Tuesday morning: with barely minutes to go, as I sped through the central belt to Glasgow, my Twitter feed told me my meeting had been upgraded to a summit! This was fantastic news – really set the tone for a productive catch up with some other event management/studies academics. The fruits of the meeting will take many months to play out, but a comment on the experience is well worth recording. Maybe it’s because academia has so recently embraced events that there’s an opportunity and a willingness to try new teaching arrangements – there’s lots of talk about using new technologies, working with others and acting for mutual benefit, but I don’t necessarily see too much evidence of it catching on.
The ‘Event Expo‘ was a one day conference at The Garage in Glasgow: by event management students, for event management students. (Yes, it was in a night club. Got a problem with that?) Plenty of variety on the bill and an impressive line up of speakers. These are brief notes on Joe Goldblatt’s (popular and well attended) talk.
- The internet has contributed to the globalising of the events industry, as part of a globalising economy.
- There’s a need to be aware of ‘black swans’: unexpected innovations which change what’s possible and therefore can affect a whole industry… you have to keep up.
- Joe was eloquent in linking special events to various academic fields, maths, Enlightenment themes and the ability of all locations to use events: a level playing field?
- Four forces affecting events:
- – Population growth, particularly as societies overcome Malthusian limits on population growth; will also be reflected in rise of BRIC nations – note awarding of mega events to Russia, Brazil, Qatar, etc.
- – ‘The next economy‘: a complex world, demanding experimentation and pragmatism, where the current economic environment is one of uncertainty. Joe noted his recent paper on key areas affected by the global recession on events, following industry research:
- less sponsorship
- overall slowdown
- ticket sales
- food and beverage sales
- charges for previously free services
- loss of some events
- more competition
- new levels of creativity
- more technology available
- consolidation within the industry
- – Technology: a discussion about the need to set up apps, use augmented reality, virtual events and to carry on experimenting.
- – Environmental: noting that the environment in which such discussions take place is one informed by Rio 1992 and subsequent summits.
- What do we do now? The answer is certainly one affected by the policy objectives of government agencies (People 1st, etc.) as well as important reports (Tourism Framework for Change, Bridging the Gap [London 2012]).
I’m involved in two very interesting projects at the moment and this post is to introduce them both and record where we’re up to just now with them.
The Guardian has the best conference-festival-hack-day-event, it’s due this time next week. The conference-festival is South by South West, the hack-day is a way to bring people together to make stuff for following SXSW, and the ‘event’ nature of it all means that contributors have to be focused for those two days.
And there’ll hopefully be a legacy too: tools devised on 12 and 13 February 2011 will be available for future events, hopefully for anyone who wants to make use of them. It’s not dissimilar to the work Mark Coyle (from the BBC’s Olympics coverage) talked about during the EventScotland conference just before Christmas. In both cases the event is a catalyst for new ideas to be generated, put into practice, tested and refined. When the next opportunity to use them comes along, whether it’s another conference or the 2014 Commonwealth Games, they’re sitting on the shelf ready for further development.