The UK Centre for Events Management (UKCEM) at Leeds Beckett University has been announced as the official University Educational Partner for the UK’s leading and longest standing event for the meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions industry, International Confex.

The agreement will see events management education brought to the fore as UKCEM celebrates 20 years of events management education in the UK.

Through the partnership, the Leeds Beckett University UKCEM graduate-led Event Support Services team will deliver a half-day student conference on the second day of the show (3 March); produced by students for students.

The team will also host an alumni gathering bringing together graduates from the last 20 years of events management education, who are now working at all levels of industry.

At the conference the UKCEM team will be taking the lead in an initiative called ‘The Big Conversation‘ which aims to bring industry and academia together to visualise what will be needed in terms of skills, knowledge and education in the next 20 years.

Speaking about the partnership, Jackie Mulligan, Principal Lecturer at Leeds Beckett and Director of Enterprise for UKCEM, said:  “This is a really important and timely conversation for our industry to be having when talent is top of the agenda, and we’re delighted to have the support of Confex in starting dialogue on what lies ahead in the next 20 years.

“We’re bringing together some of the most successful and inspiring individuals as part of our alumni relations, and putting them alongside event professionals and academics to get a 360 view on how industry and educators might collaborate and meet the challenges and opportunities ahead. It is a milestone to be 20 years on from starting events management at Leeds Beckett University in 1996. We now ask, what will the next 20 years bring and what might industry and education do differently?”

Liz Agostini, International Confex Events Director, added: “This is another great partnership for the show, and more great educational content around UK Events Week, working with an organisation with over 20 years of experience educating the next generations of event professionals. Professionalism and new talent in the industry is a big talking point at the moment and one we wanted to provide a platform for at International Confex.”

The partnership will also see the UKCEM have a stand presence at the show, allowing industry professionals to learn more about how events management is taught, how to gain online qualifications as well as part-time and full-time events management degrees and Masters qualifications and how they can support the education of the next generation of industry talent through placements and recruitment.

International Confex takes place 2-3 March 2016 at Olympia London.



A free public seminar in boosting the value and impact of sports and cultural events, in our region and beyond, is set to take place at Leeds Beckett University on Friday 13 November.

Hosted by the University’s International Centre for Research in Events, Tourism and Hospitality (ICRETH), the event, ‘Maximising the value of sports and cultural events’, is taking place from 1.30pm - 4pm at Headingley Carnegie Pavilion, room 418.  

The event forms part of the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)’s annual Festival of Social Science, a national initiative aiming to showcase the important role which social science research plays in our social, economic and political lives.

There has long been an interest among local authorities and other agencies in the use of publicly-funded events, from the Grand Départ of the Tour de France to very locally-focused food and community arts festivals, for the purposes of economic development.

This free event will show the practical contribution social science research can make to improving post-event evaluation, and the kinds of strategies that policy-makers might adopt for increasing the economic and social impact of public investment of this kind.

The afternoon will consist of short informal presentations by key practitioners from the world of sport, the arts and local authorities, as well as from experts with extensive evaluation experience. This is followed by the opportunity for networking and discussions.

Speaking on the day will be: Jane Earnshaw, Programmer for Leeds Inspired at Leeds City Council and former Director of I Love West Leeds, presenting It depends what you mean by ‘value’: reflections of different ways of valuing arts and cultural events; Dr Emma Wood, Reader in Events Marketing at Leeds Beckett University, whose talk is entitled ‘Social’ goals: benefits beyond the economic; Independent Consultant, David Andrews, the former Chief Executive Officer of the Yorkshire Tourist Board (now Welcome to Yorkshire), who led the team that successfully bid for the Bollywood (IIFA) Awards in 2007, presenting Are big events worth it? An insight into their cost and bidding processes; and Dr ShiNa Li, Senior Lecturer at Leeds Beckett, will discuss her research, Maximising the economic impact of sports and cultural events.

Professor Rhodri Thomas, Head of ICRETH, said: “We applied to host this event, our third, because we feel it helps us convey some important messages about our research Centre. Being part of the ESRC’s festival indicates that we are trusted partners in a wider project to promote the value of social science research.  It also reflects our concern to work with practitioners and to engage audiences beyond academia. The theme is clearly topical and we hope will attract significant interest.”

For more information, and to register to attend this free event, please go to

The ESRC’s 13th annual Festival of Social Science takes place from 7-14 November 2015 with over 200 free events nationwide. The Festival provides an opportunity for anyone to meet with some of the country’s leading social scientists and discover, discuss and debate the role that research plays in everyday life. A full programme is available at You can also join the discussion on Twitter using #esrcfestival.

Academics from the International Centre for |Research in Events, Tourism and Hospitality (ICRETH) at Leeds Beckett University have been instrumental in driving a pioneering approach to measuring innovation in the meetings industry.

The project, funded by International Congress and Convention Association ICCA, with input from over 200 ICCA member organisations, has enabled Professor Rhodri Thomas and Dr Emma Wood of the International Centre for Research in Events, Tourism and Hospitality (ICRETH) at Leeds Beckett University to develop a tool to measure absorptive capacity of an organisation (a firm’s ability to recognise the value of new information and use this to its advantage.)

