The end of the last term saw the first year Events Management students in School of Tourism on a field visit to two high profile event venues in London. Tours of ExCeL London, including their new Phase II ICC London space were given to the students by: Martin Avard (Senior Events Manager) and Tom Edwards (Events Manager). Students also visited the Barbican Centre in the City and had tours and presentations from: Samme Allen (Barbican Head of Sales for Business Events); Nia Edwards (Business Events Executive) and Oliver Hargreaves (Business Development Manager of Business Events for Barbican).
The field visit helped to underpin the first year students’ understanding of the nature, significance, organisation and impact of the events industry in contemporary terms, and also from a national and international perspective.
The first stop being ExCeL London students were divided into two groups and given extensive walking tours of the ExCeL’s vast space, including sections of two of their 4500 square metre exhibition halls. Students heard about the diversity of events including major trade shows and exhibitions such as London Boat show and the World Travel market. This included the challenges of the venue hosting seven different competitive events as part of the London 2012 Olympics including for example boxing, fencing and wrestling competitions. They also toured the new ICC London (International Convention Centre) space of the venue, where venue hire can be in the region of £20,000 per day.
Their tour guides shared with the students details of their own career paths in their respective events management fields, through to managing the largest exhibition and convention space in the UK. First year Events Management student Megan Aitchison said of the ExCel tour: “ExCeL is such a dramatic building that even when approaching the building it has a exciting feel about it. The size of the venue instantly made me think that any sort of event would be able to be hosted here without limitations. We were shown that the versatility of the size and selections of rooms assist ExCeL with many incredible events that they host”.
The second tour on the day at the Barbican began with a staff presentation to the events students in Cinema 1, with a capacity of 280 people. The students learned about the range and diversity of events hosted at the Barbican from corporate product launches, official AGM’s, the concert hall home of the LSO along with the hard work involved in delivering high end events and performances to its diverse clientele. The students also had back stage tours of the main concert hall where they were given talks and tours by the Barbican technical team and included insight into: backstage, main stage and lighting, and acoustics of Concert Hall events. First year student Davina Gilbert took the following away from her visit there “the Barbican as a venue space was my favourite; immediately I noticed its personal atmosphere and friendliness. The layout was creative and felt like a mini adventure! You could tell the staff were passionate about their jobs and really believed in the space they were showing. Having a venue space that feels comfortable, friendly, creative and professional certainly speaks volumes more than just large spaces and formal settings”.
This industry specific field visit helps the students to contextualise their learning further in their course, and is a complement to content delivered as part of lectures, seminars, guest speakers and case studies more widely. Content from the field visit continues to be embedded in one unit and across others delivered at level C.