AEME’s Special Interest Group Research Fund aims to promote the Special Interest Groups (SIGs) to focus on specific areas of interest in the field of Events Management. The fund is designed to support the undertaking of high-quality research and educational activities related to the scope and aims of AEME. Proposals were invited from AEME colleagues as part of their institutional membership with AEME. The projects for 2023-4 are outlined below. Dissemination of outputs of the project will be presented at the AEME Forum 2024 in Sheffield.
Project: Live Audience Accessibility & Augmentation 2 Festivals
SIG Funding Awardees: Adrian Bossey, Mhairi Ambler, Kamran Harandy & Elisia Irving (Falmouth University), with input and support from Mandy Curtis (University of Brighton)
SIG Links: DEI and Sustainability
The Live Audience Accessibility & Augmentation 2 Festivals (‘LAAA2F’) project, led by Adrian Bossey from Falmouth University, is working with Deaf Rave to evaluate user experience/perceptions of the authenticity of their live experience when wearing Woojer Haptic Vests at selected music festivals. The project builds on the previous success of the initial LAAA project which installed a haptic dance floor at Falmouth University in May 2023. LAAA2F focuses on the disruption of an existing haptic technology with the intent to facilitate accessibility and inclusive participation of people who are Deaf or disabled at music festivals. This project also intends to advance knowledge relating to sustainable practice from a social perspective. The first field test took place at Boomtown Fair in August 2023, supported by Mandy Curtis from the University of Brighton and a second phase is planned at the Deaf Rave Festival in October. One final field test is planned for 2024.
Photo 1: Questionaire Completion at Boomtown Festival
Photo 2: Haptic Vests at Boomtown
Photo Credit: Mandy Curtis
Project: Towards a Value Framework: Exploring Sustainability Behaviours at Music Festivals
SIG Funding Awardee: Briony Whitaker (University of the West of England UWE, Bristol Business School)
SIG Links: DEI and Future Leaders
Existing research has already identified that music festivals are clear victims of littering and poor sustainable behaviours and that there is a need to address attendee behaviours in order to minimise the amount of waste that is produced to ensure longevity of this particular event sector. This project will explore the behaviours, attitudes and values of attendees towards littering and sustainability whilst at music festivals, to create a value segmentation framework. The aim of this is to aid the design of sustainability interventions by allowing festival organisers to target specific groups based upon values rather than a blanket intervention for everyone. During the summer of 2023, I conducted ethnographic research at music festivals and am now working to create a sustainability value segmentation framework that will allow us to group attendees together based upon their attitudes and values towards sustainability whilst at the event.
Project: Understanding Experiences of Outdoor Event Attendees' Dietary Requirements and Its Contribution to Sustainability Development
SIG Funding Awardee: Clare Mackay and Ed Little (University of the West of England UWE)
SIG Links: DEI, Sustainability & Wellbeing
Catering to special dietary requirements (SDR) contributes to the achievement of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals through reducing inequality, contributing to health and wellbeing, and environmental and economic sustainability.
Clare Mackay and Dr. Ed Little of UWE Bristol are addressing the current gap within the Event Studies body of knowledge on special dietary requirements. The research aims to understand the experiences of outdoor events attendees with special dietary requirements to support the sector to contribute to sustainable development.
Project: Investigations and Solutions in Addressing Ethnic Diversity in the Events Industry
SIG Funding Awardees: Professor Thomas Fletcher (Leeds Beckett University) and Nadu Placca (Co-founder, Association of Black Event Professionals)
SIG Links: DEI and Future Leaders
Currently there are no data available to confidently state the level of ethnic diversity within the events industry. However, there is growing recognition that the events industry is not diverse, and that this is problematic from both a social justice and a business perspective. We also know that there are no studies currently centralising students or events education within the context of race and racism. The proposed project therefore, makes an important contribution to events management by centralising race and racism in exploration of organisational processes and experiences. Through interviews with existing and aspiring (student) Black events professionals, and industry professionals (specifically, those who offer student placements), and a survey with event academics and Black events management students, this project will explore some of the ways in which events organisations, education and careers are racialised.
Project: Event Management Students’ Leadership Aspirations and the Realities of their Leadership Development in the Industry
SIG Funding Awardee: Emma Abson, Charlotte Rowley, Natalie Haynes & Caroline Westwood (Sheffield Hallam University)
SIG Links: Future Leaders
Our research explores the leadership aspirations of women who have studied, or are studying, event management degrees. Previous research has shown that whilst there are a larger number of women than men studying events, there are still substantially less women than men in leadership roles in the industry. It is important therefore to understand women’s leadership aspirations and the realities of their leadership development so that the industry can begin to close this gap. Through questionnaires to graduates within the UK events industry and students currently studying for their degrees, we aim to reveal the ambition levels and perceptions of leadership for women during the early stages of their careers.
Photo: (L to R) Emma Abson, Caroline Westwood, Charlotte Rowley and Natalie Haynes