Professor Thomas added: “Absorptive capacity is the ability to acquire, assimilate, transform and exploit external knowledge for competitive advantage.  The idea is that competitive organisations are not only able to process knowledge effectively to innovate but they also have the capacity to use information that does not directly fill an identifiable gap in knowledge.”

Although there is a large body of research on innovation related to other industrial sectors, little attention has been paid – until now - to the meetings industry.  Professor Thomas said: “There are many potential explanations for why some organisations are innovative and others are not.  Factors such as entrepreneurial leadership, organisational culture and the management of knowledge are often cited as important variables, however one of the most influential ideas to emerge over the past two decades, is the role absorptive capacity plays in innovation.”

ICCA CEO Martin Sirk said: “We were delighted that an ICCA member university wanted to tackle such a challenging research topic.  Our industry is constantly talking about innovation, but there have been no objective tools available.  Hopefully this innovative project is the start of a new way of thinking about this important issue.”

The research suggests that the meetings industry’s average absorptive capacity score is modest at 34, whereas a score of 45 or more indicates a high level of absorptive capacity.  However, the industry average score conceals a wide range from very low to very high scores, suggesting that some organisations could be significantly more effective in using external knowledge for competitive advantage whilst others are highly innovative.

Professor Thomas concludes: “This research epitomises what we are trying to do in ICRETH. Our collective goal is to undertake research that our peers want to read and reflect upon and that practitioners treat with approbation.”

To read the article that reports the research in full visit The absorptive capacity of tourism organisations.

A new book offering practical advice for planning and managing the perfect event – even for people with little or no experience – has been published by two Senior Lecturers at Leeds Beckett University.

Event Planning and Management’ is the collaborative effort of Reverend Ruth Dowson, Senior Lecturer in Events, Tourism and Hospitality, and David Bassett, Leadership Development Consultant; both working at the UK Centre of Events Management at Leeds Beckett.


The book launch coincides with the start of the new academic year which sees over 250 new students join the Events Management course at Leeds Beckett – one of the largest and most popular courses in the UK.



An experienced event organiser and educator of events managers and industry practitioners, David said: “Planning an event can be great fun – it unleashes the creative side in us; giving us the opportunity to dream up unique and unusual venues to host an event, to conjure up new and exciting activities for the event attendees to enjoy, and to create weird and wonderful menus for the guests to sample.  But planning an event is no easy task and, with much to do, it can prove quite stressful.”


With over 30 years' experience in strategic development, management and delivery of events, conferences, seminars and exhibitions, Ruth added:  “As an event organiser, you are only too aware that much of the success of the event will be down to how well you plan it and even the most experienced event organiser can overlook critical details. Which is why we— with the help of our academic colleagues, fellow industry professionals and UK Centre for Events Management students and graduates — have written this practical guide to planning and managing events, packed with practical advice, top tips and checklists to help you put on a great event.”




The guide, published by Kogan Page, offers a structured, practical approach to events; from the initial planning, to final evaluating stages.  Part of the PR in Practice series, it introduces key models and theories but focuses on the practical side of building and working with a team, choosing a location, creating a programme, dealing with stakeholders and sponsors, promoting the event, essential financial and procurement considerations and finally evaluating the event. 


Each stage of the process is fully supported with online resources, including templates and quizzes to make up a complete event planner's toolkit - balancing coverage of the key theory and models with essential practical guidance, tools and case studies from around the world.


Leeds Beckett has one copy of the book to give away.  To win simply email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and quote the word 'EVENTS'

In addition, Kogan Page are offering a 20% discount - to redeem, visit and quote MKTLEEDSBECKETT

Ella Crowther, who graduated from our University this summer with a BA (Hons) degree in Events Management, has been awarded the Spark Thinking Student of the Year award.


Spark Thinking is an Ashfield Meetings & Events agency who presented Ella with her prize following her recent graduation. Our University appointed Spark Thinking as our live event support agency in 2014, with the company producing our graduation ceremonies from 2015.

Ella commented: “During my first induction lecture at the university I remember the lecturers sharing an image of the highest academic achiever at that year’s graduation ceremony. I remember thinking to myself what an accolade it would be to receive the award but never dreamed it would be me. I am so very grateful for all of the help I have received throughout the duration of my degree from lecturers, friends and family. I would also like to express my gratitude to Spark Thinking for sponsoring the ‘Student Of The Year’ award. It is exciting to launch my career with all of this experience and support behind me”.

James Musgrave, Events Management Course Leader, said: "Ella was chosen because of her engagement with the course and her commitment to the Events Industry. Her ability to build relationships has been key in her career so far and this is supported well be her outstanding academic achievement. We wish Ella all the very best.”

Luke Flett, Global Marketing Manager at Spark Thinking, added:  “As an agency we think it is important to reward and recognise the bright sparks of tomorrow. University graduates are the next generation of thinkers, leaders and doers and will face a complex and challenging future. We are keen to encourage any initiatives that supports talented and enthusiastic individuals and allows them to showcase the new types of value and fresh thinking they can bring to our industry. We are confident that Ella has a glowing career ahead of her. As part of her four year degree she undertook a placement year with the specialist events venue, 8 Northumberland Avenue, so she is already well versed with the intricacies of our sector.”