A behind the scenes look at preparing for Congress 2014

Friday, May 9, 2014

Brad Clarke, Project Manager for Congress 2014, Brock University

We’re now just two weeks away from hosting Canada’s largest academic gathering on our University’s campus situated in a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve atop the Niagara Escarpment in Ontario’s Niagara peninsula.

Though we welcome thousands of conference guests to Brock each year, this is the single largest conference our University has hosted since the last time Congress, then The Learneds, came to campus in 1996.

With registration currently at more than 6,700 attendees, our team is busy reconfiguring and transforming our campus to accommodate the burst of creative energy that this event will bring to Niagara.

The transformation is a lot like when a sports organization switches a playing field from a hockey rink to a basketball court, or vice versa. It’s a completely different game.

We’re busy co-ordinating more than 2,500 requests for meeting spaces during Congress. This includes converting more than 60 residence lounges, labs and studios into functional spaces for academic meetings. We’re also reconfiguring our seminar-style classrooms to accommodate theatre-style seating with presenter tables and all of the necessary audio/video requirements.

All of these little changes add up to some big numbers for our logistics teams. As a result, we’ve managed to source, both from on and off campus, more than 2,000 extra chairs, 300 six-foot tables, 100 digital projectors, 100 laptops, and 20 A/V carts.

Hospitality-wise, we’re also busy planning to feed our guests. There’s been more than 900 catering orders placed, which could be anything from a coffee break to a banquet for 600 people, to a lunch reception or book launch event.

We’re also licensing 30 venues for more than 70 special events and receptions. And we’re creating two new venues just for Congress — “Knowledge on Tap,” an enormous beer garden; and the “Corks and Forks” wine bar. Both of these venues will showcase food and drink sourced from our own backyard, including Niagara breweries and wineries.

Our team looks forward to welcoming you to our campus and to helping make this the best Congress ever. Cheers.


Congress of the Humanities and Social SciencesCongress 2014