The UK Centre for Events Management (UKCEM) at Leeds Metropolitan University is celebrating almost two decades at the forefront of events management education and research with a special event on Wednesday 12 March.


Lecturers from the Centre, which boasts the longest-running events management course in the UK, will reunite with graduates from the course and key events organisations at The Big UKCEM Gathering, which takes place at International Confex 2014 in London.


The event plans to be a celebration of graduates' achievements, Centre partnerships and developments. Representatives from some of the many companies who provide placements for students on the course will be attending, highlighting the Centre's focus on placing employability at the heart of its provision alongside academic and industry research.


Launching in 1996, the UKCEM is one of only a few institutions to offer a degree course solely focused on events management and is well-known for innovations in events management education, from developing specialist courses such as conference and exhibitions management and partnerships to progressing industry education and, most recently, introducing the first pure online MSc in events management with global publisher Pearsons.


Head of the UKCEM, Glenn Bowdin, explained: "We have a very good social network of graduates and keep in contact with them. We are delighted to see so many doing so well. None of this would be possible without the industry employers who help our students through work placements each year. The practical experience our students gain enhances their learning and their ability to put theory into practice and they emerge stronger and more employable as a result."


Alongside The Big UKCEM Gathering, academics from the 30-strong team will be delivering educational sessions based on their own and recent research. Sessions will focus on innovation and engagement in social media, top tips for guilt-free events, and what it takes linguistically to conduct international business.


The past year has been a busy one for the UKCEM team, who have successfully delivered a range of industry-focused projects including the UK Economic Impact Study. This study provided the most comprehensive picture of the meetings industry to date. The Centre's research on the Future of Meetings, commissioned by MPI, has seen the team deliver presentations at live events across the world.

Leeds Met academics from the UK Centre for Events Management/International Centre for Research in Events, Tourism and Hospitality will be presenting their research on Strategic Meetings Management next week at the European Meetings and Events Conference (EMEC) in Istanbul.


In a new game format devised by the UK Centre for Events Management team here at Leeds Met, Dr Eliza Hixson will be presenting alongside industry representatives. Jackie Mulligan will be presenting a closing keynote flashpoint entitled "Transformational Lessons from the Future".

The conference, which attracts meeting professionals from across Europe as well as all parts of the world, takes place annually as a key part of the Meeting Professionals International (MPI) calendar.

Leeds Met Events Management student Olivia Pole-Evans, the winner of the Vanessa Cotton Memorial Scholarship, will be attending the conference, whilst undergraduate James Guerin and graduate Emma Heslington will be joining the international team managing the conference itself.

Jackie commented: "It is great to be presenting content once again to businesses worldwide, showcasing our research but also and most importantly; the event is providing excellent opportunities for our events management students".

For more information about EMEC and to live link to the sessions visit the EMEC website.


Staff and students from the UK Centre for Event Management (UKCEM) at Leeds Met last week held a successful ceremonial opening event with Kongsberg Automotive, a Norwegian company with global operations in 20 countries.


The event officially opened a £1 million factory extension in Normanton, Wakefield. Event Support Service staff worked with five volunteer students from our BA (Hons) Events Management and BA (Hons) Entertainment Management courses to transform an empty factory space into an event space for a spectacular luncheon for the company. The event was designed, visualised and coordinated by staff members Emma Heslington and James Guerin.


The Centre, which is the leading and largest provider of events education and research in the world, is now providing event support services to companies on a project by project basis. The service generates income for the School of Events, Tourism and Hospitality, in addition to giving undergraduates the opportunity to carry out real industry work experience with the support of a full time manager and input from the academic team.


Event Support Service Officer Emma Heslington, commented: "As well as providing an example of Leeds Met's skilled graduates and undergraduates in front of guests from the region and internationally, the event success demonstrated how a team effort can gain results."


