Events Management Higher Education: Current issues in the U.K.

I recently gave a keynote presentation at the 2nd International Planning and Creativity Competition, in Hangzhou, China.

In my presentation, I highlighted three issues affecting the development of higher education for events in the UK:

  • Articulating the value of a degree in events management, as opposed to ‘just’ having industry experience or completing work-based training.
  • How to effectively teach about creativity and technology, when most events degrees are taught in business schools.
  • The questions of whether we we helping to develop and enhance the ‘profession’ of events management, or just creating individual professionals.

This event brings together academics, industry figures and students from across China for presentations, workshops and and an event planning competition for undergraduate students. Last year, I was able to speak at the event in person, and a group of our students from the University of Greenwich took part in the competition. Hopefully, we will be back next year. You can view my presentation below:

UK : China collaboration in the events industry

I recently gave the keynote presentation below as keynote for the Zhejiang Global Exhibtion Forum in Hangzhou, China. You can view the presentation, below. In it, I emphasised three areas of potential collaboration: the fusion of creative and tech; incentive travel; city-city partnerships for event destinations.

James Kennell presenting

Event Management in the Chinese Century: CFP

There are now revised timelines for submission – see end of this post

With my colleague, Dr Mingguang Liu, from Zheijang International Studies University, we have just published a call for papers for a special issue of the journal Event Management on ‘Event Management in the Chinese Century’. You can read the full CFP here.

Changes in political economy, the rise of emerging economies outside of the traditionally USA-dominated trans-Atlantic region and the globalisation of culture enabled by democratised technological channels, have led to profound shifts in the balance of the global economy. Attempting to explain this geopolitical shift, commentators and academics have introduced terms such as the ‘Chinese Century’ (Beckley, 2012; Brands, 2018; Hartley, 2008; Hongling, 2015; Pan, 2013; Stiglitz, 2015), the ‘Pacific Century’ (Borthwick, 2018; Scott, 2008) and the ‘Asian Century’ (Atonopoulos, 2017; Morrison, 2014).

The aim of this special issue is to consider the impact of these macro-level changes on the events industry and research into events, and to help to address a geographical, but also an ideological and cultural, imbalance in events management research, which has tended to focus on the traditionally dominant global economies of North America, Western Europe and Australasia (Kim & Kaewnuch, 2018; Robertson et al., 2018; Spracklen & Lamond, 2016). Recent research has begun to engage with this new context in areas as diverse as education (Werner et al, 2018), events and public diplomacy (Wang, 2018), regional development (Hussain, et al., 2018), the growth of the Chinese events industry (Liu & Lou, 2018) and mega events (Liang, et al., 2016).

Anticipated themes

Papers for this special issue should engage with the context of the Chinese Century, and the implications of this for events management research and practice.  Relevant, recently published research has include the following thematic areas, suggesting that they are worthy of further examination, although the list is not intended to be exhaustive. 

  • Event Management Education
  • The Development of the Chinese Events Industry
  • The Political Economy of Events and Public Diplomacy using Events
  • Events and Regional Development
  • Innovation in the Events Industry
  • Events and Urban Development
  • Mega-Events

Manuscript submission

Authors should submit to James Kennell (j.s.kennell@gre.ac.uk). In the first instance, authors should submit an abstract for consideration and feedback, according to the timeframe below.

Timeframe

2nd Call for papers: February 2020

Abstracts for consideration: 31st March 2020

Feedback on abstracts: 10th April 2020

Submission of manuscripts: 6th November 2020

Planned publication date: 2021

Dark Events

My latest article, written together with two colleagues from Turistica in Slovenia, has just been published in the journal ‘Event Management’.  The article brings together a lot of the ideas and concepts from dark tourism and puts them into a critical events studies context, to propose a classification for ‘dark events’ – events linked to tragedy and suffering.  We suggest that the concept of ‘darkness’, as it has been applied in tourism and leisure studies, is also useful for understanding certain types of events.  Our paper argues that the ‘darkest’ events come with the greatest management challenges, and proposes a model to help us to identify which events are at the ‘darkest’ in these terms.

vrsic-photo.-@mirocerar
A commemorative events held to remember Russian POWs who died during the first World War, on the Isonzo Front, in Slovenia                                                                        Photo: FB dr. Miro Cerar – uradni profil

The article is based on the analysis of commemorative events in the countries of the former Yugoslavia and uses examples from a number of Western Balkan countries.

You can read the abstract of our article below:

Dark events: Commemoration and Collective Memory in the Former Yugoslavia

This article develops a new understanding of the relative darkness of commemorative events that are linked to tragedy and suffering, by using examples of the many such events that take place within the countries of the former state of Yugoslavia. In order to do this, the article draws from the field of memory studies and, in particular, the concept of collective memory. A sample of commemorative events from the former Yugoslavia was investigated and qualitative fieldwork was carried to analyze them in terms of their role in collective memory. The analysis of these events allowed for the creation of a new scale of the relative darkness of commemorative events. The darkest commemorative events, which draw on autobiographical memory and hold a high degree of contemporary political significance, are judged to be the most dark and to present specific management problems because of this.

Key words: Commemorative events; Dark tourism; Collective memory; Yugoslavia; Balkans

Cultur WB

Last week, I was very pleased to be invited to speak at the launch of the Cultur WB network, in Sarajevo, Bosnia & Herzegovina. Cultur WB is a new network to support the development of Cultural Tourism across the Western Balkans region that has been set up with ERASMUS+ funding in a project with partners from Serbia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Montenegro, The Netherlands, Austria and Germany.  When I was there the project was also bringing in new contributions from the UK, Greece and Albania.

