Event professionals flock to BDC for AEV Conference 2021
The Association of Event Venues (AEV) is celebrating the success of its 5th annual conference, held on Friday, November 26, 2021, at the Business Design Centre in Islington, London, with the theme ‘Disruption: the new norm'.
Despite the onset of storm Arwen and a tube strike on the day, the much-anticipated event attracted over 160 event professionals, many of whom were meeting up face to face for the first time in over a year. The conference was designed to make the most of this opportunity and it featured a more interactive format, continuously inviting feedback and questions from the audience. Samme Allen, a professional event emcee, led the conference throughout the day, actively raising engagement amongst delegates with her trademark humour and energy.
After a warm welcome from Max Bull, AEV Chair, Allen introduced Nigel Huddleston, Minister for Sport, Tourism, Heritage and Civil Society, who appeared via a pre-recorded video message with words of support and appreciation for delegates. Huddleston thanked venues for their role as nightingale hospitals and vaccination centres, and sincerely recognised the contribution of the events industry to the country, its resilience and its importance to building the economy back.
The conference then heard from a variety of speakers, beginning with former Royal Marine and MD of Quirk Solutions, Chris Paton, addressing how we react to disruption, and providing some heuristics and advice on how to build resilience and quick thinking into team management.
The conference also featured The EventWell Hub, which provided a quiet and safe space for everyone - speakers, delegates & staff - where they could speak confidentially with a fully trained and qualified mental health first aider about anything they may have been experiencing, or simply take a break, find calm and reduce triggers and any sensory overload in a noise-free environment.
There were three lively panel sessions covering sustainability and net-zero carbon strategies and pledges; life in a post-pandemic world from a venue perspective; and security in an uncertain world - which featured a sobering assessment of the current threat from terrorism provided by a speaker from National Counter Terrorism Security Office (NaCTSO). There was also a detailed case study on the Commonwealth Games 2022, discussing the preparations the city and its venues are making ahead of this international event.
The busy breaks for coffee, lunch and networking throughout the day featured superb catering from The Good Eating Company and the opportunity for delegates to have a free profile photo taken by the AEV appointed photographer.
Before the final wrap up delegates were brought together for the euphemistically titled "P & M Session" to express some of the frustration that has been building up over the last 2 years, and the conference closed at 4 pm with a drinks reception provided by the event's main sponsor, Hotel Map. In a final burst of activity, delegates were asked to line up by years of experience and The AEV counted 1633 combined years of event industry experience in the room!
Rachel Parker, AEV director, welcomed the conclusion of the AEV 2021 Conference saying, "A huge thank you to Max Bull and BDC for truly excellent hospitality, and to Samme Allen who enthused our delegates into getting involved with their questions and comments. I'd also like to thank our invaluable event partners and sponsors: HotelMap, The Good Eating Company, Aztec, ASP, EventWell, Jonas Event Technology and VividInk Ltd.
"We wanted to create a space where the future wasn't defined as an all-encompassing threat of disruption, but to recognise that there are methodologies and strategies that we can all employ to not only manage the tectonic changes facing us, but make a success of them, and fulfil our responsibility as an industry to our people, our customers and the environment."