Deep earns glowing reviews from top conference
17th May 2017
The UK’s leading zoo and aquarium professionals explored the links between their industry and the cultural world when they brought their annual conference to The Deep.
The arrival of around 100 people from the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA) also brought glowing reviews for The Deep and for Hull itself as a destination for such major events.
Dr Kirsten Pullen, Chief Executive Officer of BIAZA, said: “The venue is fantastic, The Deep have been wonderful hosts and everything has gone so smoothly. It’s also nice to see the regeneration of the area.”
Katy Duke, who recently took over as The Deep’s new Chief Executive, added: “City of Culture has made The Deep an even better venue because just a few steps on the other side of the footbridge there is the regenerated Fruit Market area. It makes for a lovely package to offer any sort of conference.
“It’s not just about the conference coming here – it includes the city. It’s about experiencing The Deep within Hull and experiencing what else Hull has to offer. Delegates have been visiting the Fruit Market, the Old Town and the Ferens and when the sun shone one of them wanted to go for a bike ride in the countryside.”
BIAZA delegates arrived from organisations including the Zoological Society of London, Chester Zoo, Royal Zoological Society Scotland, Fota Wildlife Park and the National Marine Aquarium. Their annual general meeting has only visited an aquarium once before. They chose Hull this year because of City of Culture, and they adopted that theme for the two-day agenda.
Kirsten said: “We wanted to talk about BIAZA’s work being part of British and Irish culture so we came to the City of Culture. We have talked a lot about what culture actually means and how that impacts on how we display our animals, where we can tie in art with what we do as zoos and aquariums. Certainly the experience of seeing a lion close up can have a dramatic impact on an artist.
“Education is another important aspect, engaging with socially deprived communities and ethnic minorities, looking at how they perceive animals through the cultures that they are exposed to and how we link that with learning about conservation and promoting a greater empathy and understanding for the natural world.”
A key connection with culture was the announcement at a gala dinner of the winners of BIAZA’s annual photography competition. TV presenter and cameraman Simon King, who was one of the judges, said the winners captured the way in which humans and animals interact on a personal level.
Kirsten said: “The awards highlight not only the stunning animals visitors can view when they come to a BIAZA zoo, but also the behind the scenes and field conservation work being carried out by our members.”
Katy said the BIAZA conference was a significant milestone for The Deep. She said: “This is the only gathering of zoo and aquarium directors across the UK and Ireland that happens every year and it’s a wonderful opportunity to invite people here in our special year as City of Culture.
“It offers opportunities in more holistic subject matters, animals and culture, strategic conservation goals that we all share, and campaigns that unite us all. It’s an opportunity to see how we can work more collaboratively. We host something every few years, usually aquarium focused, and I want to try and bring another major event here next year.”
Details of the photography competition winners and some of the images can be viewed at: https://biaza.org.uk/news/deta...