As the Scottish poet/bard Robert Burns put it, “the best-laid schemes o’ mice an ‘men gang aft agley“. The 2010 Transition Network conference had been planned to take place near Forest Row in Sussex on the 29th-31st May 2010. It was all going so well. Then the news reached us that Emerson College, which was to have provided the bulk of the accommodation the event required, has gone into recievership, and will no longer be available. So, with little more than a couple of months remaining, our plans have indeed, as Burns put it “gang agley”. So, we’d love to invite any suggestions or brainwaves you folks might have for an alternative venue. Here are the criteria for what we need;
- A room which can hold 350-450 people. Ideally a room where people can move around rather than sit theatre style, though we could work around either.
- A group of other rooms with capacity of 30-70 for workshops. Depending on size of conference would need up to 12 of these.
- Easy access to venue – this could either be via good transport connections, or a site which is residential for all or most of the attendees so that they can walk everywhere once they have arrived.
- Easy access to food and space to serve it for 350-450 people. Either catered by the venue, organised by us – local caterer, or local food stalls etc.; or sufficient restaurants etc. near to the venue
- Somewhere that shares the Transition philosophy and is easy going about us sticking stuff all over their walls!
- A favourable price for the venue ideally including tables, chairs, some screens, flipchart holders, wireless etc. etc. Obviously some of these can be worked around, but it is good to know what is in the price. Also, good to know what staff support is included and insurance.
Cities have an advantage in that there tends to be more accommodation available. But that can work as a disadvantage in that everybody ends up being split up all over town in the evenings and the travel stresses a lot of people out. In order of ideal types of venue I guess we have the following:
- A residential college. Maybe 50-100 camping, the rest to be accommodated in hall of residence or similar. Into sustainability and therefore willing to work with us on providing excellent food etc.
- If that isn’t possible then a good venue with lots of rooms for workshops etc., and then a hall of residence somewhere nearby for evening events and accommodation. So everyone moves from the one place to the other after the daytime activities.
- A venue with some residential/camping which has nearby, walkable or reachable by public transport other accommodation options (this would have been Forest Row with Emerson College).
- A good venue in a city (which should have a lot of accommodation options nearby and transport which runs in the evening).
The date is flexible, but any thoughts on potential venues would be much appreciated. Time to pop those thinking caps on…..