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  • Writer's pictureAndrew Lansley

NOEA November with a BAFA bash

Last week was filled with tech talk and donut discussions as I continued to my way around the best of UK events conferences.

First up was a trip to the beautiful Bath for the annual National Outdoor Events Association Conference and Awards. It was great to be asked by the lovely Al Turner to fill in as a speaker on events technologies, and equally fun to get to talk about AI, XR environments and how Cheltenham is such a great place to work in this area, being a great spot for the tech and culture communities to collide that it is.

It was also fabulous to see so much representation from Gloucestershire in the room, with no less than two directors from 2000trees in attendance (with Brendan on the delightful SAG panel session) as well as lecturers and students from the BA Events Management course at the University of Gloucestershire, who provided a highlight of the day with their statements on the future of the industry, focussed on sustainable practice.

One day and a trip to Manchester later and I found myself on the closing panel of BAFA 2023 - the British Arts Festival Association conference. Having had the pleasure of meeting and getting to know Fiona Goh over the course of the year I was honoured to be asked to sit on a panel about sustainable practice, discusing the work of Cheltenham Festivals and the upcoming Green Events Code pilot starting in 2024.

The event was held at Factory International within the stunning new Aviva Studios, an incredible venue for the city and an enviable multi-use space that makes you wonder why a cultural asset like this (at any scale) just isn't a thing in every town and city across the UK.

It was brilliant to meet loads of people I've only ever seen on screens, but especially to be on a panel with Feimatta Conteh - a tour de force within the sustainable/culture community as the Environmental Manager at Factory International and beyond, it what must have been a bittersweet moment as she will soon be leaving this fabulous new space to take up a role at ACE as their Senior Manager for Environmental Responsibility. Literally couldn't think of anyone better for the job - ACE are very lucky indeed.

The panel also featured a brilliant presentation on meaningful carbon exchange from Tamar Brüggerman, co-director of Wonderfeel Festival, and was chaired by Professor Jane Ali-Knight, with whom I was lucky to share a lunch convo that covered everything from cats to cohorts and from daughters to doctorates!

A brilliant week of making connections, seeing 2D humans in 3D for the first time and a couple of great opportunities to talk about positively about sustainable events practice and projects headed our way in 2024.

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