Educating the 21st Century Events Management Graduate

My colleague Charles Bladen and I have just had this paper published in the journal ‘Events Management’.  In the paper, we are argue that Events Management degrees need re-examining, to ensure that they are helping students to develop the kinds of skills and attitudes that employers, and society need.  You can read the abstract below and, if you’d like to read our paper but you don’t have access, please get in touch.


“This article discusses whether event management can yet be classified as a bona fide profession, how staff working in the industry can be effectively professionalized, and how professional university education programs can be better designed to achieve this end. The article discusses the findings and limitations of some of the existing literature concerning professionalism within event management, and whether event management can yet be wholly described as “a profession” according to conventional definitions. The event management profession and event management education are discussed in terms of improving pedagogy in relation to the requirements of event industry practice. Finally the work concludes that the challenges of educating future event professionals require a rethink of events education so as to develop more reflective practice.”

Local Economic Development and UK tourism policy

I’ve just had this paper published in the International Journal of Hospitality and Tourism, on the relationship between local economic development and UK tourism policy.  In the paper I review the economic development aspects of the United Kingdom’s tourism policies under the New Labour government and then concentrate on the most recent tourism policy, published in 2011.  Another of our recent papers critiques the 2011 tourism policy in more detail. I end this paper with some suggestions for how tourism policy could contribute to local economic development, in light of the global economic crisis: using Social Return On Investment (SROI) models, creating events, and responding to glocalisation.  The abstract for the paper is below.  If you would like to read the paper and you don’t have access, please contact me.

Relaxing visa rules for Chinese tourists - a benefit to the UK economy?
Relaxing visa rules for Chinese tourists – a benefit to the UK economy?

“This paper examines the relationship between government tourism policy and local economic development in the United Kingdom. The economic contribution of the tourism industry in the United Kingdom is discussed and the ways in which the tourism policies of the previous thirteen year labour party government attempted to harness this for local economic development are critiqued. The tourism policy of the United Kingdom’s new coalition government is then analysed in the context of the global financial crisis. In order to evaluate the relationship between tourism policy and local economic development, three modes of local economic development are proposed, the third of which, progressive local economic development, is particularly relevant in the current economic context. This analysis shows that, although the current government’s tourism policy continues with many of the assumptions of previous policies about the links between tourism and economic development, it does introduce some new thinking that may create an environment in which the tourism industry can contribute to progressive local economic development that promotes sustainable economic growth. The paper ends with three practical ways that the state could support this contribution.”

International Journal of Tourism Cities

I’ve just been asked to joint the editorial board of the new International Journal of Tourism Cities (IJTC), which has been launched by the International Tourism Studies Association (ITSA).


IJTC has four distinct purposes:

1. To encourage greater research and scholarship related to tourism in urban settings.
2. To stimulate more interdisciplinary research on tourism in cities, particularly the integration of tourism and urban studies theories and principles.
3. To generate more research studies on tourism at the edge of cities, where urban and rural areas converge.
4. To create more literature on best practices in city tourism worldwide through in-depth analyses and the production of exemplary case studies.

IJTC is the official journal of the International Tourism Studies Association (ITSA). ITSA’s main objective is to bridge the gaps in tourism studies and research, education, and training between developed and developing countries. The Association is headquartered in Washington, DC, and its Secretariat Office is located at Peking University, Beijing, China.

IJTC is a multidisciplinary journal that focuses on all aspects of tourism within cities. The major disciplines and themes covered in the publication are:

• Anthropology and other social sciences
• Architecture and landscape architecture
• City tourism governance, coordination and organization
• Consumer behavior in urban contexts
• Culture and heritage
• Economic impacts of tourism on urban areas
• Environment, climate change and urban sustainable tourism development
• Events and cities
• Geographic studies, physical and human
• Impacts of urban tourism activity on city residents
• Marketing and branding of city tourism destinations
• Politics and tourism in cities
• Tourism planning and development in cities
• Tourist experiences in urban settings
• Transportation and tourism within cities
• Urban studies, urbanism and urban planning

IJTC publishes full-length research articles, case studies, and research notes. Full-length research articles are of 6,000-8,000 words (excluding figures and tables) and research notes of generally less than 3,000 words. Case studies may be longer and in the range of 10,000-15,000 words.
A double-blind review process is used for all submissions.

We especially encourage submissions of research on urban and city tourism from scholars in developing countries, and collaborative works by researchers in developed and developing countries. This is consistent with ITSA’s main objective.

IJTC is now accepting submissions and these can be directed to either or both our Editors-in-Chief:

Prof. Alastair M. Morrison,
President, ITSA and Emeritus Distinguished Professor, Purdue University

Prof. Bihu “Tiger” Wu,
Peking University, College of Urban and Environmental Science, International Center for Recreation and Tourism Research (ICRTR)

Social Enterprise and Employment in the United Kingdom

I’ve just had a new article published in Perspectives on Workthe journal of the Labor and Employment Relations Association in the USA.


In the article, I give a brief overview of the Social Enterprise sector in the UK and comment on the impacts of social enterprise on economic development and, specifically, job creation.  The main points that I make are that:

  • Many social enterprises operate at the margins of the labour market, so their impacts on general unemployment caused by the economic crisis and industrial restructuring are not always significant
  • The barriers to becoming a social entrepreneur are no less high than to becoming an entrepreneur in the private sector.
  • Some of the most important lessons to be learnt from social enterprises are:
  1. How to support marginalised individuals and groups into the workforce
  2. How to involve employees in firm decision-making
  3. How to grow businesses whilst devoting a higher than average proportion of turnover to wages, training and development.



