Thursday, 18 September 2014

Conferences, food tasting and project assurance

The last couple of days I've spent on conference organising business in preparation for the main UCISA conference in March 2015. So in a whistlestop tour of Edinburgh I've visited two hotels including checking out the different rooms, the conference centre including looking at entrances, exits, pedestrian routes and layouts, and the dinner venues. As well as getting a good speaker programme together, with keynotes, workshops, showcases and poster sessions, the 'environmental' factors are extremely important
You can have the best speakers around, but if the rooms are wrong, the food bad, or the coffee undrinkable, that's what people remember. We've had more complaints about the quality of the coffee than almost anything else! It's also important to make sure everyone is catered for, and in some recent conferences the quality of the vegetarian food has been particularly poor. A few years ago the lunch choice for vegetarians was fish and pasta....

So, in a very hard task, we now taste all of the menus in advance and choose what we're going to have. Can't remember how many canap├ęs, starters, mains and deserts I've tasted over the last couple of days. But I know I've put weight on! I've also met with an events company to theme one of the dinners which looks as though it's going to be exciting. It's all coming together now, with just a few more speakers to confirm, it should be a great event.

Today I've been at the UCISA Executive meeting, where most of the agenda was taken up discussing in detail the change in charitable status of UCISA, more of which here.

We also looked at the progress of the many UCISA groups who organise many events and produce some very high quality publications and toolkits. One of the latest is on Major Project Governance assessment, which you can find here.

It has been very well received and colleagues from Sheffield have contributed to it.


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