Create world-class pioneering events with an industry-leading MA. 

Watch course coordinator Clare Hearn speak about Falmouth Flexible's online MA Creative Events Management course.

Co-founder of an award-winning event management agency, Clare has been designing and delivering projects and events in the creative industries for almost 20 years – working with reputable organisations including World Wildlife Fund, Holburne Museum of Fine Art and Royal Albert Memorial Museum.

My name is Claire Hearn, I am the course coordinator for the creative events management, and I'm also a module leader.

So I look after and have direct contact with students throughout the duration of the course. I am a senior lecturer here at Falmouth University. I work in the School of entrepreneurship in the Department for business and experience design. I teach across a number of courses, including the mayor, so I also teach across undergraduate courses in creative events management, music, theatre, entertainment management, technical theater arts, and I teach into other courses as well, including graphic design.

My background is as an event manager. I ran my own event management company and consultancy for many years, and it was whilst doing that and working with a number of different clients that I was approached by Falmouth with regard to creating the first undergraduate degree that Falmouth had an event management. So I've been working on and off with Falmouth for some time now.

I'm now a full time academic, but I still have my hand in working on normally in a research context, but working on and delivering events in industry as well. And I remain an industry consultant, particularly around sustainability and fundraising.

So we are one of the leading universities for the creative industries. We started as an art college sort of 100 years ago, so we've been in this, been in this field for some time. Obviously, we've evolved enormously throughout that time to where we are now. So we are ranked ninth out of 334 universities for tef. That's the teaching excellence framework. So we have gold status in that, and that's because we really focus on our teaching practice. That's something that's been extremely important to all of us, all academics within the University. So we, we pride ourselves on our engagement with students. We have an excellent employment rate of 94 percent, which is strong and I guess really relates to the fact that we have this very focused practical approach to our teaching. We're really entrepreneurial. And of course, I would say that being in the School of entrepreneurship, but we have over 27% of our students setting up their own businesses on graduation, which is a really exciting place to be in.

The course is, is a wholly online course. It's run over a two year period, so it's part time and it's fully online study. There are five modules in the course and these 1 over 6 study blocks. So the first four modules run over the course of a single study block, of which there are three per year, and that basically works around 10 times. So it's a block of about three to four months. The last module, which I'll talk about in depth later. The final major project where you create your thesis that's run over Ii study blocks because we want to give you the opportunity to do a really excellent piece of research. And that's very hard to do in a sort of three to four month period. So that runs over six months.

The course, unlike sort of traditional undergraduate courses, actually has a number of intakes. So you're able to start this course in either may, September or January of any given year, which makes it really convenient for those of you that are working in industry and who may have particularly busy periods. So obviously, if you're working in events depending on where you're based in the country, you may find that your busiest period of delivery is in the time where you have the best weather, for example. So certainly in the UK, the summer months are quite busy. Hence, we want to give you the opportunity to start at a time that is convenient for you.

We are an international course, so we have students who are on the course who are based all over the world. And that's one of the most fantastic things about it. Certainly, from my perspective, is that it creates an incredibly rich, diverse and varied learning experience for airport that comes on with us. So not only are you learning from us as a team of academics and have the support of the institution behind you, but you also have an incredible learning community that's made up of students from all over the world who have various experience in events and cultural industries in commercial and corporate events as well that we can draw on so we can understand how industries operate in the states, in Asia, in Europe and in Africa, and, you know, basically anywhere and everywhere. And that's one of the plastic things about online learning. It creates this really rich and diverse experience.

The course is underpinned by 3 principles creativity the digital because we're very future facing and the sustainable. So I'm sure you're all aware of the concerns about climate change at the moment, and that's our awareness of that and our desire to contribute to a sustainable event.

Industry has always stood at the forefront of all of the teaching that we do here at Falmouth and very particularly and very specifically as part of this. It's something I personally feel incredibly strongly about, and having written the content for the ema, as you'd expect, therefore punctuates everything that you do. As I say, the study takes place entirely online. We would hope that you would be able to commit approximately 17 self-directed hours of study per week, and that might be up to 20 hours if it's a week where you're writing an assignment. It might be 10 hours if you have a really busy week with work and family commitments and so forth. But that sort of average somewhere between the middle of those figures is what we would expect and hope you to be able to commit in order to get the most out of the learning material that we've made available to you.

