On 21st March I made my way to the Royal Armouries for a 3 daylong Conference – this year the theme was Creativity, Collaboration and Complexity. ,This was my first AUA Conference and with over 600 Delegates, 126 Institutions and 13 countries represented it was a fantastic opportunity for 3 days of networking, engaging, sharing and, with 11 working sessions running each day plus a choice of Keynotes, there was certainly a great buzz and sense of excitement around the whole conference as delegates moved from session to session.
The Opening Plenary from Ben Goldacre (Writer, Broadcaster and Doctor) titled ‘Randomise Me’ on the use of randomised trials throughout society, on education and in government set the stall for a very interesting few days.
On Day 2, the Middle Plenary by Prof Dame Julia Goodfellow, Vice-Chancellor, University of Kent focused on Keeping Universities Transformational, for individuals, our communities, our society and our future.
There were a number of exhibition stands in the main hall introducing products and services offered by relevant sector bodies and suppliers for delegates including Turnitin UK and HEFCE. Having a keen interest in photography I put the time in-between sessions to good use sightseeing around the Royal Armouries!
The Closing Plenary on Day 3 by Prof Sir Anthony Seldon, Vice-Chancellor, University of Buckingham on Leadership and Mindfulness in Higher Education was compelling and inspiring and by the end of the session Sir Anthony had the whole audience on their feet, dancing to the tune of Happy by Pharrell Williams! It was such a fantastic way to finish the conference and I left with a smile on my face and feeling happy!
To sum up, it was a fantastic first experience, at a fabulous venue. I would certainly recommend the AUA Annual Conference to administrator colleagues.