An event exploring the role of corporate social responsibility in the events, tourism and hospitality industries, was held at Leeds Metropolitan University.

Sarah Dunwell, CEO of the award-winning social enterprise CREATE, shared how her business maximises a positive social impact for the most marginalised in society whilst also remaining profitable.

Sarah, who was awarded an honorary Master of Business Administration degree from Leeds Met, has spent the last decade running highly successful small businesses, specialising in catering and food retail. Other speakers at the event include Jackie Mulligan and Professor Kevin Hannam, who is the chair of the World Leisure Organisation's Commission on Tourism and the Environment and a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society (FRGS).

The session was designed to encourage those working or interested in events, tourism or hospitality to reflect upon how they could enable their organisations to make a positive contribution to their locality and how universities might help.

Organisations of all sizes are showing a growing interest in corporate social responsibility (CSR). Definitions vary but generally CSR is taken to mean managing in a way that improves rather than damages society. This encompasses what can seem like a bewildering array of issues; from those associated with the environment to employment practices.

Speaking before the event Professor Rhodri Thomas, Head of the International Centre for Research in Events, Tourism and Hospitality at Leeds Met said: 'We are delighted that we will be able to celebrate Sarah's achievements at the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Festival of Social Science event. We will be able highlight how social science research can make important contributions to decision-making in commercial and non-commercial organisations."

Jackie Mulligan added: "This is a wonderful opportunity to share some of the findings from our research in the meeting industry with our networks, regional businesses and our peers. Responsibility is high on the agenda in all sectors and from our future trends research responsibility seems to continue to be a critical success factor - enhancing performance, reducing costs as well as strengthening the image of companies to their target markets."

The event was part of the Economic and Social Research Council's Festival of Social Science, which offers an insight into some of the country's leading social science research and how it influences our social, economic and political lives - both now and in the future.

The festival, now in its tenth year, takes place across the UK - via public debates, conferences, workshops, interactive seminars, film screenings, virtual exhibitions and much more.

Social science research makes a real difference in influencing public policy, contributing to making the economy more competitive, as well as giving people a better understanding of 21st century society. From big ideas to the most detailed observations, social science affects us all everyday - at work, in school, when raising children, within our communities, and even at the national level.

The event took place at the Carnegie Pavilion at Headingley Carnegie Stadium on 8 November.

Researchers from the International Centre for Research in Events, Tourism and Hospitality will be presenting at a prestigious conference in Barcelona.

Latest findings from new white papers and supplements for Meeting Professionals International (MPI)from the Future of Meetings study will be presented at EIBTM, the global meetings and events exhibition in Barcelona at the end of November.

Principal Lecturer Jackie Mulligan from the International Centre for Research in Events, Tourism and Hospitality will be presenting latest findings at the conference which attracts meetings industry professionals, venues, destinations from across Europe and the World each year.

The presentation will be another milestone in the MPI commissioned study which has seen live tracking of social media at live global events, technology reviews of key trends, analysis of over 1600 surveys, worldwide focus groups, interviews with technology innovators as well as experts from outside the industry.

Jackie Mulligan explains "the research is bringing together multiple perspectives to develop some key trend insights. The educational session at the conference is very interactive but I will also be doing tours to help businesses reimagine the meeting places and spaces as a workshop on the move."

The latest white paper series which includes 10 separate pieces will be published from now until the end of January on the MPI website. The work has involved collaboration across the Centre and between Carnegie Faculty and the Faculty of Arts, Environment and Technology.

Academics from Leeds Met have launched new research which explores the future of meetings for the events and hospitality industry.

The research is part of a three year study by The International Centre for Research in Events, Tourism and Hospitality at Leeds Met who were commissioned by Meetings Professional International (MPI), the professional community for the global meetings industry.

Among trends identified in the research, presented at Imex America in Las Vegas, is the greater focus on sustainability, as well as a need for meeting spaces to be uniquely designed to meet specific objectives.

A growth in data capture from delegates could lead to controversy over privacy issues, while social networks and even neuroscience will provide greater insights into attendee engagement.

MPI International's interim chief executive Cindy D'Aoust said: "The Future of Meetings research initiative focuses on emerging issues facing the industry and cutting-edge information impacting the community.
"This is absolutely the kind of intelligence meetings and events professionals need at their disposal in order to thrive."

The report - put together following interviews with 26 experts from fields including science, events, technology, communication and economics - covers issues facing the industry and offers insights on expected demographic shifts in the workplace, upcoming drivers of change and the impact of virtual and online connections on live events.

It examines issues including the need to ditch stereotypes, as an aging population is "connected, active, and experienced". 

Meanwhile, the challenges of the recession linger, with an ever greater need to prove return on investment (ROI).

Project leader and Principal Lecturer at Leeds Metropolitan University, Jackie Mulligan explains: "Whilst the meetings industry in Europe and the US is understandably focused on the economic difficulties confronting them right now - this is endangering the industry by overshadowing the longer term opportunities. Meeting planners need to consider and learn more about economies in the developing world as well as consider new industry growth areas where businesses will need to meet and collaborate - in bio and nanotechnologies for instance. Innovation is critical".

