Getting the events industry back on its feet

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Ashmolean Museum in Oxford has delivered a successful ‘proof of concept’ hybrid event showing that the events sector can adapt to the unusual times we’re all experiencing.

Ashmolean 5The Ashmolean Museum, an accredited COVID-secure venue, with appropriate safety measures in place, piloted a ‘proof of concept’ tour and meeting hybrid event this week, proving it is possible to plan and implement safe and enjoyable events with both in-person and virtual participation.

The Ashmolean Museum re-opened to the public on the 10 August 2020, proudly sporting the ‘Good to Go’ Visit England accreditation – and visitors have loved returning to see the collections and dwell in the spaces.

Prior to the opening the event and operations teams considered every detail  – from pre-event communication with all participants to supplying Ashmolean face coverings and individual hand sanitiser to each participant and a fabulous virtual show round of the spaces and a behind the scenes look at current conservation work by Daniel Bone, Head of Conservation.    Ashmolean

Keeping abreast of government guidelines has been crucial every step of the way to ensure participant safety. Adaptability of all involved has been key. The event went ahead on Tuesday as planned but the team were ready to move to a backup plan – taking the entire event online – should a local lockdown have been imposed.

The concept event was attended by Oxford event professionals who meet weekly on Zoom, which is chaired by Amy Hewick of Hewick Events who also supported the delivery of the hybrid event. Amy Hewick described the event as “one of the safest events” she has delivered. She explained “The venue is excellent to work with and no stone had been left unturned.”

The Ashmolean Museum had mitigated risk from COVID-19 by ensuring a risk assessment was compiled and shared; there was effective and clear communication in advance of the event; hand sanitiser points were available throughout the Museum; an enhanced cleaning schedule was in place; and attendees wore a face covering whilst moving around inside the Museum. As the Museum has large open spaces, attendees were always able to comfortably social distance at 2 metres and attended the Museum tour in small groups.

Ashmolean 3Wendy Ball, Head of Events at the Ashmolean Museum, who is part of Oxford Events Real Chat, added: “Teamwork and collaboration enabled us to deliver this pilot event. Everyone involved worked tirelessly to ensure we delivered on our three key principles – Protect, Respect and Enjoy… Business clients are eager to again meet one another in person and we are now ready and confident to help them achieve this, safely.”