19th May 2022

AUDE Annual Conference 2022 with ParalympicsGB

Watch the recordings of this year's AUDE Annual Conference online, including the plenary session by Penny Briscoe OBE, Director of Sports at ParalympicsGB.

Sir Robert McAlpine was proud to support the AUDE Conference and feature our partnership with ParalympicsGB with guest speaker, Penny Briscoe.  

A conference with a difference, and perhaps a sign of things to come, this year’s AUDE conference was held both online and in person at the University of Birmingham. We then hosted an after-conference site visit to One Centenary Way, our 14-storey city centre development in the heart of Birmingham.

Watch the recordings of the online conference sessions on the Aude website. 

The digital conference

With over 500 delegates registered and able to join in live, or alternatively watch on playback at their convenience, the digital conference was two days of jam-packed online sessions. It covered a huge range of topical Higher Education issues and updates, plus many interesting out-of-sector plenary guests who provided us with a fresh perspective that also challenged established thinking.

It kicked off with Jamil Qureshi, Performance Coach and Psychologist, who provided a super engaging and cheerful way to look at how we motivate ourselves and our teams with his discussion called ‘Turning Ambition into Achievement’.

The Conference continued with insightful sessions containing useful nuggets that we can all use, such as the Hawkins Brown’s team addressing ‘The Future of Education, Trends and Opportunities’, and Atkins looking at ‘Has the Student Landscape changed forever, post-Covid-19 ?'

Andy Nolan (University of Nottingham) and Roddy Yarr (University of Strathclyde) addressed ‘Sustainable Placemaking’ over two sessions, which argued that if universities want to achieve their carbon reduction targets, they’ll have to work closely with other public sector bodies. That’s not all: the wider private sector will need to be involved, especially energy and transport companies. Once a clear plan is in place and we start to build these relationships, then exciting things can start happening.

Then came our collaboration with The AUDE FM Strategic Interest Group, with Russell Day, Education Sector Lead at Sir Robert McAlpine, and Nick Leach, Head of Digital Construction at Sir Robert McAlpine, who have been assisting the Group’s research into the ways in which technology might support future FM provision. You'll need to watch this space for further updates on this research programme. 

Penny Briscoe OBEFinally, Penny Briscoe, OBE, Director of Sport at the British Paralympic Association, hosted a plenary session introduced by Russell Day.

We are very proud of our partnership with ParalympicsGB which began in 2019 and will continue until Paris 2024. 

Penny was delighted to support us at the AUDE conference, ‘that’s what partnership’s about’ she said. 

Penny’s story about her ‘Friday 13th Challenges’, proved insightful. She shared when her team were met with eight separate crises, one after the other, which resonated well with the audience. This was a lesson in calm leadership and tackling complex problems against all odds. Penny’s motto ‘still standing’ summed up the team’s notable performance.

Over a hundred delegates joined the online session to hear from Penny, as we remembered some inspiring moments we’ve shared. With Russell Day hosting the Q&A, it was clear that the audience had been fully engaged and appreciated Penny’s insight.

You can watch the recording of Penny's plenary session via the Aude website

Back together for the first time in three years

With all the virtual meetings concluded, it was off to the University of Birmingham for the first in-person conference that the AUDE community has held in three years.

Notable sessions in the action packed programme included: 

David Irvine, from Florida State University, whose 'Dealing in Greys’ talk was extremely engaging. It was interesting to hear such strong alignment with the challenges that our international colleagues face, which found great affinity within the audience.

Paul Morris and Sean Wolfe presented ‘The future of Estate Management data capture and use’,  which showed how we are ‘making data work for us’ and ensuring that its easily captured.

The Conference concluded with a Gala Dinner, which was held in the University’s Great Hall, the wonderful Grade II listed centrepiece of the Edgbaston Campus. It was great to see a number of awards: the Emerging Talent Award shared by two stars from the Universities of Derby and Warwick, the AUDE 2021 Summer School Team Award, that Sir Robert McAlpine sponsored and helped judge; and the Chair’s Award for Long Term Contribution, given to a recently retired and extremely well-respected sector stalwart.

Review the slides of the In-Person Conference sessions on the AUDE website. 


Finally, we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to showcase one of our city centre projects, where  invited delegates joined us and members of the One Centenary Way site team. Our team took our guests to the 14th floor, where they enjoyed panoramic views of Birmingham. 


The next chapter…

We’ve already made our suggestions for topics that might be addressed next year, which include:

  • Best practice and best value procurement during uncertain times
  • The ‘Learnplace’ of the future and also a rear-view mirror look, asking whether hindsight is a wonderful thing, i.e. knowing what we know now (not just Covid-19 but other factors)
  • What would we have done differently ten years ago?
  • How might this help us learn to prepare a new approach for our future?

We look forward to continuing to support members in partnership with AUDE and creating more though-provoking and stimulating face-to-face meetings, workshops and seminars.

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