Unique, unusual and creative spaces for hire

Academic venues - yeah, we’ve got unusual and unique spaces too!

In the second of a three part series on the different types of Academic Venue Solutions members, we are taking a look at the unique and unusual. You’d expect our venues to be grand halls and dreaming spires, but read on to find out about some of the very different spaces behind the famous names.

Pugh, Pugh, Barney McGrew, Cuthbert, Dibble, Grubb!

No, we’re not in Trumpton (for those old enough to remember), we’re at Moreton-in-the-Marsh, in the Cotswolds at the Fire Service College. Alongside their meeting spaces are some fascinating team building and film locations. And these team building opportunities are definitely unique - in fact they’re “never to be forgotten firefighter experiences!”

Basing their offer on the fire services renowned teamwork ethic delegates can experience some of the elements of a firefighter’s role including: learning how to put a hose reel together and participate in a timed race to roll out the hose and aim water at a specific target; guiding rope to move through a confined space area – known as the ‘rat run’ in the pitch black, working together to locate and retrieve an object, such as a dummy; and the opportunity to drive a number of different vehicles, including a fire engine, ambulance and police car.

Plus, if it’s locations for your next film project then look no further, the college are proud to have supported many high calibre companies who have chosen their location as the backdrop for their filming.

With over 30 different potential scenarios to select from, they provide opportunities for replicating scenarios including: creating a realistic car crash scenario on a motorway, setting fire to an oil rig, or transforming one of their rooms into a hospital A&E department.

And they also boast a full-blown motorway in the middle of the college! The M96. It's about a mile long, and has two different width carriageways, one three lanes wide and the other six. The level of detail on it is really rather stunning - it's fully signed, has SOS phones, distance marker posts, a crossover point between the carriageways (as is found on older motorways), speed camera markings and cat's eyes. The M96 is even signed correctly from elsewhere in the college!

A Media City 

The University of Salford at MediaCityUK is at the heart of the UK’s media and digital industries with the BBC and ITV as neighbours, so you’d expect something a bit different. What you get are broadcast standard video and audio facilities and the latest digital technology.

Their creative studio spaces include two industry standard HD TV studios, including green screen, and three radio studios for production and broadcast. Salford also offer you the opportunity to film interviews with your delegates, speakers and guests or broadcast your event live.

An original Media City

Located away from the University of Nottingham's main campus are the King’s Meadow Studios based at Kings Meadow Campus. As the original home to the ITV complex, Carlton Studios, what’s on offer are 2 blank-canvas TV studios - two flat floor studio spaces which include Studio 7 (c.729m2) and Studio 11 (c180m2). How about transforming it into your own version of the X Factor or Strictly!

Events that have taken place in the space include gaming production, set building, product launches, award dinners, auditions and rehearsals.

Legal and medical film locations

The University of Hertfordshire boasts a mock crown court, hospital ward and pharmacy. Unique spaces such as the Mock Crown Courtroom and state-of-the-art medical simulation centre are also available to hire. The University of Hertfordshire’s interesting architecture and proximity to several television studios make it a great filming location.

A UK first for Oxford

Saïd Business School, at the University of Oxford, has opened a new virtual classroom, which is the first of its type in the UK and only the second installation in the world.

Named the Oxford Hub for International Virtual Education (HIVE), it is a physical space that takes the appearance of a high tech conference facility, with 27 high definition screens that form a U shape in a seminar room. However, the technology, developed and installed by SyncRTC, and operated by their Mashme.io software – is far more sophisticated than a traditional conferencing platform. It employs robotics, facial recognition technology and 4D high definition projections to create a uniquely immersive learning and teaching experience.

In the Oxford HIVE, class leaders can engage with up to 84 participants, who can access the session via Mashme.io. The technology is fully interactive; the teacher can address the participants individually, split them into groups and conduct real time polls, and participants can see and hear one another. The software also monitors the level of attentiveness in each individual, which it judges and scores based on their facial expressions and engagement with the class.

Unique, unusual and academic all rolled into one!

Unique by name, unique by nature

Travelling northwards towards the Midlands and the new commercial venture between two nationally-renowned venues. Unique Venues Birmingham (UVB) unites the conferencing and hospitality offer within the shared building on Centenary Square in the heart of Birmingham. It operates across the Birmingham Repertory Theatre and the iconic Library of Birmingham.

Venues include the Book rotunda - an iconic setting for gala dinners and drinks receptions for up to 300 people; the Shakespeare Memorial Suite; the Discovery Terrace - a beautiful outdoor garden terrace; and three separate auditoria with the largest of the three seating 825 delegates.

All these venues are ideally located in the city centre, situated a 10 minute walk from New Street Station.

The People’s Palace

With historic spaces across central London, Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) offers a Grade 2 listed theatre and a Victorian Octagon, who rub shoulders with the recently completed £39m Graduate Centre featuring a 200 seat lecture theatre with natural light at the Mile End location.

The Great Hall, or the People’s Palace was unveiled following a £6.3m refurbishment. Home to the Great Hall, a technically advanced 770 seat theatre with retractable seating, dressing rooms and one of London’s largest stages and originally opened in the 1930s, this art deco masterpiece has seen the likes of the Rolling Stones and Damon Albarn grace its stage.

The addition of a dedicated foyer with bar and split mezzanine level balcony the venue is ideal for hosting anything from a theatre festival to a screening, a touring production or one off gig.

Where art and science collide

Opened in 2018, Science Gallery London is a new venue at King’s Venues situated in a spectacular site at the foot of the Shard in London Bridge. The Gallery is in a Grade 2 listed Georgian building, which is being newly restored and landscaped to create a fantastic new public square.

The Gallery, where art and science collide, will have an ever changing programme of exciting participatory events and exhibitions, and offers a range of spaces from 10 to 750 guests. It can cater for conferences, drinks receptions, private dinners, meetings and film screenings. Spanning three floors, the venue offers a variety of spaces for meetings and events from breakfast to dinners and everything in between.

They’ve gone full circle at York

Over at York Conferences ‘The 3Sixty’ is a 360° audio visual room perfect for impressive product launches or presentations to clients. An audio visual venue with a range of inspiring opportunities.

The 360 degree projection capability and surround sound offers an immersive space with potential to hold a range of different events. Users find themselves in the centre of rich panoramic media, making it a strong environment for capturing and retaining the attention of attendees. Product launches and presentations will be truly innovative in this space, with attendees standing or sitting.

Hope you’ve enjoyed this tour of our unusual and unique academic venues, if you have then keep a look at out for our next blog.