MEETinLEEDS celebrates success of Communications Matters

MEETinLEEDS, the conference facilities for the University of Leeds, is celebrating success following the Communication Matters International Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) Conference, the UK’s leading annual AAC event.

Attracting more than 430 delegates from 19 countries including Japan, the USA and Denmark, the AAC provided a forum to meet and exchange information with an array of representatives across multiple disciplines, including AAC users, parents, personal assistants, professionals and more.

This year the conference followed the theme of Strictly Come Dancing and offered delegates the chance to ‘strictly’ attend sessions about all things AAC. Keynote speakers included the director of the Centre for Literacy and Disability Studies at The University of North Carolina, Professor Karen Erickson, who delivered the keynote address. In addition to this, performance poet and artist ‘The Shouting Mute’ also presented a plenary address, where AAC users had the opportunity to take part in a unique poetry workshop.

Held across the university’s venue facilities for its seventh year, delegates also experienced a supplier exhibition in the Parkinson Court building, while residential accommodation was held in the Storm Jameson Court hall of residence and surrounding areas. Delegates also enjoyed a conference dinner and disco, keeping in line with the theme.

Strictly Come Dancing proved a popular theme

Emily Campbell, charity manager at Communication Matters (ISAAC UK), said: “We’re thrilled with the success of the Communication Matters conference. The team at MEETinLEEDS have been a huge support to us, both through their services and through the vital CAUK training they received. We hope that the delegates enjoyed their time at the university and took away valuable information which will help to shape the future of communication processes.”

Harriet Boatwright, sales and marketing manager at MEETinLEEDS, said: “We’re delighted to have supported the Communication Matters conference for the seventh year. The Communication Access (CAUK) training was an extremely important aspect of the conference preparation and is demonstrative of how we work in partnership with our conference organisers to provide the best customer experience to their conference community whilst on campus. We are delighted to have been able to offer our support, and commitment to such an important conference at the University.”

Up to 20 per cent of the UK’s population experience communication difficulty at some point in their lives, and more than 10 per cent of all children have a long-term communication need. In preparation for the conference, the team at MEETinLEEDS all undertook face-to-face training with the aim of helping trainees identify ‘good communication’. MEETinLEEDS was also awarded the Early Adopter status for the Communication Access symbol last year; a symbol dedicated to indicating spaces that are accessible for people with communication difficulties.