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GALLERYMay 2012 . www.conference-news.co.uk . 73 CN presents some of the action from this year's Exhibition News Awards, the annual awards ceremony for CN's sister publication held at London Olympia's West Hall on 29 March. The awards drew a record attendance of 850. Photos by Baby Olive. Exhibition News AwardsThe University of Sussex held a networking evening to mark its re-branding to Conferences and Events.The news follows the £10m refurbishment of Bramber House.University of Sussex C&E division re-brandingAgents from across the UK embraced the sporting spirit to join in a Going for Gold experiential weekend hosted by the London City Selection. Attendance was 65 per cent up on 2011. London City Selection experiential weekend

BREAKOUT74 . www.conference-news.co.uk . May 2012May The ICC Birmingham, the country's fi rst international convention centre, was offi cially opened by Her Majesty the Queen 21 years ago in June 1991. The fi rst event had been held in the April of that year, the British Small Animal Veterinary Association (BSAVA) Congress. BSAVA has signed another two-year deal until 2015.Today, the ICC welcomes 300,000 delegates a year to its 10 halls and 11 meeting rooms and contributes £85m to the regional economy and supports 2,000 jobs. The facility has also staged over 110 international congresses and hosted 220,000 international delegates over the course of the 21 years.A total economic benefi t of over £1.4bn has been calculated.The ICC has hosted all of the major UK party conferences, as well as the G8 Summit in 1998. The Conservative Party Autumn Conference in 2010 alone produced £47m in direct economic impact for the city.The seeds of the project's germination were sown after the destruction by fi re, in 1983, of the old Bingley Hall, the world's fi rst purpose-built exhibition hall.Sir Bernard Zissman, ex-Lord Mayor of Birmingham, led the team which developed the ICC and Symphony Hall. Work took four years and fi ve months and cost £200m.In 1995 the draw for the Euro '96 Football Championship draw was broadcast live from the ICC to an audience of 400m.Current ICC MD Nick Waight joined the project at its inception, although he attended the opening in front of 600 guests with his leg in plaster, having broken it the day before playing football."In the early years I spent two evenings a week talking to Rotary and Lions Clubs, explaining why an ICC in the centre of Birmingham was important," says Waight.It wasn't all smooth sailing, with some of the typical objections to the project being that it would cause traffi c chaos and there would be no parking.Waight picks out 1998 as a tipping point year. "I remember Bill Clinton going into the Symphony Hall for the G8 meeting," he says. "The crowds simply went wild. The armour plated American cars the delegation brought cracked the bricks in Centenary Square and there were 900 people in the US delegation alone."The ICC turns 21:Nick Waight tells Paul Colston about the journey from plaster caste bystander at the opening of the £200m project in 1991, through the visit of President Clinton in 1998, to the MD's chair in 2012still holding the keys of the conference doorThe work begins The European Council funded £49.7m of the £200m cost of the ICC buildRoyal appointment Her Majesty the Queen offi cially opened the venue in June 1991Clinton on board US President Bill Clinton visited The ICC during the G8 summitNATO in 2000 NATO Defence Ministers meet at The ICC in 2000