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Take a look behind the scenes and read some expert advice
2019: a year of highlights

2019: a year of highlights

The end of a year is always an opportunity to look back, and remember.

In 2019, there was plenty worth remembering!

Outdoor events

Old Joe looking over the Green Heart between the library and Muirhead
The Green Heart

Guru Nanak 550th anniversary celebration

Ask any member of the Conferences & events team about 2019, and they’ll speak with genuine pride and pleasure about this event.

A genuine one-off, this spiritual and educational experience brought 15,000 visitors over 5 days.

Acknowledging 550 years since the birth of the founder of the faith, the local Sikh community brought a host of volunteers, joining forces with our team to deliver a warm, respectful welcome across the largest-yet network of marquees on campus.

“It has truly been a pleasure and a wonderful experience to have worked so closely with the University of Birmingham’s Conferences & events Team over the last few weeks… UoB staff worked side by side with Nishkam volunteers to ensure the smooth delivery and success of all aspects of the event.

“We feel deeply indebted and humbled by the care, compassion and inclusiveness afforded by everyone who worked tirelessly to meet and exceed our expectations on this auspicious occasion. With heartfelt thanks and gratitude to you all.”

Guru Nanak Nishkam Sewak Jatha

Read the Guru Nanak 550th Anniversary case study

Woman bowing in front of prayer book
In the Darbar (prayer hall) during the continuous reading of the sacred manuscripts.

The Green Heart opening festival

The new Green Heart opens up 12 acres of green open space in the very heart of campus.

Its accessible walkways, lawns and borders provide capacity for up to 6,000 guests for outdoor events – making a combined capacity in central campus of 10,000.

A year-long festival to celebrate the seasons kicked off with three days of music, fireworks and more in June 2019.

Since then, the Library lawn has hosted marquees for Welcome Week and conferences. It will be ideal for convenient exhibition space when the Teaching & Learning Building opens alongside in 2020.

Find out more about the Green Heart

Green Heart Festival with Old Joe in the background
Crowds before the stage at the launch of the Green Heart Festival.

Ceremonies and celebrations

Pride of Birmingham Awards 2019

The Great Hall provided the backdrop for this joyful awards ceremony for the third year running.

The team rolled out the red carpet and welcome the paparazzi to snap the stars – from compere Kym Marsh to local music legend Tony Iommi and Strictly’s Ore Oduba.

See behind the scenes of the Pride of Birmingham 2019

Fine dining and banqueting at the University of Birmingham
The Great Hall for the Pride of Birmingham awards

Graduations 2019

The University’s campus spaces really come to life during Degree Congregations – aka graduation days.

With seating always at a premium for family and friends, this year’s Great Hall ceremonies were livestreamed not only to the Bramall, but also the outdoor screen in Staff House Plaza.

Big screen in Staff House PLaza University of Birmingham
Enjoying the sunshine, and the ceremony on the big screen.

Watch the University’s first ever graduation ceremony in 1901.

Events like these are why two of the University’s most distinctive venues achieved a new accolade in 2019.

Both the Great Hall and the Bramall were awarded Venues of Excellence accreditation this year, acknowledging their versatility and scale.

The Bramall’s 419-seater auditorium.


Venues of Excellence membership is only awarded to specialist event locations, who provide excellent conferences, training and events.

“Our assessment team were amazed by the spaces at the venue. We felt it really embodied what a good academic venue should be – a perfect balance of grandeur and esteem with the same high level of technical excellence you’d expect from a purpose-built meetings and events space. We’re thrilled to welcome the venue to our portfolio and to add another prestigious academic venue to our membership group.”

Mandy Jennings, Executive Director, Venues of Excellence

Conferences 2019

The team are proud to have delivered conferences and meetings across the year, from everyday working lunches to major industry conferences for leading names.

Academic conferences naturally find an ideal home at the University.

This year has seen a number of major highlights – from Atmospheric Science to the UUK Conference. HEFi19 benefited in 2019 from a new level of in-house academic conference expertise to support its ambition to grow an international audience.

Read the HEFi19 case study

Delegates in C Block lecture theatre
HEFi19 delegates in the lecture theatre, Aston Webb.

Expertise and advice

Events like these don’t just happen.

They take a team of experts, who work together with you to translate your ideas, and make the very most of the range of venues on campus.

That expert knowledge isn’t only available when you’re booking with us. When you’re passionate about delivering great events, you want to share best practice and good advice.

On the blog, you’ll find honest advice about getting the most out of every event, from the right questions to ask to the best wellbeing activities for conferences.

You’ll also find plenty of great local tips from the people who really know Birmingham.

Read the events team’s Birmingham Bucket List

The Bullring bull

See for yourself…

You’re always welcome to view the campus in person, to get a real sense of these unique venues. But if you’re not local, or you’re just starting to plan, here’s a brief taste of what’s available.

Thank you for your custom this year.

We hope to welcome you back in 2020! Until then, warm wishes from all the team for a very merry Christmas.

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