The course is really rich and we offer a lot of resources that we really hope that you're able to take advantage of. So that's why we suggest that, you know, going into the course with an understanding of how much time we would like you to put it into it is a really good idea.

The learning materials are really varied. They include short online lectures. They're normally about 15 to 18 minutes long, and they introduce key concepts, key theory, the sort of foundational blocks of each week. And we look at different theory each week as you go throughout the course. The further learning materials include suggested readings from various academic texts, from journal articles, et cetera, et cetera, but also a series of really kind of creative and practical activities. So we ask you to step away from your laptop. We ask you to step away from the digital as often as possible and actually explore what the industry looks like in your part of the world and to explore what society looks like in your part of the world. Events exist within communities, and so we want you to get out into the communities that you're working in to really explore what role events play within that.

So yes, we are digital course. Yes, we are an online course, but absolutely we expect and hope that you will step away from the computer, step into the physical world and explore it with the activities that we suggested that you do.

There are also a number of interviews with industry experts there normally about 45 minutes long, and it's where we grill an industry experts, whether it be in industry research or event management from a particular area or somebody who particularly who's a particular specialist in design, for example, and how all of those things apply to events. So there are a number of those throughout every module. There are every week small group and class form discussion, which are led by the teaching staff. So we ask you to interact with each other and with the online tutors every week. And they're always based around asking a particular question and getting you to think about it and respond from your own perspective, from your own learning and to share that with the group. They're very, very lively. It can be sometimes really long, but that's absolutely that's absolutely fascinating because it means there's this really rich dialogue amongst the cohort.

Obviously, you're able to have one to one tutorials with your online tutor, with the and with the module leader. So there's lots of that personal engagement, as I said, independent creative tasks, academic readings, lots of self-evaluation.

So one of the skills that we really want to help you develop over the course of the two years that you study with us is the ability to be a reflective practitioner. We believe there's a direct correlation between your ability to reflect critically yet positively on your own development on your own, continuing professional development as an industry practitioner and your ability to function brilliantly within industry. So the more you reflect, the better you are. And that's something we believe, so we support that through offering guided reflections every week, we suggest that you set up or use an online reflective journal or a, you know, a traditional kind of print reflective journal, handwritten, you know, whatever it is that you need to do. However, you feel comfortable reflecting on how you feel during the week on things that have happened or anything that you might learnt on the course. So it's a really holistic reflection that we really encourage.

The other aspect that we deliver on a weekly basis is a webinar with the online tutor, which is a live webinar where we expect everybody on the course to attend their run based on the ability of people to connect throughout various time zones. So that's always a negotiation at the beginning of every module, but that's another opportunity for that live engagement with the staff and with each other. And they're really rich and valuable sort of experiences. They normally last for an hour to an hour and a half once a week. So that's sort of the operational side of our online course. So as I said, there are five modules that I'm going to talk to you about each of these, in turn.

The first module is principles of event management and research, and this is where we create a baseline of understanding amongst the cohort. So because you will be coming from different areas in the world, you'll be coming from different backgrounds, you have different experiences and understanding of event management and what that means. And you may come from a sort of traditional linear academic background. You may not. So we also want to explore your understanding of research and academia and make sure that everyone feels confident and comfortable with.

Moving on beyond this module. So this is a foundation module. Everybody on the course does it first. And so things that we include are, for example, business planning and finance. We start to get you to think about your creative practice. So to get to you to explore your personal creativity if you feel that You aren't particularly creative. Don't worry, we'll work with you on that. I believe personally that everybody is creative, but that perhaps some of us have maybe forgotten. So that's something that we work on, and that's a really fun part of this. We look at core marketing theory. We look at critical event studies in the 21st century.

So one of the fantastic things about studying event management is that it's a new discipline, but it's really flourishing. It's incredibly exciting time to be learning and studying within event management and event studies. So it's only really existed as a discipline for the last 30 years, and certainly within the last 10 years, there's been absolute flourishing of research. So it's just super exciting and it's really important that you understand how you therefore can contribute to that.

