Having headed up professional events for over 20 years, I can honestly say there is no other event quite like the BSAVA Congress.
Association events are always uniquely purposeful, driven by the passion of the organisation they represent. In that respect, BSAVA Congress is no different. There is a tangible legacy and impact in providing world-renowned CPD for the small animal veterinary community that benefits its members, clients and patients.
An event by the profession for the profession
What makes the event unique is the extent to which it is driven and shaped by BSAVA members. As visitors, they are the beating heart of the event; as volunteers, they are also the backbone of the congress.
The programme committee – made up entirely of vets and nurses – is wholly responsible for the direction, format and themes of the programme. This means, unusually, we have truly independent CPD designed by the veterinary professions for the professions. It keeps the programme “real”: applicable and practical, yet innovative and full of the latest research.
The essence [of BSAVA Congress] is the intangible “something” that lies in the conversations and the connections made at the event
Planning the 2021 virtual congress made all of us at BSAVA contemplate what makes the congress “a BSAVA Congress” and the results were unanimous; the essence is the intangible “something” that lies in the conversations and the connections made at the event. Our challenge last year was how to bring that online. In 2022, invigorated by the new venue, we shared the committee’s view that we could, and should, actively create opportunities for more “essence” of BSAVA Congress at Manchester. It’s not good enough to let the essence organically mature; instead, we should create opportunities for that essence to thrive and multiply.
An innovative approach to CPD sessions
As a result, this year the ambitions of the programme committee are big and different. They do not want to sit in eight hours of lectures. They want to debate, discuss and do – driving connections and conversation through the structure and format of the programme. This year, much of the CPD content will be shaped live, through the questions delegates ask of the speakers and through the real-time conversations experts have with each other.
Much of the CPD content will be shaped live, through the questions delegates ask of the speakers and through the real-time conversations experts have with each other
That desire to think differently is why you’ll see modules move from room to room. With each session and format change, there’s an opportunity to explore a subject in a different manner and to engage a different part of your brain. The act of moving between physical spaces is also a chance to stretch your legs and take a breath, all of which enhances the depth of learning. You won’t find a main lecture longer than 15 minutes at BSAVA Congress 2022. Instead, the programme has been designed to be rich, fast-paced and engaging.
An engaging exhibition
We’ve taken a similarly different approach with the exhibition too. We started with open minds. Recognising the breadth and depth of knowledge, and the value in true partnerships, we took a collaborative approach to engaging with the wider industry. The result is a fully integrated exhibition where there are ample opportunities to network and benefit from the expertise of exhibitors, sponsors and other industry partners.
We started with open minds. Recognising the breadth and depth of knowledge, and the value in true partnerships, we took a collaborative approach to engaging with the wider industry
A social calendar for everyone
Just like learnings from the pandemic helped shaped the CPD programme, it’s influenced our social calendar too. We saw how, as individuals, we reacted very differently to the restrictions placed upon us, and how important it was to have the flexibility to choose how we engage with our communities, as well as take time out and switch off. It is why we’ve shaken up the congress socials.
We have CLUBvet for those who want the big party, and the member and volunteer lounges for those who prefer a quieter conversation over a coffee, but there’s also the time and space for you to relax or to meet in your own social groups and explore the city. If, like me, you enjoy a little of all of these, we’ve made sure that while there is plenty going on, there’s not too much overlap so you won’t miss out.
People are truly at the heart of BSAVA Congress 2022
There has been a single thread in all of my thoughts around Congress – people. And there are some who rarely get a mention, but without whom, BSAVA Congress would not be possible: the staff at Woodrow House. I am deeply grateful to them for the passion and dedication they have shown in putting on not just Congress 2022 but all those that have gone before it. Their grit and determination throughout have been inspirational and I am proud to be a member of their team. I know that they are really looking forward to welcoming you to Manchester. See you there!