Laura Williams is currently a Media Manager at the BBC in MediaCityUK, Salford, working as a archive and information professional within TV production. Laura has been an SLA member for several years, winning an Early Career Conference Award in 2013, and then joining the Early Career and Awards committee. She kindly agreed to provide us with a write-up of the SLA Europe Summer Soiree, held at Barber-Surgeon’s Hall. 

On arriving at Euston station from stereotypically drizzly Manchester, I was greeted by gloriously hot sunny London summer weather for the annual SLA Europe Summer Soiree event. Perfect conditions for an event at a venue with spectacular gardens to allow everyone to make the most of the beautiful summers evening. The event was held at Barber-Surgeon’s Hall located in The City of London, with the aforementioned gardens featuring London Wall at its perimeter. Thankfully I had taken note of the weather forecast and dressed appropriately for the heat.

Upon arriving a glass of wine was soon in hand and I was ushered into the main reception room, The Great Hall.  It is a magnificent oak panelled room, and the space is dominated by a Holbein painting of Henry VIII uniting the Barbers’ and Surgeons’ Companies. I received a brief art history lesson over wine from other attendees which was useful as I wouldn’t have realised the significant value of the painting otherwise.  As I don’t often get chance to attend SLA Europe events since moving back to the North, attending the Summer Soiree is my annual opportunity to catch up with all those who I normally only converse with by email or social media. It is always great to get such a fantastic opportunity to share stories and hear about people’s lives face to face. I was pleased to see the rest of the Early Career Awards Committee for a good catch up early on in the evening.  The evening also proved an excellent opportunity for meeting new faces, and getting to know other SLA Europe members.

SLA Europe President, Don Roll opened the event, gathering everyone together to thank event sponsors Dow Jones and Integreon, and to welcome everyone present.  Overall it was a splendid setting for much drinking, eating and lively conversation. A lovely selection of canapés was making its way round the room throughout the evening, with particular excitement at the appearance of dark chocolate covered honeycomb as one of the sweet options.  As always, I had a great time at the Summer Soiree, and was glad I could stay in London overnight to make the most of the evenings opportunities for excellent conversations with a great community of professionals.

 

Don Roll addressing the party-goers at Barber-Surgeon's Hall, from SLA Europe's Flickr Photostream.

Don Roll addressing the party-goers at Barber-Surgeon’s Hall, from SLA Europe’s Flickr Photostream.