Lecturer in Events Management and Events Consultant to the Business School
Streatham Court, University of Exeter, Rennes Drive, Exeter, EX4 4PU, UK
Paul Barton is a Lecturer in Events Management and an Events Consultant to the Business School. Before joining the University, he had a long and distinguished career as an event manager, before an industrial accident forced him to shift tack. Paul’s highly impressive CV includes Moto GP, Southampton Boat Show, PGA Golf Valdarrama, Volvo Ocean Race and the South African Millennium celebrations, as well 10 years of rock and roll concert crewing for acts like U2, Robbie Williams, the Corrs, Massive Attack and at most of the UK’s major music festivals. He ran one of the UK’s most successful crew companies, working exclusively for De Boer UK, a branch of the world’s leading temporary structures company.
Paul brings an unrivalled wealth of experience and practical skills to his module and to the Centre for Tourism Studies. So, why has Paul got involved with the Business School? As he says, “events management is becoming a hugely popular subject, but it’s being predominately taught by academics who’ve had little or no industry experience. I discovered this when I did my degree after many years of doing the job. It all looks neat on paper but what happens out there in the real world rarely resembles what happens on the page, planning is everything, but without true hands-on experience you cannot plan for what ‘might happen’. I hope I can give our students the inside track.”
Altogether, Paul has by no means lost the events bug. He project manages the Exeter Respect festival, a 10,000 person, two-day event in Exeter’s City Centre, he coordinates stewarding and volunteers at the Aeon Festival, he is constantly developing new innovative ideas for companies such as Sub.tv, the exclusive UK University Media Network company, and he is extremely successful at extracting sponsorship from companies. In Paul’s word’s, “I am an ‘eventer’ through and through and I cannot ever imagine having done anything else. Now I have the responsibility of helping the next eventers find their feet – how cool is that!”
BA Hons Events Management
- Events project management
- Communication between local authorities and the events industry
Paul believes there are two areas which need to be resolved surrounding events. Firstly, the way in which local authorities interact with them, which at present in the UK is a complete lottery. While one authority wants to attract events to its area, another treats them as a nuisance and shuns from having them on their doorstep. Today, events are becoming one of the most important ways for communities to communicate and bond and therefore there needs to be a more level platform as to how local authorities interact with events and events companies.
In some ways, Paul’s second area of interest follows on from that. Part of the reason events are seen as ‘pests’ by many local authorities is because of the bomber jacket boy image that events used to carry. Now, however, they are run by professional people who are some of the most proficient project managers on the planet. When was the last time you went to a concert and it was cancelled due to late supplies? In comparison, when did a public building development ever finish on time or budget? That is why Paul believes events deserve the right to be recognised more for what they are – proficient, professional, innovated communication tools which, if used correctly and treated with respect, can create enormous added value to a village, town, city, country, continent and society.
Paul’s PhD is currently on hold while he is developing his Events Management modules.
- Director, SnowFire Management Ltd
- Project Manager, Exeter Respect Festival
- Project Development Consultant
Paul’s Events Management modules give students an insight into two main topics; (1) the workings of major events, how they function, why they function, and what / who they function for; and (2) to show how events impact upon our lives by looking at three types of impact: socio-cultural, economical and environmental, as well as, most importantly, the combined impact of all three (Live Aid and Live 8 and other such enormous events demonstrate this perfectly).
In his module, Paul aims to give a personal account of what he is teaching, using photos and videos, and also by throwing in real events jargon, to give the lecture a feel of being an event in itself. He opens his first lecture by telling the students they are now his new events project and he will be running the module like an event. The students effectively become his crew, with weekly deadlines and penalties against their theoretical event, which they present to the professional panel.
Paul has also developed an Events and Media Industry Day, where he invites people from the events industry to come to Exeter, to talk with students from across the campus. The event gives students a real opportunity to start networking and looking at where they might go once they finish their degrees / Masters.
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