Academic Venues – University of Birmingham – The Exchange

The next stop on our whirlwind tour of academic venues in the Midlands took us to Birmingham city centre. There, we explored The Exchange, the latest space from the University of Birmingham.

Although a true contender for MICE business within Birmingham, the University of Birmingham lacked a city-centre presence. This gap has now been filled by The Exchange, a central hub for creativity, collaboration and celebration. Opened in September, this new venue has been renovated to a high standard to offer a myriad of flexible meeting spaces, all whilst retaining stunning period features from the building’s past.

Originally built as the city’s Municipal Bank in 1933, The Exchange is an impressive stone building that has stood the test of time. A true Birmingham landmark, the venue sits proudly in Centenary Square, an enviable central location.

Birmingham New Street/Grand Central is just a 10-minute walk away and you can be off the tram (stop at the Library Tram Stop) and inside the venue in less than a minute. There’s ample parking close by too.

The Exchange’s main Banking Hall is home to Fellows Coffee Shop, which is open to the public but can be hired for evening drinks receptions, networking and private dining. With its beautiful glass roof and original features, this area has a real wow factor. The hall is ideal for up to 150 guests to network or for 80 to enjoy dinner.

On the second floor, you will find flexible meeting rooms, all with in-built AV and natural daylight. Sympathetically restored, these rooms now house some of the old bank’s original safe boxes to ensure the building’s heritage and history are still visible throughout.

The largest meeting space on the second floor is the Assembly Hall. This space can hold 80 for a dinner or 120 theatre style. A bright and airy room, the hall would work for all events, including day conferences, award lunches and evening dinners. However, the true beauty of the space lies in its reception area with floor-to-ceiling windows and glass-fronted balconies. Offering views across the city, it’s the perfect location for pre-dinner drinks receptions.

The Exchange boasts so many sought-after features that many event organisers are after. There really is something for everyone. Highlights include the oak-panelled boardroom with its own outside terrace (a great spot for an alfresco lunch) and the unique space that is The Vaults. Once upon a time, women would have checked their fur coats into this room on a Monday for safekeeping until the weekend! Bursting with history, The Vaults is a blank canvas crying out to be used for a fabulous cocktail party or intimate dinner. With very few windows of opportunity to use the space, it’s likely to be in high demand!

Sally Badham-Lee, Head of Commercial and Account Management at University of Birmingham | Conferences & events, told us of her excitement at having so many opportunities within her portfolio of venues:

“Having worked at the University of Birmingham for so long, it is an exciting prospect to have a city-centre venue to offer organisers. Although we are well known throughout the UK for our varied range of venues, accommodation and sports facilities, to have such a historic venue in the city centre is a real bonus. We are learning more and more about the history of the building; only last week we were sent a video of a Chanel perfume advert that was filmed at the venue, including the Vaults. The building was actually used in the first series of Line of Duty as HQ too!”

Another great example of an academic venue that pushes boundaries, The Exchange offers an exciting mix of contemporary flexibility and elegant, historic charm.

Planning an event and looking for something a bit different and quirky? Contact us at Autograph Events to discuss your needs – we would love to chat about bringing your ideas to life.

Call 01905 676444 or email to talk to the team.