It’s time to start talking about Austin.
Maybe it’s because as I write this, I’m hungry, but I’m thinking about food. So I’m going to talk about food - food is what I live for, and in my occupation and the travel that goes along with it, when I’m in a city of great restaurants in cool historic buildings, I feel obligated to check them out, you know, as a loyal employee of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. In this, most definitely, Austin delivers. Start your list now for October, when the National Preservation Conference descends on Austin, and you’ll be a leading… eater. I’m talking about the Clay Pit for modern Indian food, the romance of French Aquarelle, the mod and edgy Wink, the Italian Carmelos (you will smell the garlic between sessions at the Hilton), and you can’t talk Austin food without mentioning Guero’s Taco Bar on South Congress. I’ll leave an examination of Austin’s Food Trailers for another post.
I love my job.
If I’ve made you hungry for more Austin, check out the new conference website. We’ve been doing a lot of work behind the scenes to make Austin, well, different. We recently did an extensive survey of our audience (current, potential, also those that used to come to the conference regularly, but had not been in a few years), augmented that data with in-depth interviews with leaders in the field, and developed a new format and fresh approach to the conference.
You’ll get an idea of what we’re doing on the conference site, but here is a taste:
- It’s a full day shorter. Official conference programming (other than Field Sessions) starts at 4pm on Wednesday, October 27.
- Thursday and Friday mornings will begin with a point-counterpoint session, playing off the conference theme “Next American City, Next American Landscape,” followed by guided breakout sessions to explore those subjects in greater depth.
- We’re partnering with the organization Next American City on an urban focus area, and they will be sponsoring one of their URBANEXUS Salons during the conference.
- Education sessions will be more interactive and of greater variety, to include discussion sessions, issues sessions, solutions sessions, how-to sessions, success sessions and foundational sessions.
Submission of proposals for Education and Field sessions for the conference is now open through March 1 on the conference page of the website. We are looking for exciting, fresh ideas to build an interactive, exciting conference in Austin. Contact us for information, or just to chat about the new format.
Our audience has never been shy about sharing their opinions, so we hope to hear what you think about our response to the surveys and feedback – and we look forward to receiving your interactive, engaging session submissions by March 1… and maybe some restaurant recommendations too, because a good preservation conference travels on its stomach.
Lori Feinman is the associate director for conferences & training in the Center for Preservation Leadership at the National Trust for Historic Preservation.