28 March 2019

sparqs Conference: Student Engagement for All


Surgeons' Hall
Nicolson Street
Tel: 0131 527 3434


Registration is still currently open for the sparqs' conference, as long as places remain!  Student Engagement for All is taking place on Thursday 28th March 2019 at Surgeons' Hall in Edinburgh.  #sparqs19  

The conference is aimed at students, managers and practitioners in colleges, universities and other post-16 providers, from within Scotland and beyond.  We invite you to join us to explore activity from across the sector on student engagement in relation to widening access, equality and diversity, transitions, representation of non-traditional students, staff development…and more! The conference will provide an opportunity to showcase this work, share expertise and learn from good practice!

Please read all of the information below before starting your booking as you will need to select in advance which sessions you wish to attend and consider your payment options if applicable.

Conference speakers

We are delighted that the conference will be opened by Karen Watt, Chief Executive of the Scottish Funding Council.  The day will be a blend of keynote sessions, panel discussions and a range of workshops, presentations and displays, including the following speakers: 

  • Carol Hunter - Student President, Fife College
  • Maxine Jolly - Young Inspectors' Programme, Education Scotland
  • Rob McDermott - Quality Manager, Forth Valley College
  • Dr Aileen McGuigan - Senior Lecturer in Education, University of Dundee
  • Ciaran Stewart - ex Course Rep for BA Performance in BSL/English, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland
  • Dr Pauline Hanesworth - Senior Adviser, Advance HE
    ~ Introduced by: Liam McCabe, NUS Scotland President

You can read the speakers' biographies for details about their background and experience.


You can view the conference programme for details of the day and timings for both the conference and the Student Engagement Awards' reception. 

Choose your sessions before booking!

When registering, you will be asked to choose which sessions you would like to attend at the conference. Please read the Workshop and Presentation Outlines document to enable you to make your choices - you will be asked to choose 1st, 2nd and 3rd preferences for each session. If you are a presenter, please choose your own workshop/presentation under the relevant session. 

Student Engagement Awards

In a fitting end to the day, the conference will be rounded off with the third sparqs' Student Engagement Awards.  

View the full list of awards shortlists to see who is in the running in all the awards categories!  Congratulations to all those shortlisted, and good luck!


Additional opportunities for delegates from outside Scotland

In addition to the main conference, we are once again offering some further opportunities for delegates attending from outside of Scotland, including an International Delegates’ Day on Wednesday 27th March, the day before the main conference, and optional site visits during the same week, to universities, a college and a sector agency. The opportunities are primarily aimed at international delegates, but those from the rest of the UK are also most welcome to attend. 

The International Delegates' Day will provide an opportunity to learn about the Scottish context of student engagement, including a visit to the University of Dundee and some local sightseeing, rounded off with dinner back in Edinburgh in the evening.  Attending this day incurs a cost, and can be booked at the point of registering for the main conference. 

The optional site visits include a mix of college, university and sector agency sessions across Edinburgh, Glasgow, Paisley and Perth, allowing people to hear more about Scotland's student engagement and quality processes, whilst enabling visitors to see a bit more of the country!  While there is no cost for the actual visits, delegates will need to arrange and pay for their own travel to/from them. 

See the International delegate programme page for all the details, including the agenda and costs for the International Delegates' Day, and the schedule for the site visits (including how to sign up for them).


Practical information

For visitors to Edinburgh, we have prepared some useful information about the city, including maps, travel and accommodation options and tourism information.  We hope that you find this helpful. 

See our conference map for locations of the main conference, the International Delegates' Day and the site visits, as well as locations of Edinburgh Airport and Waverley train station. 

For further information about the conference venue, please see the Surgeons' Hall website.

Delegates are required to book and pay for their own travel and accommodation. 

The conference hashtag, for use on Twitter, is #sparqs19.


Queries and further information

If you have any queries regarding the conference, please email admin@sparqs.ac.uk or contact the office on 0131 622 6599.

Fees and payment

Conference fees are outlined below (early-bird rates ended on 18th January).  While registration officially closed on 22nd February, we are still currently accepting registrations while places remain available!

  • Students/student officers studying in a Scottish institution - FREE
  • Staff from a Scottish institution, students’ association or sector agency – £60 
  • All delegates from outside Scotland (conference only) - £130
  • All delegates from outside Scotland (conference plus International Delegates' Day) - £260 thereafter

Please note that due to the scale of the event, payment by card/Paypal account is preferable. Invoices will only be issued where there is no way payment can be made by card/Paypal, and you have contacted us in advance to request an invoice. Please therefore consider your payment options before beginning your booking (e.g. in case you need to liaise with your students' assocation or finance department to obtain credit card details).  

When you are ready to register, click "Book Now" at the top of this page.


This is a chargeable event, with the following pricing options:

Students/student officers studying in a Scottish institution (FREE)£0.00
Scotland students' association/institution staff£60.00
Scotland sector agency staff£60.00
Outside Scotland - main conference only£130.00
Outside Scotland - main conference plus International Day£260.00

All Current & Past Events:

Student Engagement Framework

sparqs Conference: Student Engagement for All

28 Mar 2019

Registration is still currently open for the sparqs' conference, as long as places remain!  Student Engagement for…