The CSGN Forum 2013 took place on Tuesday 4 June at the Herriot Watt University in Edinburgh. Over 200 people attended and were sent a follow-up email requesting delegates to provide their feedback regarding the event using an online survey form. The text below summarises the findings from this survey.
Background and Administration
A total of 76 people answered the survey, seven more than last year. This is a remarkable response rate of over one third and is an indication of the high level of interest people have in the subject matter and CSGN.
Feedback indicates that overwhelming majority of people had a positive experience in terms of the event administration, though there may be some scope to improve the registration form.
14 people answered the supplementary question, ‘How could we improve this?’ Several said that signage from the car park was unclear. A few others would have preferred more information regarding accessing the venue using the local public transport services.
Overwhelmingly, delegates found little to fault with the programme and welcome pack, visibility and acoustics and the seating arrangements. Only ten people answered the ‘How could we improve?’ question. The one common suggestion was that the display space could have been improved.
There didn't seem to be very many displays etc - which are always interesting and useful to look at during breaks.
On the whole the quality of the venue, catering and information were very good. The obvious area that could be improved is the opportunity for participants and other organisations to highlight projects and initiatives of interest to delegates through exhibitions, stalls and stands. The stands that were in attendance were very interesting.
Presentations, Content and Activities
Delegates found Michael Schwarze-Rodrian’s presentation on the redevelopment of the Ruhr and Dr Gyeng Chul Kim’s presentation on the Cheonggyecheon Restoration Project to be of most interest.
Dieter Grau’s presentation on Ecological Waterscapes was also of great interest to one in three of the delegates as was the Governmental Address by Sir Peter Housden, Permanent Secretary, Scottish Government. Robin Gray's presentation was relevant to delegates working on large scale landscape projects.
Of the 67 people who provided additional comments, 23 used the word inspirational or inspiring to describe these presentations.
Inspiring descriptions of the possible which at first sight seem impossible.
Considering the glorious weather, it is no surprise that nearly two-thirds of the delegates opted for a walking option rather than the Soapbox discussions. As noted by several delegates, this also provided them with the important opportunity to continue networking after lunch. However, echoing previous comments better signage would have been appreciated.
it was a nice day and i thought it would be best spent outdoors. i was a bit confused by the maps but i think it was more me getting lost rather than the maps fault.
For those who attended the Soap Box discussion, most found these useful and engaging.
Presenters who gave short, personal perspectives on issues and challenges were most interesting - more interesting that those that were there to promote a specific project.
A total of 54 delegates (73% of the sample) voted on the CSGN Ideas Fund Presentations. Possibly this is not as many as might have been hoped for, but it appears that several delegates had to leave for transport and other issues.
Overwhelmingly people thought this was exciting and different. A great success, and a good item to have at the end of the day. However, there was some criticism regarding the presenters’ ability to inform the audience properly enough, to enable them to make a decision within the tight time limits. Also, a few people had reservations about the appropriateness of allocating public money via this voting method.
Several people mentioned the Chair, Lesley Riddoch, was effective and engaging and a real strength to the event. Others took quite the opposite point of view and thought she was driving the discussions.
Other comments focussed on the value of networking time and would like more opportunity for this. A few more people suggested more info regarding what the CSGN has been up to in the last year, this point was taken forward by several delegates in the next question.
As regards what people would like to see included in our next CSGN Forum, again just half of the sample expressed a view on this matter. There were calls for more info on the CSGN funded projects, more UK / Scottish examples of both local and large scale projects, more networking opportunities and generally more of the same inspirational stuff.
As regards specific locations for future CSGN events, somewhere central (in the central belt) was favoured by many. Seven out of ten delegates (67%) preferred the month of June for the next Forum, with most of the rest preferring May (25%). Lastly, despite the generally excellent report of the day and content, nine out of ten delegates (94%) indicated that the minimum price £50 to £100 would be preferred cost.
The CSGN Support Unit would like to extend their heartfelt thanks to everyone who took the time to fill in the survey and provide us with feedback. This information is incredibly useful to us and we intend to address as many of the points raised as possible in future Forum and CSGN Support Unit hosted events.