Published on Thu Feb 8, 2024 by David J Colbran
The Times Higher Education (THE) Awards – widely referred to as the ‘Oscars of higher education’ – are the biggest celebration in the Higher Education calendar, attracting hundreds of fantastic entries from individuals, teams and institutions, and from all corners of the UK and Ireland.
Nearly a thousand people gathered to celebrate UK higher education success stories. Now in its 19th year it was the first THE Awards to be held outside London, at the ACC Conference Centre in Liverpool.
The Awards themselves are just one part of an annual gathering of academics and experts, with a 2 day conference preceding the gala evening itself. The event organisers had a clear vision of what they needed in terms of photography and video work. With 2 programmes and multi-room sessions happening at the same time, the brief for the conference and awards was pretty demanding.
At an initial meeting I explained my experience working at similar conferences, for example The British Cardiovascular Society Annual Conference, a 3 day event, including a gala dinner and with over 2,000 cardiovascular healthcare professionals, held at Manchester Central conference centre. And The British Orthopaedic Trainees’ Association (BOTA) congress in Edinburgh, which had 30 plus sessions over 4 days and again a black-tie awards gala evening - including a Scottish Ceilidh, which was brilliant !
And then I recommended to THE team a videographer that I had worked with before - Jamie over at Jamshakeshaft Video and I was chuffed when he and his team were confirmed on board as well.
Beyond the logistics of covering the presentations and the exhibition, the brief included standards such as registration, exhibition stands, and lots of delegates interacting. During the breaks over coffee, but also in the presenter sessions - asking questions, laughing, working with colleagues in the seminar style meetings. All good !
One unusual requirement was for extended coverage during the Awards session. They needed photos of the award being handed over on stage from the VIP, but also some more posed images against a media wall straight after presentation. With 20 awards planned in just one hour, this wasn't something I could feasible do on my own. Fortunately I have some reliable, trusted colleagues here on Merseyside and had the wonderful Michael K help me out this time michaelkirkham.co.uk. The winners also were video interviewed by Jam post presentation and he provided a runner to lead them over quickly. So with a bit of planning the team worked together and got the images and content the marketing team required.
Finally we provided rush images straight after the awards, of both the stage hand overs and the posed media wall images before midnight, so the organisers could hit social media channels and press deadlines. Yep it was a late one and we were on site from 8am until 1am !
A few stats - 30 priority awards images delivered within an hour of ceremony finishing, 100 rush images provided during the conference and 700 plus fully edited images from 2 days of conference supplied within 48 hours of event finishing.
On to more images from the Awards evening .................
University of the Year
Anglia Ruskin University
THE Outstanding Achievement Award
Dame Nancy Rothwell
Business School of the Year
Huddersfield Business School, University of Huddersfield
International Collaboration of the Year
Sheffield Hallam University, in collaboration with the United Nations’ International Organization for Migration
Knowledge Exchange/Transfer Initiative of the Year
Outstanding Contribution to Environmental Leadership
University of Reading
Outstanding Contribution to Equality, Diversity and Inclusion
Cardiff Metropolitan University
Outstanding Contribution to the Local Community
University of Plymouth
Outstanding Entrepreneurial University
Royal Northern College of Music
Outstanding Library Team
London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
Outstanding Research Supervisor of the Year
Mark Brown, Royal Holloway, University of London
Outstanding Support for Students
Research Project of the Year: Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Liverpool John Moores University
Research Project of the Year: STEM
University of Nottingham
If you want to see more, the full collection from the Awards evening is on their Flickr THE Awards Photography Liverpool 2023
And if you have got this far, thank you for reading - for more Conference Photography check my main page via the link, or give me a call to discuss further, thanks, David
If you want something else to read, check one of my most popular posts - its had thousands of hits since it was published - 7 Tips For Hiring A Conference PhotographerTags: conference, business, commercial, THE, highereduction, education, awards, gala, evening
Author: David J Colbran
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I absolutely love the spontaneity of events. Whether you are throwing a glittering gala, a corporate event, or arranging a business conference, I'll document the event and share the events story and spirit through photography.
"As a new business, it was very important to me to get the right publicity photographs for my marketing materials. When I met David, he listened carefully to what I was trying to achieve with my brand, and then produced fabulous photographs that were exactly what I needed. He was extremely professional throughout but also nice and friendly. Myself and my clients found it easy to relax with him, which was essential to create the right vibe for the shoot. I would not hesitate to recommend him to anyone."