... conferences, one-day workshops, fora, symposia and similar events. And the catering at these activities.
For almost ten years now, I've attended a great deal of events within the statutory, voluntary and community sectors. Some have been high profile, for instance, I still remember a lavish affair at the Tate Modern in 2003 with then Minister for the Arts Estelle Morris as main speaker. Some have been more modest, for example, there's a regular, bimonthly volunteers' forum in my area that's been going on since 2004. I feel like a Nam vet in there now, I tell you. The purpose of these gatherings differs from one to the other, but there's a common thread that unites them all. Guests have similar goals of pursuing a more equitable society and there's a congruence of interests in how to achieve this. For me the formula for the ideal conference is a lively facilitator, exciting workshops and specialists, who not only master their subject, but also possess the skills to convey the content to their audience easily.
Now, if I was to be utterly honest with you, my dear reader, I'll have to say that only a handful of events like the one I've just described above turn out to be that way. The rest are just a waste of time and money. Especially money. What with the catering! But more about that later.