This year’s theme being Influence and Collaboration and was centred around building truly collaborative workplace environments and how working together can help your teams thrive. It is based on the belief that you can’t compete externally if you can’t collaborate internally first.  

The conference was a packed programme of networking, workshops and practical demonstrations and was hosted by Martin Fullard, Director of Business of Events who also delivered a workshop. Other sessions included benchmarking and mastering effective influence.

Day 1 concluded with an inspirational session from motivational speaker Shona Hirons entitled ‘from Broken to Bionic’ with Day 2 closing with a keynote from Figen Murray on Martyn’s Law. Figen is the mother of Martyn Hett, who at aged 29 was tragically killed alongside 21 others at the Manchester Arena terrorist attack in May 2017. 

These sessions coupled with thought leadership sessions, practical exercises, networking, workshops to collaborate and review with industry peers as well as marketing and sales sessions made for an interesting and varied 2-day event. 

Rachael Lee, Membership Director, AVS said “Each year we aim to design not only an informative programme but one that is relevant right now and ensures members leave with actions and ideas as well as lots of new industry friends. Delegates attending work across varied roles including sales, marketing, operations and events management – so we always work hard to ensure there’s something for everyone”.

Clare Forster, the chair of the board of directors for AVS, said: “It’s been another great year for AVS and our member venues so it’s a fitting end to the year to get together and share our plans for 2024. We also held our inaugural awards, which was an absolute joy and gave us the opportunity to recognise the hard work that happens every single day across this unique sector and to be able to share the success together as a group was fantastic.”

Winners were:

  • Excellence in Environmental Sustainabiity – Keele University Events and Conferencing
  • Rising Star – Kerry Schofield, Leeds University Conference and Events
  • Long Service Award – Hilary Barraclough, Lancaster University
  • Creativity in Conferencing Award – Marianne Mackinnon, University of St Andrews
  • Venue who referred the most business – University of Westminster
  • Outstanding contribution to AVS – Clare Forster, University of Salford, AVS Chair.

The conference was sponsored by Kinetic, the gala dinner by Momentus Technologies, the drinks reception by Nottingham Venues and the awards were sponsored by Allwag Promotional Merchandise. 

If you are an academic venue and want to find out more visit our website at

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