May 12, 2021 | By Bronwen Largier

Organisers of the Australian Event Awards announced the awards will go ahead in 2021, revealed a raft of new categories and other initiatives and opened entries in one fell swoop yesterday.

Stakeholder consultation in March and April found the industry keen for the awards to take place as a show of strength and resilience in the events community and to acknowledge the struggles of the industry throughout the pandemic, but with substantial changes to reflect the changed landscape for events.

“The resounding support and encouragement that we received from the industry was fantastic to see,” said Managing Director of the Event Awards, Ian Steigrad.

“We will strive to do whatever we can to acknowledge the resilience and accomplishments of our industry.”

This year’s categories reflect the pivot to hybrid and virtual events, with best event categories for best public event, conference, brand event, corporate event and small event split into two, with one award to recognise the best live or hybrid event and another celebrating virtual delivery of the event type.

New categories acknowledging the virtual space include Best Online Event Delivery Platform and Best Achievement in Studio Management.

“The 2021 categories aim to be inclusive of all types of event delivery and to reflect the way the industry now operates,” said Co-Chair of the Judging Panel Brenda LaPorte.

“This will provide an opportunity for those who have produced virtual, hybrid or live events to showcase their accomplishments, highlight their innovations and acknowledge the changes they have had to make.”

“In 2020 we saw an impressive array of entries come through despite the effects of COVID-19,” said fellow co-chair of the panel, Peter Rix AM.

“There is no doubt in my mind that the Event Awards 2021 will be even better.”

Other changes to the Awards include a commitment to recognise the achievement of every entrant throughout October, primarily through the Awards’ social channels and the launch of “Australian Event Industry Month” through October which will culminate in the awards ceremony. Organisers are currently taking suggestions about what should be included in the month.

“Australian Events Industry Month is a fantastic initiative, not just for the Event Awards but for the Australian events community as a whole,” said LaPorte.

“I strongly urge everyone in the industry to find ways to participate in this concept and make October a month for the industry to reflect and celebrate as one.”

Organisers have also announced an intention to bring the industry together for a single Awards dinner, with the back-up being a virtual recognition and awarding of trophies should travel and gathering not be possible.

“It’s a great achievement that we as an industry have been able to adapt to the changing times and we recognise that, for some, it has been an extremely difficult 12 months,” said Steigrad.

“We believe that the Australian Event Awards 2021 is an opportunity for the industry to band together, help each other, learn from others and celebrate our own.”

Details of all categories and access to the online entry portal can be found on The Event Awards website. Entries close on July 19, 2021.

Top image: Winners of Best Achievement in Event Education or Training, the Australian Marketing Institute for their Virtual Event Best Practice & Ideas Course, at the Sydney awards ceremony in 2020 | Photo: EventPix