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The Cultur WB partners in Sarajevo

The Cultur WB project aims to not only strengthen ties between people working on cultural tourism as practitioners and researchers in the region, but also to to develop life-long-learning programmes for people working in tourism and new Masters programmes in cultural tourism.  At the launch event, I gave a presentation on how small and emerging destinations can use cultural events to develop their tourism, and how we should think about measuring the impacts of these events.  You can view the presentation below:

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The launch event was fantastic, with presentations from politicians, academics and practitioners.  Sarajevo itself is an amazing city and the organisers of the event, Sarajevo Meeting of Cultures, are doing an incredible job of trying to get their city onto the Cultural Tourism map, which I have no doubt they are succeeding in.

Sustainable Events and Historic Buildings

Our new paper, ‘The Role of Sustainable Events in the Management of Historic Buildings’, has been published today in the journal Sustainability.  This is an open-access journal, meaning that anyone can read and download the paper from here.

Trinity House

As the use of historic building as venues for commercial activity grows, events management professionals working in historic buildings are faced with a number of sustainability challenges, including conservation, preservation, social value and financial sustainability, as well as with satisfying their clients. In particular, these professionals are required to maintain the complex balance between the competing priorities of historic value and contemporary relevance. Little research has thus far investigated the role that sustainable events can play in the management of historic buildings, beyond considerations of the trade-off between conservation and income generation. This research analyses the contribution that events can make to the sustainable management of historic buildings, with an emphasis on understanding the perspectives of event managers within these properties, based on qualitative interviews with historic building event managers and stakeholders in London, United Kingdom. A key finding of the research is that event managers within historic buildings have complex views of sustainability that are specific to these properties and which are not captured in the mainstream events management literature. The paper contributes to the emerging literature on sustainable events and also develops earlier research on the role of events and other income-generating activities in historic buildings

A new Events Strategy for Visit Greenwich

Along with my colleague, Pamela Zigomo, we have just launched the new Events Strategy for the Royal Borough of Greenwich, following research that was commissioned by Visit Greenwich and the Royal Borough of Greenwich Council.

The launch event was held at the University of Greenwich, and you can view all the presentations and the strategy document itself on the Visit Greenwich website.

JK Events Strategy
The launch event

“This report proposes the development of a strategic approach to the creation, programming and promotion of events in Greenwich, under the brand ‘Royal Borough of Greenwich Events’. The report identifies clear opportunities for Visit Greenwich to take a more strategic approach to events within the tourist and visitor offer of the destination. With its partners, Visit Greenwich should aim to use events to enhance the positive impacts of tourism and visitation in Greenwich.”

Events Management: An Introduction – 2nd edition now available!

The 2nd edition of our events management textbook, ‘Events Management: An Introduction’ has just been published by Routledge.  As well as a great new cover, it has updated international case studies throughout, new industry person spotlights, lots of new material and it is now also full of great colour photos.

My freshly arrived copy of the book!

You can buy it from all the usual places, like Amazon, and if you’re a teacher or researcher interested in an inspection copy, just go to the Routledge website to request one.

Big Events in Small Destinations

I recently spoke at the 2nd annual International Conference for Students in Tourism and Gastronomy, in Skopje, Macedonia.  My presentation was about how small tourism destinations, especially in emerging economies, can use major events as part of their tourism branding.  You can view my presentation below:

To get an idea of what my presentation was about, have a look at this short video about the recent stage of the World Triathlon Championship that was held in Jersey, a small island of 100,000 people off the coast of France.  With a worldwide television audience of 3 million people, hosting this event provided media exposure that Jersey Tourism could never afford.

This was a great event, which I also spoke at last year.  This year was even more successful, with presentations from Ljupco Janevski  from the Macedonian National Tourism Agency, Thiago Ferreria from Serbia4Youth and Prof. Dejan Metodijeski from the Goce Delcev University of Stip.  I’m looking forward to supporting the event again next year as it continues to grow and become an important tourism event in the region.

Events Management Research: Attendee motivation, Festivals and Economic Impacts

Along with my colleagues Denise Hawkes, Emma Abson and Paul Booth, we’ve recently had a new book chapter published which looks at the relationship between motivations to attend events and the spending that takes place at them.  This research was carried out over three months during a series of festivals held in an area of London, in the UK and it has been published in the book ‘Impact Assessment in Tourism Economics’

cover

The findings of this research indicated that there was a significant relationship between attendees’ motivation to attend the events in the festivals and the amount of money that they spent during the events.  We used Beard and Ragheb’s ‘Leisure Motivational Scale’ to categorise attendees by their motivation and we found that the highest spenders were people who had come to the event to meet new people and socialise.  The lowest spenders were those attending events to spend time with their families.  If you would like to read this research, but you can’t gain acess to it, please contact me.

The conclusion of this chapter suggests:

“The literature on event motivations focuses on the marketing of events and on attendee satisfaction with events. Such studies…have made recommendations for event development, market segmentation and promotional activities. Linking motivations to expenditure, as we have attempted in this paper, suggests a range of new approaches to these areas of successful event management.

For example at these events, segmentation by motivation has allowed for the identification of a high-value segment, those who are attending ‘to meet new people’. Meeting the needs of this segment could be suggested as an area of event development such as the creation of opportunities for social interaction and the provision of enhanced food and drink retail opportunities at the events. Attracting this lucrative segment would require the promotion of the social aspects of the events and a significant change in approach from the current marketing approach [of many public sector-supported events], which concentrate on local media and emphasises the inclusive, familyfriendly and low cost aspects of the programme.”