Following the research presented at Imex America in Las Vegas, MPI Foundation will release a series of related research papers leading up to MPI's European Meetings & Events Conference (EMEC 2013) in Montreux, Switzerland on 27-29 January.

A comprehensive Future of Meetings toolkit will be released by MPI Foundation next year.

From the Olympic Games to this weekend's Freeze Festival in London - volunteering opportunities for Leeds Metropolitan students are going from strength to strength thanks to a new partnership.

The University's UK Centre of Events Management has joined forces with Seed Staff, an innovative company that gives undergraduates the opportunity to gain experience and undergo training whilst volunteering at some of Britain's biggest live events.

Since the partnership got underway in the summer, more than 80 Leeds Met Events Management and Entertainment Management students have bolstered their CVs and employability skills by volunteering at the likes of Leeds and Birmingham's Olympic Torch Relays, the 2012 Games in London and South Wales's Beach Break Live which saw stars including Dizzee Rascal and Nero perform to thousands.

Stephen Prescott, who is undertaking the final year of his Events Management degree at Leeds Metropolitan and works freelance for Seed Staff managing and supervising student volunteers, will be working at the Freeze Festival held at London's Battersea Power Station from October 26-27. Eight Leeds Met students will also be volunteering at the event.

"There's something for everyone when it comes to volunteering for Seed Staff," commented Stephen. "Students can get great experience as there are a lot of different roles to be filled. They can take on anything from being a production assistant to being a steward to working on merchandise stands."

Stephen added that the more events that students volunteered at the more networking opportunities there were, potentially leading to other volunteering opportunities both in the UK and overseas.

David Bassett, Senior Lecturer in Events Management at Leeds Metropolitan, said the partnership with Seed Staff gave students a unique opportunity to put their learning from their degrees into practice whilst rubbing shoulders with industry professionals and making useful contacts.

"This experience is so important and will really help our students stand out from the crowd when they are looking for employment after they graduate," he commented. "The on-site training is another excellent opportunity for students to further develop their skills - not everything can be taught in the classroom."

The content of the training includes on-site management structures, stakeholder mapping and event history as well as practical skills such as radio use and site map use. Seed Staff also ensure that volunteers are not only well versed in their own role but also get a broad range of information about the overall event.

More advanced, optional training sessions are also open to all volunteers, covering topics such as site design and artist booking.

Freeze is the last major event for student volunteers in 2012. Seed Staff will present a fresh festival and events volunteering programme for Leeds Met's UK Centre of Events Management undergraduates in the New Year.

A new Institute undertaking contemporary research into the areas of sport, physical activity and leisure has been launched at our University.

The Research Institute for Sport, Physical Activity and Leisure was launched on Monday 2 July at our Headingley Campus with speakers including Professor Clyde Williams OBE, eminent Sport and Exercise Scientist and Emeritus Professor of Sports Science at Loughborough University, and Professor Celia Brackenridge OBE, Chair of the 2012 Pre-Olympic Convention, and Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson DBE, who both contributed their thoughts via video.

The Institute will deliver international research excellence through five University Research Centres, all led by a Professor of the University: Active Lifestyles; Diversity, Equity and Inclusion; Events, Tourism and Hospitality; Sport Coaching and Physical Education; and Sports Performance.

Speaking at the launch, Vice-Chancellor, Professor Susan Price, commented: "The new Institute brings together interdisciplinary subjects to create a synergy which allows us to leverage our strengths to make a positive success of the region. We are committed to maintaining and building on our research strengths."

Research Institute for Sport, Physical Activity and Leisure Director, Professor Carlton Cooke, said: "The launch has been a great success today with open sessions, workshops presented by both staff and students throughout the day."

Professor Clyde Williams OBE added: "It is an inspirational move to establish this Institute as it gives a loud signal to the outside world that Leeds Metropolitan University means business. The Carnegie brand has gone from strength to strength and with these five Centres, the University can further build on these notable areas of strength."

Research across the Centres last year included: A pilot project to help students with type 1 diabetes to manage their condition, exploring the experiences of current Leeds Metropolitan students who have diabetes; Evaluation of the Premier League Health campaign with the University's Centre for Men's Health. Premier League Health is a unique £1.63m programme funded by the Football Foundation to help improve the state of men's health, particularly in deprived areas, all over the country; and an anti-doping study that found that drugs testing alone is not an effective deterrent in preventing athletes from taking performance-enhancing substances.

Research also inspired Leeds Metropolitan University's second successful Himalayan expedition where members of the expedition team summited Mera Peak and Baruntse, as well as collecting valuable data on acclimatisation to altitude.

There are currently more than 70 postgraduate research award students studying across the Centres of the Institute, with opportunities for new students to compete for full time PhD bursaries on an annual basis or self-fund their part time studies.

A video of Professor Celia Brackenridge OBE and Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson DBE's speeches can be viewed here