Earlier this week, I invited three (utterly brilliant) professional contacts – one a client, one a supplier and one an Associate to come into a session with the third year Creative Events Management students at Falmouth University. The module is Professional Practice and I have been running it for the last three years.
The panel discussion was going well with a range of questions asked and areas discussed and I suddenly realised that two of the spheres in which I operate were crossing over. These brilliant professionals were seeing my work in a completely different but mutually supportive context. I have always held that my work as an event manager and MD supports my teaching practice and that the teaching informs and supports my event management and business activity but it is rare that they cross over in this way. We often have students working with us on placements or internships but it is unusual for a client, Associate and supplier to all come into the education world, even just for an afternoon.
So there I was, seeing myself (and my dual careers) through their eyes and it made me realise that I adapt my communication style and approach significantly across the spectrum from lecturer to event manager to business person. I also realised that this kind of stretch is not an automatic function for many people and so coming into the academic world can seem like a huge challenge or a no-go area.
It can seem daunting to speak to or with students, especially en masse, but we have something that they don’t – experience and knowledge. We might not know all the answers or have published research but we do know our stuff and we are making businesses work and making events happen. So, as vocational professionals, we all have our contribution to make to the academic world, our contribution to make to enabling others to understand the reality of work, of an industry, of life beyond university.
So who’s coming in next?
Claire Eason Bassett, Managing Director, Mackerel Sky