Pre Con

Building a ‘Networking Garden’

Getting ready for 3,000 attendees at the IATEFL Conference & Exhibition, in Brighton, England.

IATEFL Conference & Exhibition

Event Details

April 10-13, 2018

The Brighton Centre

Brighton, England

OVERVIEW Approximately 3,000 teachers, university lecturers, materials writers, publishers, school administrative employees, researchers, and students from more than 100 countries will visit the seaside town of Brighton, England, for the four-day International Association of Teachers of English as a Foreign Language (IATEFL) Conference & Exhibition, an event featuring plenaries, talks, workshops, presentations, networking opportunities, and 40 exhibitors.

CHALLENGES Over the last five decades, Kent, U.K.–based IATEFL has held its annual conference in 25 different locations, primarily in the U.K. due to delegate preference. “This continuous rotation of venues and destinations has advantages in welcoming delegates to different parts of the U.K.,” said Jon Burton, chief executive of IATEFL, “but can also be challenging as we don’t benefit from the familiarity and continuity of using the same location each year.” This year, the event returns to Brighton — “one of our most popular venues,” Burton said — for a seventh time. “Being close to London and the main airports and ports, but also being a lovely seaside destination and a city with a high number of course providers make it an ideal location for our event.”

INITIATIVES To enhance the delegate experience this year, attendees will have the opportunity to sit down and chat with fellow delegates between sessions in a park-style “networking garden” — complete with picnic benches, plants, and artificial grass — located in Brighton Centre’s exhibition hall. “Having a park or garden feel,” Burton said, “will make a clear break from the more vibrant, busy, and professional feel of the rest of the exhibition space.”

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Casey Gale

Casey Gale is associate editor of Convene.