Blog: MMU Event Management student reports his experience of AEV Conference 2019


Blog: MMU Event Management student reports his experience of AEV Conference 2019

30 Aug 2019 by: Michael Hawkins - Event Management Student - MMU

MMU team

The MMU team (students with lecturers) help us celebrate our 15th year


"I volunteered at this year’s AEV’s conference; celebrating fifteen years. I am a first-year event management student studying at Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU). It was a great opportunity to gain experience of, witness, feel part of the real-world conversations of event venues. Seeing this collaboration working was truly inspirational. Having considered my future in several areas within the events industry I hadn’t paid much attention to event management within a venue. Attending this conference opened my eyes and made me realise that although you may only work for one venue – you have impact on such a diverse range of visiting events. You can also really make a difference to your role, venue and the industry by being involved in the AEV.

The conference was held at the iconic Manchester Central – a familiar landmark in my city - which welcomed an audience of Event Venue Professionals from all across the U.K. and from overseas. All of which clearly had their own knowledge, understanding and experience of how to run such diverse venues successfully… but what struck me was their openness to come together and be part of something as a group of like-minded individuals; to help explore and work with other venues to evolve their industry. 

Having never experienced this type of conference I didn’t really know what to expect. I volunteered simply to help and gain a little inside knowledge – The AEV team got me to work straight away – I enjoyed meeting the delegates as they arrived. It allowed me to greet many of the arrivals and provide a great starting point for conversation at their ‘birthday party’ later that evening. I took each task on according to Alden, AEV Project Manager with “great gusto” – whatever that means!

As the day went on it struck me how everyone was with each other- whilst some of the delegates attended individually (representing their venue), others had clearly arrived en mass but they all seemed to know each other! The benefits of a membership body, evidently! 

I was fortunate enough to sit-in on many of the sessions, attend the party in the evening (I still feel I need to apologise for my dancing), obtained great advise from a venue MD and attended the Event Managers working group meeting the day after the conference, albeit with a fuzzy head.

All-in-all… I volunteered simply to help a hand but I came out having had such an amazing experience, gaining recognition within the events venue industry and more importantly – the satisfaction of knowing that there is a visible career path available at Venues. In a couple of years, I definitely hope to be coming to an AEV conference or working group as a member to mix, learn and grow with like-minded, amazing people.

When’s next year’s AEV Conference?!"


Michael Hawkins

Event Management Student - Manchester Metropolitan University

Manchester Metropolitan University



  • "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