning their finest attire for the annual Gala Dinner.  

The Conference also provides a basis for the Venuemasters’ Annual General Meeting (AGM), which took place on the Thursday afternoon. The AGM is the formal part of the Conference, and provides the opportunity to announce the new Chair of the Board. Sarah Snow, Assistant Director Campus Services, Sales and Events at Event Exeter was appointed, taking over from Jane James from the University of Manchester.  

The Conference was a hit with delegates with 95% rating the workshop speakers as ‘excellent’ or ‘good’.  New Chair, Sarah said: “It’s an honour to be the new chair of the Venuemasters Board. Academic venues are facing some tough challenges at the moment, and the Venuemasters Conference has given delegates a wonderful opportunity to learn from experts on change, gain valuable tips, and network and share ideas with one another.”

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