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Key international event goes virtual

International events have often been a fantastic way to share experiences and best practice from around the world. However, hosting such events amidst a global pandemic has become almost impossible to achieve.

When an ERASMUS+ European universities project was set to host an international event in the UK, its hosts turned to Warwick Conferences to help bring together over 600 attendees to enjoy a memorable online experience.

Going Virtual

The EUTOPIA community is made up of six universities from across Europe, and was formed to build, in the long-term, a unique and daring alliance of transformative and engaged institutions. In November, the University of Warwick was set to host EUTOPIA Week, bringing together students, researchers, subject matter experts and strategic partners from all over the world. However, the arrival of the pandemic and social distancing measures meant that the event could not physically take place on the campus as planned.

Responsible for organising the event, the team at the University of Warwick quickly realised that an alternative platform was needed and turned their attention towards hosting a virtual week. Organising a series of events - which included Q&A sessions and keynote presentations - in a virtual environment was a key challenge and so the organisers sought support from Warwick Conferences’ award-winning team.

Warwick Conferences suggested the use of its recently launched cloud-based technology to host the event. With experts on hand to help with the high-tech service, the technology ensured that all attendees could access the virtual event, no matter where they were based across Europe.

In addition to providing support with the technology, the Warwick Conferences team helped to prepare speakers ahead of talks by carrying out test calls to avoid technical difficulties. With six different universities in separate locations, time zones had to be accounted for when planning the event and creating recordings. Therefore, Warwick Conferences organised pre-recordings of speakers who could not make the event itself so that all sessions could go ahead, as well as recording the live sessions to later be shared online.

Successful international events during lockdown

With more than 600 participants from 30 countries signing up across the week, the event was a success. Crucially, attendees were able to engage in workshops and discussions about education models, inclusion, sustainability and major cultural events. For those unable to attend, each of the sessions were recorded and posted on the EUTOPIA Week website and YouTube channel. The University of Warwick’s EUTOPIA team also set-up a sub-site to showcase the local facilities. As the conference was hosted virtually, this site allowed delegates to experience the local amenities.

Emily Lim, Project Lead at the University of Warwick, added:

“The support we received from Warwick Conferences was fantastic. Hosting the event virtually was a challenge we hadn’t anticipated at the beginning of 2020, but it was wonderful to see such high engagement levels from participants. The open sessions were particularly popular, with over 200 delegates joining the ‘EUTOPIAN Futures’ talks and over 100 joining the ‘EUTOPIA Presents’ sessions.

One of the biggest challenges of the event was thinking of ways to showcase the University to the international community. Normally, we would be able to host a tour of the facilities, however the virtual nature of the event meant we had to find creative ways. Working with Warwick Conferences, we were able to share several videos to help highlight the campus and student experience, which went down really well with guests.”

Get in touch today

Warwick Conferences offers a wide range of event packages to suit individual requirements, including hybrid and virtual offers. Get in touch with the team to find out about the most suitable option for your event.