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Communication Matters Celebrates its 30th Anniversary
September 2016

Communication Matters, the national charity which is part of the International Society for Augmentative and Alternative Communication (ISAAC) marked their 30th year at their Annual Conference which was held at the University of Leeds from 11-13 September 2016.

Communication Matters National AAC Conference (CM2016) is the leading annual Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC). The event sees over 400 attendees come together to partake in workshops and learn about advances in technology and research, providing an opportunity for representatives to hear about the latest developments in the field. The event opened with a 30th Anniversary Tea Party with music from Jive Duo, a Leeds-based Jazz band, followed by the CM’s Got Talent Final with three competing video performances.

MEETinLEEDS, the conference office for the University, provided event space for the event, including the supplier exhibition which was held in Parkinson Court. The University also provided accommodation at its flagship campus accommodation, Storm Jameson Court, which carries the highest possible accreditation under all categories of the National Accessible Scheme (NAS) with 20 fully accessible bedrooms.

In addition to the educational and exhibition elements of the conference, each year the Alan Martin Award is made to an AAC user who has made a significant contribution to the Creative Arts. The Award, first presented in 2013 was established to honour and commemorate Alan Martin who worked for the inclusion of all people within the arts regardless of their disability. The conference is now into its fourth year at the university, with the charity’s main office being based in Leeds since 2015. The charity is now looking to encourage local AAC users to become members. They are also looking for interest from both the public and private sectors in the city to become involved in and support initiatives such as the ‘Communication Access for All’ project, where CM will train local businesses in appropriate interactions with AAC users.

Speaking ahead of CM2016, Ruth Mcmorran, Deputy Chair of Communication Matters said: “It's the fourth time our conference has been hosted by the University of Leeds. The layout of the campus and its facilities are ideal for us, as they are all located close together. Many of our delegates are wheelchair users and the site provides accessible routes to all buildings. The team work extremely hard to ensure that each conference is better than the one before.”  

Harriet Boatwright, Sales and Marketing Manager at University of Leeds commented: “The last 4 years has given us the opportunity to embrace and understand the specific requirements of the conference and the delegates in attendance. The nature of the campus and flexibility of the venues is such that each year we are able to map out a conference site that meets the needs of the event and offers an exceptional space to host the attendees, who we are delighted to have as a regular visitors to the University.“

For more information about their range of conference and event facilities click here to visit their website.