Martin Reid of the College of Occupational Therapists (COT) tells the story of Conference 2016, revealing that it was the biggest ever conference delivered by the OT, and that it trended on Twitter each day (in spite of the major news stories in the UK at the end of June).
The 2016 College of Occupational Therapists Annual Conference was the biggest conference delivered by the occupational therapy’s professional body ever. With one short of 1,500 delegates on site, of which nearly 450 were students, it was so gratifying being a part of such a vibrant and inspiring event.
From the first moment it opened, it felt different. There was a genuine vibe, where delegates readily mingled, or in business talk, networked.
There were screams of delight when delegates, at all stages of their careers, met their occupational therapy idols; and the discussions and questions generated during sessions really broadened the learning experiences of all who were there.
Conference gets trending
The reach of conference was phenomenal, with over 33 million twitter impressions, championed by the Conference twitteratti (a fantastic and dedicated group who reports on Conference and also supports delegates new to the world of social media).
Delegates embraced social media to the extent Conference was trending each day on twitter. At one time Conference was 2nd only to Boris Johnson, and one ahead of Michael Gove! Cast your mind back to the news coverage at the end of June and you will realise what a media coup that was for the COT Conference!
Delegates were also enthusiastic about the dedicated exhibition…seeing products and services available to the occupational therapy profession. Alongside were the student zone, wheelchair sport demonstration and the Guardian as a media partner. Indeed, there were so many many exclusive extras for delegates to enjoy.
Conference couldn’t be delivered without the support of its sponsors, of which Pearson Assessment is one. Pearson’s presence is so appreciated by the delegates. The opportunity to have conversations and exchange ideas on what matters to them in their day to day work and see what support is available can save valuable research time and enhance the services they offer to their clients.
2017 moves into view
So what are the arrangements for 2017? The 2017 Conference dates are Monday 19 June to Tuesday 20 June 2017, and we want to build on the success of this year. We have ambitious plans to have even more delegates attending. For the first time Conference will be held at the International Conference Centre in the centre of Birmingham City - a spectacular venue. It will run over two days and the Specialist Section Older People will be running their conference alongside the College’s.