Event, Festival and Exhibition Management - MA

  • Level: Postgraduate Taught
  • Starting: September 2020
  • Study mode: Full Time
  • Location: City Centre

On this innovative course you will develop the professional skills necessary for a successful events and exhibition management career. The first of its kind in the UK, this exciting course has been developed with The National Exhibition Centre (NEC), meaning you'll learn straight from top industry professionals.

This course has a real emphasis on gaining practical skills and utilising your creativity. Our graduates have gone on to work for the NEC group, established event production companies both in the UK and abroad.

What's covered in the course?

This postgraduate events and exhibition management course will give you a real insight into working in the events industry. From studying real-life case studies to learning from industry leaders you will develop a relevant, marketable and practical skillset.

With an emphasis on creativity and high-level problem solving, the course is assessed through presentations, reports, and practical events management experience.

As part of Birmingham School of Media, the course is based at our City Centre Campus in the multi-million pound Parkside Building. Here, you are surrounded by the enviable number of events and exhibition spaces that the vibrant city of Birmingham has to offer, from the massive exhibition halls of The NEC and ICC to sporting and music venues, and smaller, bespoke art spaces like the Custard Factory.

Throughout your master’s degree, you will have the support of expert tutors with years of proven experience in the events and exhibition industry. The course director, Duncan Sedgwick, has worked in the events industry for over 25 years and has been the director of a Midlands-based events production company since 1999.

“The practice based MA in Events provided me with a great base to pursue my career in events. It really opened my eyes to the scale and range of opportunities the events industry has to offer!” Jason Lund

Why Choose Us?

  • This course is the first of its kind in the UK, developed with The National Exhibition Centre (NEC) to ensure the qualification is tailored towards careers in the industry.
  • The school is recognised as a key centre of excellence in interactive media training, television production and education by Creative Skillset, the UK Sector Skills Council for the audio visual industries.
  • Over the last 10 years, students from the School of Media have worked on placement with big industry names including NEC Birmingham, BBC Online, The Guardian, and many more.

Students outside Millennium Point

Open Days

Our next Open Day for this course will take place on Sunday 24 November. Register your interest and we'll send an email update nearer the time. Visit us to see our facilities and speak to our staff and students.

Book your place

This course is open to International students

Media Right Column

Discover the Birmingham School of Media

Visit our School site for more student work and extra information.

Visit the School website

Where our students go

Our students have gone on to work with companies such as:

  • The NEC
  • Local Government
  • P &Independent Event Management (own consultancy)

And in jobs such as:

  • Events Manager
  • Company Director
  • Events Producer

Speak to an expert

If you’ve got any questions about the course, we’d love to hear from you. Please email the Course Director: Duncan Sedgwick.

Email Course Director

Alternatively, you can register for our next postgraduate open day.

Entry Requirements

Essential Requirements
Essential

You should have a 2:1 or higher in a related discipline from any UK university.

You may also have one to three years of relevant industry experience, supported by references and any industry qualifications.

International Students

Entry requirements here

International Students

Don't meet our entry requirements? You could apply for courses at our International College.

Apply now

  • UK/EU students
  • International students

Award: MA

Starting: Sep 2020

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees
  • Full Time
  • 1 year
  • £6,400 per year

Award: MA

Starting: Sep 2020

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees
  • Full Time
  • 1 year
  • £12,800 per year

If you're unable to use the online form for any reason, you can complete our PDF application form and equal opportunities PDF form instead. The University reserves the right to increase fees in line with inflation based on the Retail Prices Index or to reflect changes in Government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament up to a maximum of five per cent.

Personal statement

Students are required to submit a personal statement as part of their application for this course.

Your postgraduate personal statement is going to shine a light on your personal experience, academic success, personal skills and any other factors that will support your application for further study.

Here are the key areas you’ll need to address:

Your passion and motivations

Studying a postgraduate course usually means you want to specialise in something. So what’s driving you?

Why this course?

Show that you’ve researched the course offering. What is it about this particular course that appeals to you? Is it the lecturers? The modules? Etc.

What makes you a good postgraduate candidate?

Tutors want to know that you can handle postgraduate study, so show them how your undergraduate experiences or work life has equipped you for a more advanced level of study. Key areas to address are research and group work but this can vary depending on your chosen course.

Relevant academic or work experience

Add anything relevant that relates back to your chosen course and shows how your skills will contribute towards your learning. What extra-curricular activities have you taken part in? What awards have you won? What employment or voluntary experience do you have that has helped you develop transferable skills? How do these specifically relate to the course you are applying for?

You should also mention your future plans and how a postgraduate qualification fits in. Try to look beyond your postgraduate study – do you plan to jump straight into a specific career or follow your studies with a research degree? Lastly, use plain, professional English and, where possible, utilise the language of your chosen industry.

Get more information on writing personal statements

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Additional costs

Our courses include activities such as performance, exhibitions, field trips and production of works or artefacts which may require you to purchase specific equipment, instruments, books, materials, hire of venues and accommodation, or other items. Many of these activities are essential and compulsory parts of your learning experience.

The link below gives you an estimate of the possible costs associated with key activities on your course. Please bear in mind that these are only estimates of costs based on past student experience and feedback. The actual costs could vary considerably (either greater or lower than these estimates) depending on your choices as you progress through the course.

All our students are provided with 100 free pages of printing each year to a maximum total value of £15.

The additional costs listed here are to be used for indicative purposes only and are based on the additional costs for the 2018/19 academic year. The additional costs for 2019/20 will be published as soon as possible.

