There is an important discussion going on (for those of us teaching events) which is about the balance between an ‘event management outlook‘ and an ‘event design view’. It is important to students because it affects your modules, what you learn, and ultimately your success as event professionals.
None of us (not least me having enjoyed a career managing hundreds of events) will deny the central importance of event students learning about the operational, logistical, marketing, financial, risk management, people management (and so on) aspects of our profession. It is a given, we must teach this and we do teach this in an UG students first two years with us – but there is an important counter argument!
If we focus excessively, and for some universities totally, upon these ‘inputs’ that go into staging events we risk losing focus on why the events are actually happening in the first place – namely the ‘outputs’. Therefore in the world of event literature / research – increasingly we are challenging the management dominant view and calling for a rebalance to also focus upon the outcomes.
This important point (which is discussed in our book – ‘Strategic Event Creation’) is that events are investments – investments of money, time, energy, reputation and so forth. They occur because the involved stakeholders (funders, clients, sponsors, attendees etc) recognise some kind of a return for that investment – whether that be the Qatari Royal Family for a FIFA World Cup, Cancer Research with their ‘Race for Life’, Meadowhall with their Student lock in, Monster sponsoring a festival, me attending an academic conference, or you going to a music festival.
So let’s be clear – the role of an event manager / designer / creator is to understand what success looks like and design events to best achieve that. We are facilitators of outcomes – experience designers! For most of you, in your career, your role will go beyond planning and coordination so therefore we are committed to modules such as Strategic Event Design and Strategic Management for Events where you will take a much more outcome perspective and also consider your crucial role as a designer of experiences!
Look forward to seeing you in the classroom!
Dr Phil Crowther