Breda, day 3: collaborations and communities

Day three of three and perhaps the most mixed of my April trip to Breda. I was pressed into service for a couple more classes: students studying International Leisure Management, a course predominantly taught in Dutch. These were smaller groups and we took the chance to be more interactive, relaxed and reactive to what the students are most interested in. There was time here to go into more depth about the relationships between Edinburgh’s festivals, the nature of the Fringe and work being done by the Festivals Innovation Lab.

Much of what I talked about was in the context of a professionalising events and festivals industry, with more investment, higher expectations and closer examination of the products and their outcomes. Scotland has a great deal to offer here, whether it be the formalised objectives of the central and local governments, the creation of EventScotland or the popularity and diversity of its event management education. From what I heard this isn’t out of touch with other countries, but perhaps there’s something about the size of the country that means this work has taken on additional momentum – not for us the provincial barriers of England’s Regional Development Agencies. Does it result in better events? Do we reach the objectives we are set more quickly, more effectively and more efficiently than would otherwise be the case? Are we teaching people the right things and discussing topics that will benefit the students and the industry? I say we keep asking these questions, developing our research tools, building links between the academy and the industry and continue to facilitate the sharing of ideas between nations and communities.

Now, regrettably, I won’t be able to return to Breda for one such opportunity: the inaugural meeting of the ATLAS Events Special Interest Group, more information here. I shall be otherwise engaged, yet the themes are relevant to my PhD ideas and my interest in events more generally. Here’s hoping I can tap into some of the discussions in some way – maybe someone will blog while they’re there. Needless to say I met several people in Breda who are involved in the conference and I share their enthusiasm for this work.

Shortly after this I met with a student who is coming to Edinburgh on an entirely different project to the one I’m working on; she is one of fiffy, arriving at the same time as the others: there’ll now be 140+ of them in town! I’ll help out where I can, but all this makes me despair at the poor turnout I get when trying to organise a day trip to beautiful snowy Perthshire each January.

My final chat was with Klaus Hoven, who teaches and researches events and social media, augmented reality, communities, capital and similar themes. It was a very enlightening discussion – one of those where I switch from thinking ‘my PhD ideas seem to be pretty innovative’ to ‘what a lot of catching up I’ve got to do’! I hope that I can keep in touch with Klaus and continue to tap into his knowledge, understanding and innovative thinking in these areas.
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And now I’m back home where the national narrative has been dominated by the royal wedding: the BBC version and the often (though not always) more caustic Twitter accompaniment. I shall not go into depth on this subject, thus reflecting the degree to which other world events have been given equally short shrift by the media, whether it be broadcast, print, social or otherwise.

Meanwhile, here are some images advertising festivals in Breda and nearby Tilburg:

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