Conference Roundup from the Chair of Conference and Events Committee
Conference provides us with an opportunity to learn, to challenge our thinking, to share, to kickstart our energy, to meet new people, to connect with those we’ve missed, to laugh, to cry, to process, to eat, drink and sleep.
National Conference 2023 in Cardiff certainly provided more than a pinch of each of those ingredients! Across the weekend of 21 – 23 April, almost 250 people came together to participate in this year’s event. We offered pre-conference activity for those who arrived ahead of time and held diverse group sessions to bookend the weekend; the first of which was the very first live podcast recording for the popular ‘Three People in Your Head’ team – Matt Taylor and John Fleming, and final session - being delivered in both Welsh and English by Rosalind Sharples and Rachel Knight - closed the conference with words to help delegates digest their experiences with colleagues.
Our keynote presenter: Doctor Tanya Banfield, shared with us how to work confidently with neurodivergent people and was so taken with the TA world that she intends to build TA principals into her own work. 43 workshop leaders between them presented 30 sessions: a total of 73 workshop hours covering material with a broad range of subjects from across the four fields!
We must not forget to thank our Workshop Scientific Committee, who back in 2022 reviewed all workshop proposals, and determined the choice of material for our programme. Thank you to Bee Cass, Chdel Cooke and Graham Jarvis for carrying out this important task.
The popular UKATA Medals Ceremony was extended to include the 2023 exam successes and was organised and hosted by Sally Trevaskis. Our keynote speaker, Doctor Tanya Banfield presented the medals. Last year’s medal winners: Ian Argent, Liza Heatley, Geoff Hopping, Carol Wain and Mark Widdowson were re-recognised for their success, and those 2022 winners present took great pleasure in introducing and announcing this year’s awardees: Beren Aldridge, Karen Ceserano, Suna Guven, Emma Haynes and Rosalind Sharples. Congratulations to all of you! Bev Gibbons announced the UKATA exam successes from earlier in the week: Rosalind Sharples TSTA(P), Rosie Harris – CTA – P, Vicky Strowger CTA - Pto thunderous applause, and Sally Trevaskis read a moving tribute to Nathan Gould, who was posthumously awarded a UKATA medal.
A special ‘thank you’ must go to our sponsors. The Marketplace room served as a central hub for the event, and delegates were able to meet some of our exhibiting sponsors: The Berne, Northside Training, Physis Scotland and TA East. Another sponsor, Functional Fluency, launched their latest work The Fluent Leader, and several of the authors were present to sign copies, made available from the extensive range of books on sale from Bookmark.
After the gala dinner, we enjoyed entertainment from The Family, who presented an old-fashioned Welsh Twmpath to set those with sufficient energy to dancing, swirling and twirling, followed by a rousing folk rock set which continued late into the evening.
For me, it was such a pleasure to see everyone again and to be met with such warmth and appreciation.
Finally, I would like to extend HUGE thanks to Claire McManus in the UKATA Office who was unable to join us at the weekend but has tirelessly supported me over the months in pulling the whole event together; and of course, Carol Masih and Avalon Stockford who were instrumental in helping to keep the show on the road during the event.
Keep an eye on the UKATA social media pages, the website news tab and future newsletters for further conference feedback. Don’t forget to ‘save the date’ 19th– 21st April 2024 as we take all roads to the North and to Bradford for Conference 2024 – our 50th anniversary of UKATA and its founding bodies!
Chair of UKATA Conference and Events Committee