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This is a guest blog by Zoe Leonard, MSc Events Management student.

Why did you decide to study at BU and what has attracted you to this course? 

I was already working at Bournemouth University in Research Events & Training, and I had several colleagues who had started courses and were progressing well and really enjoying their experiences.

I saw an opportunity to update my skills in an environment that I was already very comfortable in. Bournemouth University Talbot Campus has a friendly and welcoming atmosphere, there are great spaces available to study independently or as part of a group, and the course offered some flexibility for me on a part time basis, which enabled me to continue working.

What did you like the most about studying at BU and this particular course?Headshot photo of Zoe Leonard

The Events Management and Marketing courses cover such a broad area of study, exposing you to digital platforms, new trends within the industry, practical experiences as well as theory. The subjects covered included contemporary events, International Bidding, Crisis and Disaster Management, Organisation, Strategy and Finance, and Live Event Development to name but a few.

I enjoyed the discussion element of the course, giving you the chance to delve deeper into certain subjects with the academics and other students. I believe this really enhanced my learning experience.

Whilst the assignments have a level of structure, theme, and requirements, you can base those around things that are of interest to you, I was able to draw upon past experiences to help me develop those but also had the opportunity to learn new and exciting areas of events, marketing and event management.

For my dissertation, I decided to focus on an area that I had a real interest in, which was 1940s revival events and activities. In one of the Event Management lectures Dr Julie Whitfield spoke a lot about storytelling and authenticity in events, and I felt that was something that could work quite well with the 1940s revival events. I knew that there were hundreds of these events taking place each year.

I feel like the stories of that time is something that we should continue to share but I was interested in how the events can do that accurately, whilst still being respectful, are they authentic and educational? Or are they glorified stories of the past. Do they tell all sides of the story or do they whitewash over the unpleasant aspects of war and favour the good bits, like the music, the fashion and the comradery. How authentic is it and how educational can it actually be?

PowerPoint slide image of Zoe's Edutainment project

I found that the literature review was actually the favourite part for me, it not only gives you the background research elements for you to build on, but it also made me ask a lot of questions, which I then used to develop the research questions for the participants.

Since finishing the MSc, I have presented my research at the ICE conference (International Conference on Events) 2021. I presented online and had some lovely comments and great questions from the audience.

I recently had a chapter published in a new book called ‘Festivals and Edutainment’, based on the work from my dissertation, “Edutainment through Storytelling, Nostalgia and Living History in 1940s Festivals and Events”, so that is a great achievement and something that I never in my wildest dreams thought would ever happen.

I also have a paper published in the Event Management Journal “Presenting an Authentic Reflection of the Past Through Storytelling and Living History in 1940s Events”.

Collage of historical re-enactment events What would your advice be to anyone thinking of studying the same degree at BU? 

I would advise anyone thinking about starting the MSc in Event Management to absolutely go for it. Get involved in the discussions, the more you contribute the more you will get out of the overall experience.

When it comes to selecting subjects for your assignments and your dissertation, select a subject that you have a passion for, that you can really delve into and enjoy every step of the way.

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