Dates: 9-11 February
Number of Delegates: 70
Number of Committees: 4
Cost: Delegate Pack: £15 (£10 early, £20 late) for Partners, £17 (£15 early, £23 late) for
Social Pack (Optional): £30
A unique collaboration between the Universities of Bristol, Bath and Exeter, SWMUN has provided a welcomed, varied experience. With a committee for every level of experience, wrapped within its status as a beginners conference, and with an impressive social, SWMUN has offered a new experience for people from their 1st to 5th to 50th MUN. The conference was praised for its high standard of academic debate, providing a welcoming environment for newcomers, despite some logistical weaknesses.
The Committees were arranged by experience level, with European Council for Beginners (tackling the Stance on Space and Closer Integration), DISEC for more Intermediate delegates (topics including Drone Warfare and Landmines) and Security Council for Advanced delegates (debating Myanmar and the Central African Republic), with the option of a Crisis based on the Nixon-Kennedy Election ran by Golding Games and Events.
The study guides were noted to be to a high standard and presented professionally, even if only provided twelve days before the start of the conference. There were some noted departures from the Rules of Procedure, especially within the more advanced committees, leading to mixed and confusing chairing styles, though following closer by the sunday afternoon.
The Crisis was unusual in not having directives, not commonly seen within the UK, however, it was said to be too restrictive and boring in its comparison, leaving delegates disappointed. The conference was halted both days for Presidential Debates, lasting 45 mins, which were remarked to be particularly dry by the other delegates, resulting in most committees electing to skip the second.
The Opening Ceremony was relatively short, with Guest Speaker Dr Mark Allinson being a Professor of the University, speaking on the topic of Uses of Referendum. The speech, while providing much local interest, felt too close to a lecture, and perhaps could have been shortened from its forty minute length which saw many delegates lose interest. This was followed by the Secretary-General, who quickly wrapped up the ceremony.
The Closing Ceremony was held in a lecture hall, which had some challenges with audibility, leaving delegates, even at the front, struggling to make out speeches. The whole ceremony went by quickly with an acceptable amount of time given to chairs.
SWMUN’s £30 social pack consisted of two socials, with only the friday being included in the cost, making the best of the places Bristol had to offer. The Friday night ball was a veritable hit with the delegates, being held in the iconic Mercure Bristol Grand Hotel. A free drink was provided on arrival, which slightly offset the hefty cost within the establishment. This was accompanied by a three course dinner, followed by a live band and Ceilidh, providing many hours of merriment and being rounded off by a tasteful waltz. The Secretariat then led the group to a local pub, continuing on the festivities for a few more hours. The Saturday was a trip to the Student Union bar, followed by a local club in the heart of Bristol, which received positive responses from delegates, if not their chairs the next morning.
Venues, Communications and Logistics
The rooms were all within a couple of floors of each other and, despite being in different locations than advertised, were quickly found with only a minor delay. The Secretariat member being provided to each committee was commented upon as a nice touch, allowing for easy access when problems arose. Lunch became a minor issue when the Student Union Restaurant’s kitchen closed, but the Secretariat quickly rectified this on the second day, with their chosen pub providing for the large group.
A smaller welcome pack in comparison to previous years was remarked upon, with many preferring the previous approach. However, the provision of writing equipment was appreciated by the delegates.
Feedback was acted upon quickly and effectively, and despite some noted strains between the Secretariat, the level of communication between them and the delegates before was of a quick and organised manner, with email responses being marked in their timeliness.
Right of Reply
“Thank you for a positively constructive review! Though SWMUN is in its third edition, it is imperative that we learnt from the best practices of other conferences, which the reviewer has fairly picked up upon. However, we are grateful that the reviewer has also identified our shortcomings, which will be a priority for our successors to learn from – for it is only through experience on the MUN circuit that these mistakes can be avoided. Nevertheless, we welcome all delegates to come to next year’s edition of SWMUN in Bath, where it will certainly mature into a South-Western MUN circuit staple.”
Decorum Delegates thanks the SWMUN Secretariat for granting permission to use the photographs from the conference.