The Ashmolean Museum, an accredited COVID-secure venue, (having recently achieved their AIM Secure accreditation through the Meetings Industry Association) piloted a ‘proof of concept’ hybrid event this week, proving it is possible to plan and implement safe and enjoyable events with both in-person and virtual participation.
Prior to the event, the Ashmolean event and operations teams considered every detail – from pre-event communication with all participants to providing Ashmolean face coverings and individual hand sanitisers on arrival. Guests were greeted and welcomed by Wendy Ball, Head of Events at the Ashmolean. Wendy outlined the measures that had been put in place to ensure the safety of all guests and followed with a guided tour of some of the galleries before escorting guests to the rooftop restaurant for refreshments and the meeting. Amy Hewick of Hewick Events who supported the delivery of the hybrid event, started the meeting by welcoming the virtual participants and introducing the Museum’s Director, Dr Xa Sturgis, who gave a message of support. There followed a fabulous virtual show round of the Museum’s event spaces and a behind the scenes look at current conservation work by Daniel Bone, Head of Conservation. Sarah Threlfall of Brightspace Events and Ginger Jansen, Event Operations Manager at the Ashmolean gave a presentation and led the discussion on the importance of producing robust event risk assessments.
The concept event was attended by Oxford event professionals, all part of the Oxford Events Real Chat group, chaired by Amy Hewick. Amy described the event as “one of the safest events” she had been involved with. 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 able to remain at a comfortable social distance of 2 metres throughout.
Wendy Ball, Head of Events at the Ashmolean Museum 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.”
Marie O’Connor, Head of Conference Oxford, said “It was a pleasure to attend such a well organised hybrid event in a world-renowned setting. The Ashmolean Museum has led the way for COVID Secure hybrid events in Oxfordshire”.