28 March 2019

sparqs Conference: Student Engagement for All


Surgeons' Hall
Nicolson Street
Tel: 0131 527 3434


Registration is now open for the sparqs' conference ~ Student Engagement for All ~ 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! ....book now to take advantage of the early-bird rates! 

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

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

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!  Nominations for the four categories inviting Scottish institutional submissions have been extended until Friday 11th January 2019! Submissions covering the last couple of years are welcomed.... anything since the last Student Engagement Awards in March 2017.

Nominations for 'Course Rep of the Year' will be invited in the New Year, once we are further on in the academic year.  Nominations will be open from Monday 7th January until Friday 8th February 2019.  

See the Awards webpage for all the details.

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 will 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. 


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. 

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

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

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

Early-bird rates are available until Friday 18th January 2019.  Thereafter, all prices will increase slightly as outlined below.  Registration closes on Friday 22nd February 2019. 

  • Students/student officers studying in a Scottish institution - FREE
  • Staff from a Scottish institution, students’ association or sector agency – £50 early-bird / £60 thereafter
  • All delegates from outside Scotland (conference only) - £110 early-bird / £130 thereafter
  • All delegates from outside Scotland (conference plus International Delegates' Day) - £220 early-bird / £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 (early-bird rate)£50.00
Scotland sector agency staff (early-bird rate)£50.00
Outside Scotland - main conference only (early-bird rate)£110.00
Outside Scotland - main conference plus International Day (early-bird rate)£220.00

All Current & Past Events:

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