BUICE day one, 3 July 2013: International Conference on Events and AEME forum, Bournemouth University

Notes from keynote talks and discussions on day one of the #BUICE2013 conference.


Vinney: BU courses accredited by UN WTO


Nick de Bois MP

  • Sees events as having formerly been under represented and under achieving, back in 1980s at the start of his events career
  • But a time of growth since, eg use of events within marketing mix
  • 2012: demonstrated that UK is a global home for events, eg in green credentials
  • As an MP: discusses role of government as having an impact on events industry, though not often specific
  • All party parliamentary group for events: demonstrating what events sector can achieve
  • £36bn business events impact to UK, growing to £48bn in years ahead to 2020
  • Links music festivals with business events, because they are run as businesses
  • Visiting delegates: bring people to UK, good for local economies, but also build for long term growth by attracting key thinkers and decision makers – building long lasting relationships based on the events industry
  • Is this evidence based? Up to this conference to work towards that goal, to validate itself scientifically in order to affect positive change
  • Government: a role in helping to attract business, though industry seems slow to try and engage ministers
  • Industry: cannot expect to have gov support unless it steps up to the mark to help promote UK abroad, and to shout about it
  • A single voice: events sector needs to work to bring groups together in order to provide a single message on topics, to help lobby, etc.
  • Other countries: Mexico places events at the heart of government, with structures in place to deliver cross government support
  • Q: discussion about the potential for bringing these parts of the industry together in order to reach ministers, etc.
  • Q (Frew): what of the social agenda, to use events to support communities in a time of austerity? De Bois: points towards local government and a chance for local authorities to bring down regulations in order to support events, create jobs, etc. – not really engaging with the cultural theme or wishing to single out events for special exemption from austerity drive
  • Q: should academics act as advocates and cheerleaders for events, or maintain a distance?
  • Q: subvention as a tool – legitimate incentives to bring in business: what can communities do to make choices when it comes to bringing in taxes in order to provide such incentives


Turner: ‘Britain for Events’ campaign

  • To help UK events industry become more internationally competitive
  • Has delivered this speech to many universities – reminding students that they are part of a wider industry
  • Has various resources online to support claims, with more to come soon as new data are released
  • Lots of numbers to show how valuable different parts of the industry are – festivals, conferences, etc.
  • Event impacts: creative policy opportunities if the impacts of an event are reinvested – policy opportunities to make direct link between event and subsequent investment (eg Adelaide and opthalmology industry)
  • Trends:
    • Less is more: time of austerity but people putting more value into fewer events
    • Grassroots events: local agenda
    • Hybrid: events and festivals working alongside digital media, to ignite online debates – eg London 2012 opening ceremony and changing mood of the nation
    • Content and creativity: attending events because of the content, which can move people
    • Experiential: we’re now in the business of creating experiences
    • Dynamism: different sectors can learn from each other – festivals influencing conferences, etc.
    • CSR: creating an argument for why people should burn fossil fuels to attend events in order to get content
    • Who’s paying for my space: events organisers arguing that they are bringing business into a location so shouldn’t have to pay for the venue – but what happens if the space support disappears?
  • Issues:
    • VAT in different countries makes one more competitive than another
    • Visas: need to make it easier for people to come into the country to build up the profile of the events
    • Business or tourism: where do events sit?
  • Britain for Events campaign:
    • Increase competitiveness
    • Support events
    • Support event professionals
    • Identify audiences for the campaign: business, government, industry, consumers
    • Research and reports: plenty of work being produced, but it needs to be more credible – particularly next week’s publication
    • International marketing: come to Britain for its events
  • Challenge:
    • Stay creative
    • Solve problems
    • See the bigger picture
  • Q: how to get the industry talking to each other, to recognise the value of CPD… so suggests organising a tragedy in order to get people to wake up and engage
  • Q: event education often placed within Tourism – is that appropriate when there’s a need to engage with all the fields which hold events?




Panel session: professionalisation in the industry

  • Spibey:
    • Does the events industry have professional recognition? Is the answer changing over time? Talks of developing a professional body, which she now helps lead, working in the conference area: Institute of Event Management (est 2012)
    • IEM now has a business plan, a platform on which to try and secure funding, etc.
      • Professional recognition
      • CPD
      • Body of knowledge
    • Developing through partnerships and steering groups, etc.
    • Accreditation is part of what they hope to do
    • Recognition of experiential learning too
    • On the job learning key: apprenticeships, etc.
    • Picks out the breadth of the events industry and foresees a need for people to develop specialisms
    • Suggests that event managers are project managers with specialist knowledge and experience
    • Supply chain: an events supply chain, taking on board a variety of specialist roles and careers
    • Keen to support education providers, providing resources and advice – linking resources, such as the ISO20121 work done in 2012, likewise Purple Guide
    • www.event-managers.org


  • Kerr: People 1st (skills council)
    • Context of austerity, new government, new take on skills development
    • Professionalisation is about recognising qualifications, skills, training
    • Why does this matter: to recruit the right people; new entrants can work through the industry; to advertise the skills base of the workforce
    • Industry hasn’t necessarily had difficulty in attracting competent people, but do they have the skills?
    • Questions the provision from FE and also CPD in the industry: gaps in the skills provision
    • A call for industry to get behind qualifications and stick with them
    • Graduates not going into graduate positions is a wider debate than events alone
    • Government focus is on STEM subjects – largely because of the contribution that they make to GDP, which events graduates can’t compete with
    • National Occupational Standards Review: going on through 2013, to look at the national picture, plus international (such as Canada)


  • Rhodri Thomas
    • Argues that the prospects for professionalising the industry are poor
    • We need to think about more than just doing a job well
    • Professional means: certain traits that characterise the occupation, but how do you get from occupation to profession? It requires a level of control: you can be a lawyer if you pass this barrier. If you want to remain in the club you have to do your work by a set of rules: it creates a barrier between the professional and society. There’s a contract: we’ll do the job ethically and well in return for higher status and pay. But does this apply to more modern professions?
    • Corporate professionalisation:
      • Creating a collective identity: does this work?
      • Overcoming a fragmented knowledge base
      • Can you take on board people from a wide range of entry points?
    • On IEM: takes a classic approach at a time when such associations are under attack; how will it sit alongside other organisations; does it lead to further fragmentation; does it put it alongside other sectors that just don’t apply to large parts of the sector?


  • Q and A:
    • Looking at the fitness industry, where membership of a single body (REPS) is a prerequisite for career progression
    • Should EMBOK be moved further on?
    • Are we heading towards standardisation of event management courses?

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