Book review: Eventful Cities

I’ve just had a review of the book ‘Eventful Cities’ published in the journal Cultural Trends.  This new book looks at the role that events play in the economies and cultural lives of cities.  Provocatively, the authors suggest that we may be witnessing the disappearance of cultural policy and its replacement with cultural programming.

You can read my review by visiting the journal site, and you can read through some of the book on google books, or by clicking on the image below:

Tourism and Local Economic Development in the UK

 Recently, I’ve been working on this topic as part of my work with the Economic Development Resource Centre.  Below are a presentation I gave at an Inside Government event on the visitor economy and the paper that supports it, which was published in the proceedings of the 13th International Research and Practice Conference of the Russian State University for Tourism and Service, ‘Tourism and Service: Education, Challenges and Prospects’, 28th October 2011.

Events Management: an introduction

Our new book, ‘Events Management: an introduction’ will be published by Routledge on 22nd February 2012.  You can view more information about it here, and pre-order it from Amazon.

“Contemporary events management is a diverse and challenging field. This major new introductory textbook is the first to fully explore the multi-disciplinary nature of events management and to provide the student with all the practical skills and professional knowledge they need to succeed in the events industry.

The book covers every type of event studied on an events management course, including areas as diverse as sports, music, the arts, corporate events, tourism, and the public and voluntary sectors. It introduces all the key issues facing the contemporary events industry, from health, safety and risk management to sustainability to developing a market-oriented business, with every topic brought to life through vivid case-studies, personal biographies and examples of best practice from the real world of events management.

Written by a team of authors with many years experience working in the events industry, the book introduces the practical skills required in every core functional area of events management, such as marketing, finance, project management, strategy, operations, event design and human resources. A companion website for the book includes a dazzling array of additional teaching and learning features, from self-test questions, audio interviews with key industry figures and additional case-studies to Powerpoint slides and an instructors’ guide. Events Management: An Introduction is the essential course text for any events management program”


Economic Insurgency – paper for the Future Cities 2011 conference

Graham Symon and I have had an abstract accepted for a paper we will present at the Future Cities 2011 conference, being held in London on 15th & 16th December this year.  The paper builds on an idea that came from some work  on localism we were doing earlier in the year for the Economic Development Resource Centre, in which we suggested that an economic insurgency was one potential outcome of a radical localism in economic development.  The full abstract is below:

How low can it go?  The devolution of economic development and the possibility of economic insurgency

This presentation provides a critique of the UK Government’s policies and plans for devolving economic development processes from the regional to the local and neighbourhood levels.  Drawing on economic development theory and experiences from Europe, Latin America, the United States and Japan, radical approaches to economic development are reviewed that suggest possibilities for innovative approaches to the problems of economic development in the cities of the UK.

International examples show that alternative models are available for growing the economies of our cities and towns that have the character of a challenging, bottom-up insurgency – a stark contrast to the conservative models of growth being offered by the new Local Enterprise Partnerships and Government departments[1].  In an economic insurgency, traditional, hierarchical institutions and frameworks come under attack from below as new economies take shape and start to re-shape places from within.  

Following the financial crisis of 2008, Western governments have struggled to develop consistently successful responses to stimulating sustainable growth in post-crash economies[2].  In the UK, the Government’s ‘local growth’ white paper appeared to promote a return to pre-crash methods of top-down economic development with an increased role for the private sector, despite the rhetorical references to a ‘new localism’[3] and economic ideas of subsidiarity and sustainability.[4] However, despite these contradictions, recent Government espousals have the potential to create an environment in which more radical approaches to economic development are becoming possible.  This presentation argues that an economic insurgency is a necessary next step in local economic development in the UK.

[1] Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (2010) Local Growth,London: HMSO

[2] Florida, R. (2010) The Great Reset: how new ways of living and working drive post-crash prosperity, New York: Harper Collins

[3] Bentley, G., Bailley, D. & Shutt, J. (2010) From RDAs to LEPs: A New Localism? Case Examples of West Midlands and Yorkshire in Local Economy, Vol. 25, No.7, pp. 535-537

[4] Schumacher, E.F. (1973/1993) Small is beautiful: a study of economics as if people mattered,London: Vintage

Packaging liminality: the management and commodification of liminal landscapes in tourism

Wesley Rykalski and I have had the abstract below accepted for the ATLAS 2011 conference in Valmeira, Latvia.  The theme of the conference is ’Landscape and Tourism: a dualistic relationship”.  Our plan for this paper is to take the methodology that we’ve been developing through the ‘Reading the Arcades / Reading the Promenades’ project over the last two years and apply it to other tourist spaces, in order to test its value as a new approach to engaging with the non-spaces (Auge 1995) of much touristic practice.

Seaside towns and Local Enterprise Partnerships: paper

Our paper on seaside towns and local enterprise partnerships has just been published in the proceedings of the 2010 ATHE conference.  Click here to go to the ATHE website where you order a copy of the proceedings.  The abstract is below:

Despite their huge popularity as holiday destinations, seaside towns have generally been under-researched. Existing research is limited to narrow historical perspectives and is often focused at a regional level. British seaside towns have suffered a significant decline but there is little attention given to how contemporary issues are likely to shape their futures. For this paper, a sample of British seaside towns that form part of the newly approved Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) are analysed to identify how these new governance arrangements are likely to affect future development in these areas. Core-periphery theory (CPT) is used as a framework within which to analyse these  arrangements and to identify potential problems and obstacles.  Analysis reveals significant governance issues for seaside towns in terms of structural inequalities and relationships of dependency. The LEPs do not adequately recognise the peripheral nature of seaside towns and the special conditions needed for their development. There is a reliance on outdated growth models and there is a lack of innovation in their approach. From a CPT perspective, the new LEPs do not seem to provide a brighter future for the development of seaside towns.