If you have clients who could benefit from support for their events, please contact Emma Heslington (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.). Future events for the team include a business networking event and support of the European Meetings and Events Conference in Istanbul. The team will also be providing support for School of Event, Tourism and Hospitality events designed to support industry engagement including Fresh Start January workshops, Institute of Travel & Tourism conference and an Alumni event in London in March.

Carnegie Stadium and Pavilion


The latest business insights on international culture, future trends, social media, sustainability, leadership and team psychology will be brought to businesses across the region as part of a unique series of short, practical workshops in January.  The weeklong ‘Fresh Start January’ programme from 13th-17th is the first of its kind at the University and will take place at the world class Carnegie Pavilion in Headingley.

The workshops will all be delivered by specialists in events, tourism and hospitality. Jackie Mulligan, Principal Lecturer and one of the workshop leaders on ‘Using future thinking to help you innovate’ explains “Academics from Leeds Metropolitan University are in demand, teaching and presenting insights around the World to industry. This is our chance to present cutting edge insights to professionals on our doorstep.”

Organisers of Fresh Start January promise workshops will blend new insights with practical tips and ideas for businesses to implement and the workshops will include a mix of students, graduates and practitioners providing good networking opportunities and a chance for companies in the region to meet new talent.

Dr Emma Wood, Author of Innovative Marketing Communications and reader in Festivals and Event Marketing will lead a workshop on market research ‘
What do they want from me? Doing and using customer research’. She adds “We have lots of exciting workshops available to really help businesses to think differently and make a fresh start. In my session attendees can expect to get the latest innovative (and not so innovative) techniques to evaluate what their customers think and feel about them."

Workshops are priced at £50 each and early booking is recommended as spaces are very limited. The full list of workshops and booking information is available through Leeds Metropolitan University’s online store

The future of the great English tradition of morris dancing could be under threat, according to new research by Leeds Metropolitan University.


We've all seen morris dancing taking place at summer fetes across England but Professor Karl Spracklen and Dr Stephen Henderson at the University's Institute of Sport, Physical Activity and Leisure have found that, despite a culture of inclusivity and community, the tradition remains unfashionable and white male-dominated and that there is concern about future recruitment to the activity.


The study, which involved in-depth interviews with 13 morris dancers and musicians from across the North of England, examined the culture and identity of morris dancing and how those involved see themselves as defenders of 'Englishness'. A resulting paper has been published in Leisure journal.


Professor Spracklen commented: "Morris dancing is loved and regaled in equal measures. Every weekend in the summer, one can find hundreds of morris sides out dancing across England. However many people see it as uncool or unfashionable. Far-right political parties such as the British Nationalist Party (BNP) have also tried to co-opt morris dancing and English folk music as an authentic white English tradition to protect and celebrate and with such racist ideologies, it is not surprising that the London 2012 organisers were seemingly wary of involving morris dancing in the official ceremonies. It took campaigns and persuasion to have it included as part of the closing ceremony."

"The notion of Englishness," Karl continued, "is very individual. It can be defined by symbols, traditions and authenticity. In the first revival of English folk culture, morris dancing and folk music were seen as native English traditions about to be lost. When it revived for a second time in the 1960s, folk music and dance represented working-class folk traditions. In both revivals we saw a struggle over meaning and identity."


Although all of the morris dancers interviewed had become involved for different reasons, they all identified very strongly with their particular morris sides and the wider community or scene. Most felt confident that new dancers would continue to be attracted but whilst some were committed to keeping the tradition going as it was danced in the years of yore, with some sides still not admitting women, many wanted to see tradition adapted and changed in the future.


Karl explained: "For most, it is a chance to socialise and have a sense of belonging, locally and beyond as many were involved in national campaigns for younger morris dancers, summer camps for morris dancing, travelling up and down the country to morris events, etc.


"All respondents felt that morris dancing is a legitimate part of English culture, as folk or popular culture. Several stressed that it is an important tradition that needs to keep going, as something that has been passed down from generation to generation. However they all recognised that it has a strange and contested position in English culture: that it is not fashionable, modern or part of the culture of the ruling classes."