We also look at management theory, and as I said, we teach you postgraduate level research methods, so you don't need to worry if you don't feel completely OK with those things by the end of that module, you will feel much more comfortable with and are much more able to write in an academic sense, which obviously is going to be called for at this postgraduate level.

So after that, you enter what we call the carousel module. So depending on which point of the year you started, so if you started in May or September or January, you will go on to do one of the three following modules. So the next module, I want to talk about is creative practice and event design. So this is where you really get to explore your, your understanding of your personal creativity. You'll get to work on that. You'll get to develop it, explore areas, perhaps that you've never really considered them, considered in terms of creativity. And this is the bit where you really get to apply that to play with event design. It's a really, as I say, it's a really fun, really in-depth look at how your creativity can inform your event practice and not just perhaps the more obvious design elements of an event, but how this creativity can inform your management practice as well.

So the course is called Creative events management, and we consider that creativity to apply to both the management side of things and to the event and the event design. So it's about just really bringing all of your creativity to the fore. So within that module, we look at design theory and the methods behind that. We don't believe that creatives are born. We believe that they are made. So we want to give you the skills in order to be able to develop this creative practice. We look at things, for example, co-creation, which is a really hot topic in event design at the moment. So how we co-create with communities and with audiences and with other stakeholders, we don't work in isolation to create an event. We actually work with all of those people who are highly, highly involved and engaged with it. That's a real skill. So we look at how to harness the creativity of not just yourself, but all of those that you're working with in order to create an event that everyone is highly, highly invested in. That's a real sign of a successful event.

We look at how you might work with designers, with creative agencies, with set designers, for example, and so this module is particularly populated by people who work in that kind of design element. So graphic designers, digital online designers, theater designers, theater managers, set designers, there is their interviews with all of these people, people who look at soundscape design as well. So it's really fascinating, really rich from that perspective. We also look at how to design for particular contexts. So we look at how to design for conflict and post-conflict zones. So really, looking at what the world looks like in the 21st century and thinking about how the events that you might create might need to function in a variety of spaces and places in order to have most impact?

And of course, we also consider it a sustainable event design, although that's something that we come onto in much more depth when we look at the sustainability module. Also, as part of that module, we have two weeks of industry training, which is delivered in partnership with attitude is everything. They are a charity, a Disability Equality charity who work for the live event industry. They have set the standard for accessibility, certainly in the UK, but that they have created best practice so their methods are being adopted internationally.

They've been working for nearly 20 years now. They started out very much with a focus on making live music events accessible for deaf and disabled customers. But what we've realised, what they've realized and what we realized when working in partnership with them is that everything that they were saying was really relevant to any kind of event and to any kind of public venue. So this is really applicable to the majority of event contexts. The reason we partnered partner with you is because, as I say, they are the leading the leading voice in this. They've worked with the Olympics. They've worked with her Majesty's government of Gibraltar, in addition to some of the huge festivals that you'll be aware of. So Glastonbury, for example, their list of clients is fairly impressive. So this is an intensive two week course which which sits within the module, so it's not additional to it's embedded within the module. And basically, what you will get from that is an understanding of accessibility of social, the social models of disability. So the theory surrounding this, but also the practical skills that you need in order to meet access requirements at events. So this is part of our sort of social responsibility aspect of the course. So it's yeah, I can't recommend it highly enough.

So then let's move on to our next carousel module. So this is Digital Futures for events and events marketing, and this is all really future focused module where we look at how the digital and within that. So, for example, digital technologies, digital improvements in, for example, sound quality, for example, or audio any kind of audio visual quality has improved over the last five 10 years, particularly, but also how social media platforms, for example, have really impacted and changed the way that we market events and how they have changed the time frame and event of an event because now the lead up to an event is so much longer than it ever used to be, and the legacy online is ongoing. So it's such a rich area for us to discuss and say sort of social media, particularly has really changed the landscape of events. So it's a really exciting and a really necessary thing for you to explore. This is the module where you will also be working in a group to deliver a digital event. And obviously, this is the one way that we can get you to do some live assessment because you are working with students who are going to be based all over the world. How else would we get you together in order to run an event? Well, that's because we said we get around that by asking you to deliver something in the virtual world. We've run a number of these so far and they've been absolutely fantastic. So some of them have been entirely virtual. Some of them have been hybrid. So some of them have been physical events that get streamed via certain platforms to different audiences, for example. So that's really playing with this idea of accessibility as well. So really, the world is your oyster in terms of what you want to do as your live practice within that module.

