Roll up roll up! To the Cornwall Variety Show

Variety Show logoAs well as being MD for Mackerel Sky, our very own Claire is often found teaching the BA course in Creative Events Management at Falmouth University. It’s a huge benefit to the course students to have someone take them through the theoretical side to events management but by someone who is actually a highly experienced events practitioner and who bridges the gap between the worlds of academia and industry.

Two great examples of how well this can work is Hannah Williams and Isabelle Compton. Alongside their studies, Hannah and Isabelle are organising and managing another charity event following success with their Cornish Charity Ball last year. Here’s a few words from them on the event itself and how to get tickets – hats off to you girls!

 

“Although Cornwall is bursting with artistic talent there are very few events that showcase the variety and depth of creativity within the county. Abundances of music specific showcases appear throughout the summer months, niche dance performances and comedy gigs, yet there are no inclusive events where all types of artists are shown together. The Cornwall Variety Show will fill this void by bringing real creative diversity. Whether you want to be enthralled by daring circus skills, moved by enchanting dance pieces or brought to tears by comedy gold, The Cornwall Variety Show has something for you. All within the backdrop of an exciting and glamorous royal circus theme, guests will be mesmerized and amazed at the outstanding quality and professionalism of the show. The Cornwall Variety Show promises to be a true night of entertainment and elegance.

The first Cornwall Variety Show will take place on Saturday 30th May, at The Academy of Music and Theatre Arts (previously known as The Performance Centre), Penryn. The event will showcase a variety of performance acts celebrating the quality and diversity of artists within Cornwall. Acts include comedy from renowned Cornish comedian Colin Leggo, a professional circus performance, musical acts including emerging star Patrick Gardiner and local folk band The Saturday Boys, enchanting dance pieces and many more yet to be announced! The show aims to raise awareness and money for the Cornwall Air Ambulance Trust, a vital charity to the Cornish community. Through a royal circus themed evening, guests will be immersed within a romantic and daring performance environment; décor, costumes, photo booth, themed bar, concession stands and multiple other engaging elements will enthral and enthuse attendees.”

 

Saturday 30th May, 7pm for a prompt 19:30 start

The Academy of Music and Theatre Arts, Penryn


Tickets £10, Concessions: £8 (students, 65+ and services)
All profits in aid of the Cornwall Air Ambulance Trust.

To purchase tickets and to find out more about The Cornwall Variety Show visit the event website, follow on Twitter or email:
http://www.thecornwallvarietyshow.wordpress.com
@CornishVariety
cornwallvarietyshow@gmail.com

 

 

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Reality Hits

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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

Events student to professional … is it easier said than done?

_53664977_graduates_640Another key point that I gained from the Association of Event Management Education conference this week was that employers are looking for live experience of the events sector above any other skill, training or experience.  Pretty much all of the event management courses in the UK offer this in some way shape or form.  Most of us offer running their own events, volunteering, placements, industry qualifications like personal license or first aid, as well as the higher education qualification.  And several of the presentations raised the need to go further.  We are all offering these opportunities to students but even some of the best are struggling to settle in employment in the sector and are being beaten to the best jobs.

I have observed this struggle from both the University and employer perspective where I have employed people I have taught and who I have believed to be brilliant but they have struggled to  get their heads around this transition into employment.  Maybe it’s the simple fact of moving from part-time attendance to full time work.  Maybe it’s the increased workload and the multiple projects.  Maybe they struggle to change our relationship from tutor/student to employer/employee.

Whatever the reason, it’s happening all over the place and brilliant students are leaving the sector and not fulfilling their potential.  Similarly, we as an industry are not making best use of the talent that is out there.  So what can universities do to ensure that students are really truly ready for employment, that they have the skills and confidence needed?

Well it comes back to that previous blog post about engaging the senses to reach that state of becoming and being.  Employers need graduates to be and become before they start work.  We need them to have taken risks and responsibility and pushed themselves and worked really hard across both practical and theoretical approaches.  We need the universities to enable students to connect that belonging with being so that their commitment and ability might be interconnected.  This is not because we (employers) are shirking our responsibilities but rather because our industry is fast paced and hard work and high pressure and we just don’t have the time to coax people into work.  We need them alert, engaged, ready to go and ready to make their contribution to making great events happen, to making a difference and to fulfilling their potential.  We can’t do it for them.

So it’s not just about providing more live events experience for students (although that might be part of it) or necessarily about grades or qualifications.  I think it’s about finding the aptitude and engaging the motivation to learn and develop and deliver.  And I believe that it’s going to take a different approach to achieve it; one that is more bespoke, supportive, engaging and definitely not via powerpoint!  It’s not an efficient way to get students ready for work, but I believe it is effective.  I’d best go and work on my planning of sessions for September then!

Claire Eason Bassett, Managing Director, Mackerel Sky

 

It’s all got a bit real for these students …

It’s approaching the end of year for the students that we work with at Falmouth University and both the 2nd and 3rd year cohorts are creating and planning events for delivery over the next 3 weeks.  The events range from charity balls to old school sports days, from skate and music events to training and skills development.

Here’s a post from one of those students shouting about her project and approach! Over to Isabelle …

“The inaugural Cornish Charity Ball will take place on Friday 16th May at the Greenbank Hotel here in Falmouth. The aim of the event is to raise both awareness of the valuable work of the Cornwall Air Ambulance Trust whilst also, of course, raising money for them. This unique evening has an elegant 1910 theme and will include exquisite catering, an incredible raffle and dazzling jazz entertainment for a truly memorable night. 

This event promises to be unique in another way as this isn’t the work of experienced, professional event managers. Instead this is the work of students. But we’re not talking about your stereotypical sleep-in-until-midday, live off takeaways and avoid the washing up at all costs breed of student. Rather, these are committed students who attend the Falmouth Business Club breakfast meetings and speak on local radio, Source FM, about their causes and concerns.

As 2nd year BA Hons Creative Events Management students at Falmouth University, the Cornish Charity Ball team are making great strides into the professional world and taking the leap from academia. The first Cornish Charity Ball will not only be a chance for local businesses and members of the community to network and understand more about the Cornwall Air Ambulance Trust, but will also demonstrate the talent and excellence of Falmouth University students.

To find out more about the Cornish Charity Ball, please contact cornishcharityball@gmail.com

Follow us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/CornishBall
Like us on Facebook: https://facebook.com/CornishCharityBall

Isabelle Compton

Isabelle Compton, team member

Isabelle Compton, team member

Hannah Williams, team member

Hannah Williams, team member

 

 

 

 

 

 

Well done to Isabelle and team – we’re wishing you all the best for a highly successful evening!

Claire Eason Bassett, Managing Director, Mackerel Sky