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10 reasons to choose an academic venue for your conference

Why choose an academic venue?

The right location can make or break your event. It’s no wonder that academic venues are the increasingly the first choice, when they offer value added for free.

Aston Webb building at University of Birmingham

Choose a venue with purpose

Why do people attend conferences?

To learn. To meet new people, who share a passion. To hear from the biggest and brightest names in the field. To reach beyond the comfort zone, and push a career forward.

Sounds familiar?

Universities are built to achieve exactly these goals. Every lecture theatre and meeting space is designed to foster the exchange of big ideas.

That means the audio-visual setup you need for meetings, presentations and plenary sessions comes as standard, with big screens to help you share your message, and acoustics to help it be heard.

Impress with unique settings

Sometimes a standard exhibition space or characterless conference venue just won’t do.

Treat international attendees to a quintessentially British setting. Wow everyone with something unique and quirky, or add prestige in a historic building with a grand intellectual past.

Academic venues typically offer a range of distinctive settings: the kind that can really make an event memorable.

Lapworth Museum | Conferences & events

Meet where the world’s pioneers meet

Academic venues serve a broad community that reaches beyond the commercial world.

The great minds who are shaping your future: they’re doing it right here on campus. At the University of Birmingham alone, you’ll find ground-breaking research underway to build revolutionary prosthetics, and pre-empt impending antibiotic resistance using natural resources like honey. That research reaches far beyond the UK, from global initiatives to tackle air pollution and water scarcity to interdisciplinary work to build sustainable cities. It’s at the forefront in finding new therapies to fight cancer, and game-changing developments in organ donation.

These are real people, working every day to make the world a better place. It’s the perfect place to get inspired.

Graduates of the University of Birmingham

Give to something that matters

Of course, those pioneering researchers all started somewhere.

Every academic venue will tell you about the big names: the Nobel Prize winners, the sporting heroes and the cultural greats. But a university is a living community. Students come here to live, learn and grow.

The University of Birmingham is a charity, and its commercial enterprises funnel any profits back into the institution to support the student experience. When you book an academic venue, you’re not handing money to a faceless corporation. You’re contributing to the future of thousands of curious minds.

Enjoy great food

Academic venues serve food all year round to a discerning international audience, with a range of dietary requirements.

They don’t only feed thousands of students every day. Thanks to big annual events like graduation ceremonies and internal awards as well as regular conference business, they’re well-accustomed to delivering a high-end service.

You’re also likely to find a wide range of casual dining options on a campus. Familiar cafés like Starbucks and Costa often have campus outlets. And if you’re remembering your own university dining experiences none too fondly, think again: here at the University of Birmingham you’ll find a tapas bar, noodles, a range of delis, pub-style classics and fine dining, all centrally located and sometimes available for private event hire too.

Plate of duck and asparagus

Arrive fresh after an easy journey

One thing academic venues have in common: they’re easy to reach.

Whether you choose a city centre location or just outside, you’re almost guaranteed a simple journey.

Universities are used to a huge influx of people at certain times, too, so are well-prepared for larger events and conferences.

Curl up to sleep whenever you’re ready

Ensuring your breakout spaces are convenient and easy to find is essential – and the same goes for accommodation. After a long day at a conference, no one wants the hassle of a long journey back to where you’re staying.

Many academic venues can offer university accommodation outside term time, providing a comfortable budget-friendly option nearby. Increasingly, academic venues also have their own hotels on campus, offering greater comfort for a range of visitors.

Make the most of the networking opportunities available, and get together after hours once you’ve freshened up. When you’re done for the night, it’s just a stroll back to bed – and no need to rush through traffic or crowded public transport in the morning.

Lucas House Hotel King Room

Get around

Accessibility isn’t just a ‘nice to have’ at conferences.

Although historic venues can pose challenges, most academic venues have already made provisions to improve accessibility for staff and students – and that means you benefit too.

Accessibility doesn’t only mean automatic doors, lifts, fire refuges and level buildings access. It also means hearing loops, clear signage, appropriate lighting, core information provided in a variety of formats, and an integrated awareness of different needs, including in staff training.

Find out more about accessibility in venues at the University of Birmingham.

Add in a holiday, for you or your family

Sometimes a conference destination offers a little extra: the opportunity to travel.

Most major academic venues are located around cities. Tack on a few extra days or a weekend after the event, and you can make the most of the trip. Here’s a brief glimpse into what Birmingham has to offer: shopping, culture, nightlife and fun for families.

If your accommodation is booked as part of your conference package, ask about negotiating a rate for you to stay in your room, or add more rooms for guests.

Selfridges: photo credit Kevin Morris

Stay within budget

Bottom line: you have a budget, and you need to feel confident it will be well-managed.

It’s rare to find an academic venue without a solid history of events experience. You’re also likely to find a variety of venue combinations and price points.

Here at the University of Birmingham, Conferences & events provide a complete service. You’ll have a team of event professionals to work with, who are experienced enough to know what works, and ready to advise. Catering, AV, transport and other services are all managed in-house via one point of contact. That means you never need to panic about spiralling costs, or forgetting what to include.

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