So because there's this sort of strong marketing element of this call to this module, we also look at digital audience engagement, digital marketing techniques and theory. So it's a real mix of sort of practical delivery of marketing and of events and an exploration of the theory that underpins that.

So the last of our carousel modules is sustainable event planning, and this is where we really explore current issues around climate change and sustainability and how the events industry is contributing to that both positively and negatively. So we really explore what your responsibility is as an event manager and how to mitigate against that and how to understand how you can deliver events for good in a world where in a world where so much industry is so challenged by the issues that we're facing. So some of the areas that we cover our environmental business ethics, we look at personal environmental ethics, we look at how to evaluate your environmental impacts. So we want you to really understand what it means for you to run an event and what the long term impacts of that are. As I say, both in terms of social legacy, but in terms of direct environmental impact as well. But really, what we aim to do with this module is to give you a really holistic and thorough understanding of best practice for sustainable event planning, and that will feature things like leadership, procurement, energy, social return on investment and ethical finance. You may be familiar with some of these aspects already. Great if so, but if you're not, if you're not familiar with them, don't worry. We really, really explore all of these aspects really well in this module. So by the end of it, you'll have a really great idea of how to make your events more sustainable and more responsible, and you'll understand more how you feel about those aspects as well. Again, that sense of personal reflection that we encourage is really strong in this module.

This module also contains another two weeks of intensive industry training, so we work with leading international leading organization and charity a festival on this. So again, it's an intensive two week course. It's embedded within the module, so it's not. In addition to content it, it makes up of the weeks of the module. It's designed to give you a really in-depth understanding of the skills and the knowledge that you need in order to be able to deliver an environmental event and environmentally sustainable and responsible event. So we're really it really focuses on the operational side of it.

Um, the course is also the first of a two part program in order to enable you to be an environmental assessor. So this gives you the first sort of the underpinning training of that. And then if you choose, you can go on to work directly with the green festival and go and deliver assessments at events. And that's a really amazing opportunity. As I say, they work all over the world. And so there is the opportunity for you to have that, that practical assessment training element to it as well. And that's something that you can then go on and do much more longer term, not just for the duration of the ema, but also kind of moving forward into the future. So if one of your aspirations is to look at becoming a sustainable events consultant, for example, this is a really fantastic thing for you. But it's a fundamental necessity for all of us working in the industry to understand what our environmental impact is. This course and the attitude is everything. Both have additional costs if you were doing them independently of the rma. But because you are doing the am with us, then you get those courses for free. So we think that's a really great solution to this because we want as many people to do these courses as possible.

So that's the last of the three carousel modules. Those are the modules that you will do in no particular order.

Um, the fifth module is your final major project. This module always comes last. It's the Ii study block modules, so it goes over six months, and this is where you get to explore and research in depth a particular area of contemporary events practice that is of particular interest to you. So you decide what you are going to research. The reason this comes last, obviously, is because we want you to have had all of the had all of the information that we want to give to you within the modules that go first. The first four modules to have developed your academic writing skills and to just feel as ready as you ever will be in order to take on this piece of research.

There's such a variety of topics that is explored in this. So just to give you some example that students who've looked at Experience Design within the Disney theme parks, particularly looking at sensory experience, we've had students exploring the nature of event design from the event designer's perspective. So it was what we call an auto ethnographic piece of research where it was a really deeply reflective analysis of what it is to function within the events industry at this point in time. We've had students do studies of food festivals and how audience operate in certain contexts. We've had students look at urban regeneration events where sort of events and festivals are used to improve the quality of life in urban contexts. So it's really been very dependent on what the student is passionate about.

