Cardiff, September 2017
Cardiff was the destination for the largest criminology gathering outside the US when 1,070 international delegates flew in from all over the world for the four day event. Hosted by Cardiff University’s School of Social Sciences, the conference used several city venues, making full use of the compact nature of the city and the superb range of Cardiff’s venues. St David’s Hall, the award-winning, 1,956 seat National Concert Hall and Conference Centre of Wales, proved a fantastically versatile venue, hosting the welcome reception, awards ceremony, conference plenary sessions, paper sessions, a poster exhibition and the farewell party with vintage live-themed band and disco, not to mention a distinctive Welsh flavour added by the Cardiff Arms Park Male Choir.
The majority of the conference sessions were held in three university buildings within easy walking distance of St David’s Hall, right in the heart of the city. Any organiser knows the potential logistical headaches that multi venue use can bring, but organiser Professor Mike Levi, Professor of Criminology in the School of Social Sciences at Cardiff University, explained how they were overcome, “Probably our main challenge was managing the conference over two venue sites: the three buildings at the Cathays Park University Campus and St David’s Hall. We mitigated this logistical challenge by having a really informative conference booklet, including maps and city details, a conference twitter account and app, staff and student volunteers directing and advising delegates, good communication between us organisers based at the two sites, and a Cardiff Council golf buggy to address accessibility needs – the latter was brilliant."
Accommodation was arranged by the Cardiff Convention Bureau with delegates benefitting from the wide choice of city centre hotels, with the additional option of university accommodation. Twenty-one hotels, including Marriott, Hilton, Mercure Cardiff, Holland House and Future Inns were used as well as some university accommodation. At the conference’s successful conclusion, Prof Mike Levi said, “This was the largest criminology gathering outside the US, and both the University and St. David’s Hall coped brilliantly with the range of people from all over Europe, Australasia, Japan, North and South America, and the Middle East. The vast majority had never been to Cardiff before, and mostly loved it, especially the friendliness of the people, our student volunteers and professional services staff, quite apart from the content of the sessions. This made a lasting impression - as did the integration of several seasons’ weather into each day!”