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Reflections on The Opportunities and Challenges of Events Management Education

Our AEME Exec Members Glenn Bowdin and Dr Tim Brown delivered the opening keynote for AEME (Association for Events Management Education) 2023 at University of Gloucestershire on Thursday 6th July 2023 and opened up the conversations about the direction of travel for events management education.

In this reflection, Glenn highlights some of the opportunities and challenges raised.

AEME Forum Key Note Bowdin and Brown.jpg

It is fair to say there are some fantastic opportunities for our subject, with a range of industry initiatives supporting students and graduates, emerging career paths, an increasing literature/research base and a professional community of events educators delivering theoretical and practical perspectives to ensure that our students and graduates emerge industry, career and life ready.

There are ongoing challenges though, some of which have been highlighted with our joint AEME (Association for Events Management Education) work with The Association for Tourism in Higher Education (ATHE) and Council for Hospitality Management Education, including our open letter, research project and Progressing Policy in Tourism, Hospitality and Events Education Forum on 18th October. Decisions are being made, and narratives developed, by some in government that are impacting on courses available that feed through into higher education.

There are concerns with some members facing (or experiencing) course closures (not always based on viable student numbers, with courses exceeding progression, graduate outcomes, NSS and other metrics or plans in place for continued improvement). These add to a mixed picture of student recruitment, with room for undergraduate recruitment overall still to recover, and growth in postgraduate numbers.

Why study for a degree in events management, compared to studying other subjects? An even stronger message needs to be developed to help attract students to study events. How do we attract more school and college leavers, or indeed others, into the events industry, to develop the workforce and be an attractive career choice? What information do parents, teachers, careers advisors, and others need to make help them choose events management as a subject? How do we retain highly educated and skilled graduates in the industry, given the range of careers choices available? Many questions emerge and over the year ahead, AEME (Association for Events Management Education) and our members will be working together, as well as with other stakeholders including industry associations, employers and initiatives, to help answer them.

There are further implications for our events subject. After years of expanding our subject community, with any changes to the student body, we risk losing subject expertise, with academics and researchers redirecting their efforts (or being redirected) away from events management. Given the advances in events management education and research that we have seen, mirrored in the 19 years of AEME (Association for Events Management Education) forums, there has never been a more important time to remain engaged with our subject community through AEME, including our SIGs.

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By Glenn A J Bowdin, 10th July 2023

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