So whilst you go through the MA always bear that in mind, always think about what aspect of events is it that really fascinates you? That makes you feel really passionate, either because you love it or because you want to change it. You get full support throughout that process, so that module looks a little bit different to the other ones, but you get full supervision throughout that period, and it's so it's always a sole piece of study. It's an independent piece of study, but you don't work in isolation.

You know, we have fantastic research resources here at Falmouth, and you have fantastic supervision to support you in that process. So that's the final module that you will undertake. And we've got a note here about a survey that's conducted after you finish that module. So obviously we really need to understand what the students' experiences be module. Excuse me. And we're really, really proud to say that in the las postgraduate tool experience survey that was conducted that our course scored 94 percent, which is a fantastic score. And as I say, students who have just completed all of the May have given us that score. So it seems like a really important point to finish on because that's their voice, that's what they are saying. It's not what I'm telling you, it's what our students say about the time that they've spent with us.

So, of course, as I've said, the course is entirely conducted online. However, there are twice a year opportunities for students to get together with great events management. One of those opportunities is always held in Falmouth, so we ask you to come to visit our visitors here on campus, and that's normally in July, in the summer. And that's where we spend lots of time together exploring giving you an opportunity to really feel part of Falmouth University and to explore the institution in a physical way in a way that obviously you don't get when you're working online. And those sort of three to four days are a really rich experience of kind of academic content, social content, just opportunities to explore what we have available here for you.

So we always have one in Falmouth, in the UK, down in Cornwall, but we also have one based somewhere in the world and that event is always hung around a particular large scale event. So in the past, we have been to Venice for Venice carnival. So that was in February. We went to Berlin to explore the Berlin Christmas market. So the tradition and the phenomena of that, the next, the next event that we are organizing for next February. So February 2020 is going to be a trip to carnival in Tenerife, which is the second biggest carnival in the world after Rio attracts audiences of 250,000 to 300,000 people. Absolutely fascinating opportunity for us to explore and analyze that those events that we do in other parts of the world are also really rich learning opportunity.

So we tend to partner with the event organizers so you will get to hear directly from them. We partner with local institutions and organizations and universities to hear about their understanding and their experience of being involved with that event. So it's a really sort of in depth experience. It's not just about attending the event and analyzing it and reflecting on it. Of course, that's a big part of it. But we also hear from the people who live it, breathe it, run it. As I say, we go all around the world doing this, and we're always happy to hear from here for four, hear from students for suggestions of things that you think we ought to. We ought to attend. So there are a range of assessment methods throughout each of the modules. We have some sort of classic or traditional assessment formats, so we have a literature review, which is where you do lots of research into the academic writing that has been done around a particular topic and present that. So that's kind of a traditional essay format.

We also ask students to do group and individual presentations. So those are narrated PowerPoints, which are much more, probably much more familiar to those of you working in industry where you've had to pitch for work, for example, or present the outcomes of an event. So it's a much more, I guess, a much more kind of creative opportunity to be assessed. We have, as I mentioned, the live event delivery. So you are assessed on your design, delivery and evaluation of an actual event. We have an assessment which is based on the reflective blog.

So as I was saying, we really want you to really hone your reflective practice experience and therefore one of your assessments, one of your first assessments, is based on that. So we want to get that really embedded in your sort of mindset from the outset. So there's a real variety of types of assessment. So it's some of perhaps the more traditional academic assessments, but lots and lots of other things beside that to really play to a number of different strengths and a number of different learning styles and abilities. If you've done an undergraduate degree in event management, that's great. Not that many of our students have, so we have students coming from all kinds of academic backgrounds. And so what I'm interested in from an applicant there is how what they already have in that academic sense can be transferred to their ability to study with us or creative events management.

Some of our students come from non-academic backgrounds. And what I mean, it really interested in there is evidencing a passion and engagement and enthusiasm and a kind of tangible background in the industry. So I am far more interested in what you have done with an industry, what you have achieved, what your aspirations are, where you want to go, what you're passionate about, what you're interested in and how committed you are to doing the course. I don't have AI don't have a sort of fixed set of things that I expect from every student other than a passion, a passion and a commitment to learn over the two years that you're with us.

Phone held up in crowd to record event

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