The IPIA will close 2021 with its first physical event for almost two years, holding the Recognising Excellence Gala and Expo at the Crowne Plaza, Stratford-Upon-Avon on Thursday 2 December 2021, with the aim of re-energising the print industry and stimulating market activity while providing a platform for industry professionals to network and ‘simply have fun’.

Supported by its sister association the BAPC, the event has the backing of the association’s sponsors Antalis, Canon, Duplo, Fujifilm, Imprint MIS, Konica Minolta, Vivid, Xerox and XMpie, with additional exhibitors to be announced in the coming weeks. It also has seen a ‘groundswell of positive support’ from hundreds of members across the IPIA and BAPC.

‘Covid-19 drove most of us online, but amongst the digital fatigue, print continued to demonstrate its relevance and effectiveness as part of marketing activity – with 41% of businesses claiming to increase spend on ad mail this year. Now it is time for us to show leadership, come together, generate confidence and help kick-start our sector’s growth,’ said Lucy Swanston, chair of the IPIA Event Subcommittee and managing director of Nutshell Creative.

‘The IPIA is well known for the high quality and value of its events and, ordinarily, we host some 10 business events every year, culminating with the Gala dinner, which has proved an important social and networking opportunity on the calendar since 1992,’ she added.

‘This will be our first in-person event since the pandemic began, although we have hosted several lauded virtual events like #Punchbackprint and the IPIA Big Breakfast networking mornings. These were developed to support the industry with learning and networking opportunities. We are looking forward to not only seeing what our print technology providers have got to showcase, but to also welcome print buyers, agencies, trade houses and suppliers to the event.’

The Expo and Business Networking Hub runs from 11:00 to 15:30, broken by a buffet lunch and the IPIA chairman’s address on market trends. The IPIA AGM takes place at 15.30 for an hour. The Champagne Reception and Gala Dinner begins at 19:00, with the Recognising Excellence Awards presented from 21:00.

A range of tickets is available, from Expo entry and lunch in the Business Networking Expo to a full package with overnight accommodation.