The social dimension of IWMW events has always been regarded as an important aspect for developing and supporting the institutional web management community and this year was no exception. The main events we had planned were the event dinner on the first evening and a barbecue on the second evening, with various additional activities taking place during the event. But in addition to the planned social activities the England football team playing in the World Cup semi-final at the same time as the conference dinner provided an unexpected challenge!

A summary of the feedback we received is given below.

General Comments

Comments about the social activities included:

  • These were all great fun. The food was amazing, and it was great to go out a couple of nights as well.
  • Good food, good drink, good atmosphere – what more is needed!
  • Excellent social events. Good food and venues.
  • Excellent, enjoyed them all, good organisation and good vibes all round.
  • I thought the social events were really well run this year. The team at York were fantastic. The format always works well (more formal sit down event one night and then less formal the following night).
  • Very well organized. Thanks keep it on
  • All good. Food was great, glad we could put some nice weather on for it in York 🙂
  • Great way to network in a really informal setting and get a feel for who people are as well as what their institutions are going through/ aiming for.
  • Really enjoyed the dinner banter and quiz on Wednesday, would have preferred more table seating at the bbq
  • Excellent social events – I liked the token system for getting drinks. Having the BBQ was good as it saved us having to go elsewhere for food like we have done at previous IWMW meetings. This meant we were able to socialise more easily.
  • Enjoyed both the dinner and the barbecue as a chance to meet people.
  • Felt that they struck the right balance, and were inclusive for drinkers and non-drinkers.
  • Well organised, good food and loved the quizzes.

The Conference Dinner

Comments about the conference dinner included:

  • The 4-course meal was delicious, very fancy!
  • I enjoyed the meal and the BBQ was very nice indeed.

The Barbecue

Comments about the barbecue included:

  • Loved the barbeque also – very nice salad.
  • Great, loved the bbq, should keep doing this as a tradition.
  • Really nicely put together. BBQ in particular was very good. A very friendly and welcoming community which made life a lot easier for newbies like me!
  • And finally the BBQ on the final day was great, good food, venue and company, couldn’t ask for more!
  • Very handy to have two events – BBQ especially.
  • The BBQ was fun too – thanks for laying on the excellent weather.
  • Really good! Particularly the BBQ!

The Football!

As mentioned earlier England’s unexpected success at the World Cup which led to their appearance in the semi-final caused some last-minute panic for the event organisers! An influx of emails asking what plans there were for watching the match confirmed our suspicions that we would need to make an effort to provide viewing opportunities during the game, despite our original plans the entire the meal provided networking opportunities for delegates.

All the comments which contained a reference to football are given below. As can be seen the majority welcomed the decision we made:

  • Fantastic. Thank you for sorting out the big screen for the football – super appreciated.
  • Great – really well put together and accommodating the football was very generous
  • Thank you for sorting out the big screen for the football – super appreciated.
  • The 4-course meal was delicious, very fancy! And massive thanks to whoever managed to get the football shown, the atmosphere in that room was really awesome!
  • Spot on. And thanks for organising for us to watch the football – effort very much appreciated.
  • Excellent service, good food and enjoyed watching the football
  • Thanks for sorting the big screen for the football!
  • Really good! Friendly and good fun. Football screen was a plus!
  • I enjoyed both social events – thanks to the organisers for sorting out the football coverage at short notice!
  • I enjoyed what I joined! It was a bit of a shame that the conference coincided with the World Cup semi (but I appreciated that there were efforts to make that available).

with a number of comments appreciative of the difficulties we faced:

  • Conference dinner was good. Sat beside some really interesting people who weren’t all that bothered by the football. Having the football on was fine even though I wasn’t interested in it.
  • I’m not a football fan, but the timing coinciding with the World Cup might have helped unite folk outside of our shared work – good planning 😉
  • Showing the football at dinner sucked the energy out of the room, but I know you didn’t have much choice!
  • Opportunities to get everyone bonded were waylaid by the football.
  • Dinner was good but the football seriously impacted on the atmosphere / topics of conversation. An issue with no right answer and pretty much out with the organisers’ control but a shame from my perspective
  • Shame about football clash, but such brilliant social events!

although a couple of comments were critical of the decision we made:

  • Excellent despite their needing to be a TV for the football at the conference meal.
  • Well organised and appropriate, though found the football pretty offensive, especially when the volume was turned up at the end. It was a shame to let this interrupt what could have been productive and enjoyable conversations.

There were also comments which were critical of certain aspects of the social events and of the accommodation which we will pass on to the University of York conference office.