Conference Social Events

Welcome reception

Monday 1st October, 19:00, Whitla Hall, Queen’s University Belfast

The welcome reception will take place in the Whitla Hall, which is located within the stunning Queen’s University Quarter in the south of the city. The Whitla Hall opened in 1949 and is named after the major Queen’s University benefactor, Sir William Whitla. The hall offers an appropriate ambiance for delegates to intermingle on the opening day of the conference. Delegates will be welcomed by an Indian dance performance led by Artsekta. 

VIP lunch (invitation only)

Tuesday 2nd October, 12:30–14:00, Harbour Commissioner’s Office, Belfast


The Harbour Office functions as the historic headquarters of the Belfast Harbour Commissioners. The style of architecture reflects that of an Italian palazzo and was completed in two stages between 1854 and 1895. Invitees to the VIP lunch have an excellent opportunity to network while enjoying lunch in the beautiful surroundings of the opulent building’s interior. Of particular interest are the marble mosaic floors in the reception areas and the impressive stained glass windows depicting industry, commerce and enterprise, together with the coats of arms of the many ports and cities with which Belfast traded in the past. Accompanying live music during the lunch will be provided by the harpist Ruth Corry.

Civic reception

Tuesday 2nd October, 19:00–21:00, City Hall, Belfast

Delegates will have an excellent opportunity to explore Belfast’s architectural heritage during the Civic Reception. The reception will take place within the magnificent premises of the Belfast City Hall, which is Belfast’s largest civic building. Built between 1898 and 1906, during the heydays of Belfast’s industrial era, the City Hall’s scale and architecture was designed to reflect the status of Belfast as one of the leading industrial centres in the world. The City Hall today features a range of impressive rooms and architectural details, including a series of stained glass windows reflecting the city’s history. Vocalist and harpist Amy McAllister and swing and jazz musician Conor Taggart will provide delegates with a taste of Belfast’s rich musical traditions during the evening.

Politicians' dinner (invitation only)

Wednesday 3rd October, 19:00–22:00, Malone House, Barnett Demesne


The former demesne residence of Malone House offers attendees an intimate dinner setting that allows politicians to come together and network.  Situated on a hilltop overlooking the river Lagan, the building dates back to Georgian times and once served as the residence of Belfast’s elites. The opulent atmosphere of the building is matched by a musical performance from the Belfast String Quartet.

Farewell reception

Thursday 4st October, 19:30–23:00: Titanic Belfast


On the final day of the conference, delegates will have a chance to come together to celebrate the close of the conference during the Farewell Reception. Hosted in the recently completed Titanic Belfast, delegates will enjoy dinner that is accompanied by a spectacular programme of entertainment that includes a bagpipe performance, harp music and vocals by Celtic Dream and the McStocker Ceili Band. Titanic Belfast sits within the grounds of the former Harland & Wolff shipyard where the RMS Titanic ship was built and launched in 1912 before meeting her disastrous end in the Atlantic Ocean. A replica of RMS Titanic’s grand staircase features as the background of the Farewell Reception.