AEV Conference 2017 roars into life with Dinosaur Icebreaker


AEV Conference 2017 roars into life with Dinosaur Icebreaker

05 Jul 2017
The Association of Event Venues (AEV) has brought its second annual conference to a successful conclusion, with over 150 delegates attending The Vox, Birmingham, on June 29, 2017, for a day of industry leading speakers and discussion panels.

The conference was preceded for the first time by an icebreaker event the day before, held at the NEC and Birmingham Resort World. Approximately 75 delegates attended the icebreaker, arriving at NEC the preceding afternoon and welcomed by conference chair Kathryn James, NEC’s managing director group conventions & exhibitions. Delegates then enjoyed refreshments and a finger buffet before being given a tour of the NEC’s latest long stay exhibit “Dinosaurs in the Wild”, featuring a virtual reality safari in the cretaceous era. The Icebreaker event concluded with a capacity crowd of delegates enjoying informal networking and drinks at the Sky Bar, Birmingham Resort World.

The conference proper began with registration and a welcome and introduction from the chair before the keynote address from Ascential’s Stuart Johnson, who spoke compellingly on event partnerships, data analytics and taking an organiser’s view. There followed a broad range of sessions covering topics from catering and counter-terror to technology led by experts and industry leaders including Paul Kehoe, chief executive, Birmingham Airport, Paul May, chairman of Trivandi and Murray Dickson , Head of Business Engagement, Group IT - NEC Group.

Although there were delegates from more than 20 UK and European venues, including Hamburg Messe, NEC, ExCeL, SEC and the O2, there were also many delegates from other organisations including event organisers and AV suppliers, contributing to the breadth of opinion voiced during the discussion panels and Q&A sessions.

Jeremy Rees, executive director ExCeL and AEV chair was clear on why he though the conference had appealed to delegates, saying “There’s really something of interest and utility for every delegate. The conference assembled a programme of compelling content oriented around creating world-class events, and as many speakers made clear, that’s a goal that requires partnership and collaboration as much as expertise and vision. The response from delegates has been simply outstanding, demonstrating that we have succeeded in creating a conference with something for everyone.”

Rachel Parker, AEV director, was quick to thank all the delegates and AEV’s partners for the conference, saying, “Last year’s conference was so successful, improving on it was a real challenge, but I think the ice-breaker event the day before conference played a huge part in building rapport and encouraging delegate contributions and engagement. I want to thank The Vox for its hospitality and our conference sponsors, Freeman EMEA and Ungerboeck Software, for their invaluable help and support. I’m especially grateful to the 150 delegates who made time in their jammed diaries for this event, and the exceptional speakers and panel session chairs who provided such a rich vein of relevant, useful and inspiring content.”



  • "Great day hosting our first AEV working group event!..WOW did I learn a lot and some great insights into how other venues work and the challenges they are trying to overcome. If you are a venue looking to network with other like minded professionals I would recommend looking at joining the AEV".
    Danielle Worker
    Corporate Events Team Leader, Silverstone Circuits Ltd
  • "“Great essential for a successful venue. The AEV provides a platform to establish consistent best practice in this field"
    Phil Wetz
    Retail & Catering Manager, ExCeL London
  • “The AEV provides collective representation for its member venues, turning individual commitment into a group effort"
    Paul Brough
    Venue Health & Safety Manager, Olympia London
  • "Proud to be part of this Cross Association discussion. I am confident in our ability to improve and progress our working platform through conversation".
    Amir Vered
    Head of eForce and IT, Olympia London (Chair of Cross Association Technology WG)
  • “The AEV is essential to the venue sector’s ability to cooperate and collaborate"
    Jazmin Beale
    Head of Marketing & Communications, Olympia London
  • “The AEV undertakes crucial work on behalf of event venues up and down the country to ensure our voice is heard. They reinforce the important role our sector plays in delivering economic impact, increasing trade, providing jobs and driving the visitor economy.”
    Lucy Merritt
    Head of Marketing and Communications, ExCeL London
  • AEV Membership is a key part of our business strategy; it has and will continue to be a core elements of our plan to support knowledge sharing in the industry and to develop both our team and the venue.
    Kate Vandenburg
    Marketing Director - Business Design Centre
  • Our team at ACC Liverpool feel indebted to the substantial work that the AEV do for our amazing industry. As the pillar association for venues across the country it’s a real privilege for our teams to participate in many of the working groups, learning and contributing to new processes which helps drive our industry forward on a national scale.
    Colm Graham
    Senior Exhibition Account Manager, ACC Liverpool
  • We have benefited hugely from all of the insight, discussion, events and networking, but it has also meant that we have been able to give back to the industry by sharing our unique experiences and professional knowledge and allowing our employees to help lead and shape the Association from the inside.
    Mathew James
    Head of Brand, Telford International Centre
  • “The AEV has been an invaluable asset to us as a company and the wider industry, helping to lobby on the industries behalf, consolidating and distributing information and facilitating vital knowledge sharing.”
    Charlie Hodgson
    Managing Director at The Kia Oval