View additional costs for this course

Financial Support

We offer further information on possible postgraduate financial support. This includes the type of loans, grants and scholarships available both from the government and from Birmingham City University.

Did you know that you can apply for a postgraduate loan of up to £10,906 for some courses and options?

Postgraduate loans

Modules

In order to complete this course you must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 140 credits):

The Events and Exhibition Industry
20 credits

The module will explore and evaluate new developments in industry, particularly relating to technology as well as investigate current industry trends and methodologies reflecting best industry practice. The module will also consist of a continuous assessment process whereby you will reflect on your own skills and capabilities required to be an effective event manager. During this first module you will be encouraged to develop several skills required in the industry such as time management, research and planning, communication skills and networking skills. You will develop a variety of research and evaluation methodologies such as SWOT analyses, research event profiles, and develop demographic, content and event and exhibition audience profile analysis methodologies.

Events and Exhibition Production
20 credits

This production module contributes to the overall programme philosophy and aims by focusing on the organisation of a live event or exhibition and stakeholder perspectives. You will study exhibitions from every level from the perspectives of venues, organisers, exhibitors, suppliers and consumers. In this module you will develop a critical understanding what factors affecting each of the stakeholder groups in any event or exhibition in order to maintain a competitive advantage in the industry. You will test and deploy theories, research-based knowledge and analysis to inform and lead practice in the event and exhibition industry. The key theme of this module is competition because to be successful in any aspect of exhibitions you need to know how to be competitive.

Research in Practice
20 credits

The module is intended to help you develop and consolidate your ideas for your MA Major Project. By providing a common module that comprises of all MA Media cohorts, Research in Practice aims to facilitate a shared skillset that aids the successful completion of the MA Major project, as well as the potential for routes into PhD progression beyond. It is also designed to encourage interdisciplinary discussions across MA awards.

Work Placement
20 credits

The purpose of this module is to enable you to develop professional attributes and subject skills through experience in the work place, and to critically reflect upon your learning in that context. You will normally be expected to arrange your own placement, with support from academic staff and BCU Careers. Typically, the placement duration is 70 hours. This can be achieved in one block, or can be dispersed over a longer period of time, if required. It is also possible to fulfil this module via a shorter placement of 35 hours duration and a linked ‘live’ project set by the employer.

Major Project (Dissertation)
60 credits

The purpose of the module is to enable you to undertake a sustained, in-depth and theoretically informed research project exploring an area that is of personal interest to you. It is important that we can support you appropriately, so you will be guided towards choosing a research topic which is relevant to your discipline and in which your lecturers have expertise. The outcome may take the form of a written dissertation or a practical outcome with accompanying reflective, critical and contextual material. The main consideration when choosing your topic is that it must be relevant to your programme and you should consider the relevance of this topic to your future academic or professional development.

In order to complete this course you must successfully complete at least 20 credits from the following indicative list of OPTIONAL modules.

Narrative: From Media to Interactive Media
20 credits

Within the context of media integration and convergence, Narrative: from media to interactive media aims to help students to build a flexible skillset that provides a basis to critically adapt to both new and developing storytelling technologies.

Social Media as Culture and Practice
20 credits

This module is intended to give an overview of the current state of scholarly research into the use of social media platforms as a communication tool and also enable students to develop as social media practitioners who can develop innovative solutions to communications problems and develop their expertise at using social networking platforms in sophisticated ways. To that end, the module combines engagement with academic texts through lectures and seminars, with a series of practicebased workshops. The module explores the role of social media as an aspect of everyday communications, examining the technologies and practices that are put to use by citizens, activists, media producers and others, examining the range of practices that are emerging and their social and cultural role and character.

Live Events and Festival Management
20 credits

This module offers an extension to the other modules on the MA Events, Festivals and Exhibitions Management pathway. Whilst being an integral part of the pathway the module also works as a standalone optional module for those students on other pathways who can apply the key learnings to their own specialism.

Media Law and Regulation
20 credits

Media Law and Regulation focuses on key areas of UK and international media law. It will examine the ethical, regulatory and legal constraints under which media workers create content. The module will cover issues including defamation, censorship, human rights law, copyright, privacy, security and contempt. It will enable you to develop a critical understanding of the limitations imposed by law and regulation on reporting and publishing and also look at those areas of law that work to protect journalists. You will develop a critical pe rspective on key debates in media law and regulation affecting media work. The module is open to all students pursuing MA awards in the School of Media.

Transmedia Terror
20 credits

This module critically evaluates horror narratives in their cultural, historical and generic contexts across both visual and audio traditions, and asks you to analyze how debates in this area impact on creative and production practices in the field.

Film Festivals, Marketing and PR
20 credits

This module provides an in-depth look at a major crux for the film industry: film festivals. Film festivals play a part in the financing, distribution and marketing of independent films and therefore the study of them is a core part of the overall. The present module will give students an understanding of the importance of film festivals to the industry, and give them insight into the skills needed to mount a successful marketing and public relations strategy at a festival.

Strategic Communication for Social Change
20 credits

This module develops a sophisticated understanding of the processes and outcomes of planning a communications strategy for a range of organisations that strive to bring about social change. Throughout the emphasis is on the communication challenges facing activist, not-for-profit, charity, and public sector organisations and developing persuasive messages to explain complex issues to a range of stakeholder groups.

 
Core modules are guaranteed to run. Optional modules will vary from year to year and the published list is indicative only.

Throughout the course there is a strong emphasis on lecturer and peer review of your presentations and work in progress. Leading practitioners in the field often visit to deliver guest lectures throughout the course.

You will be set independent study tasks each week. These are often based on production activities arising from the work covered in the formal lectures.

Work experience is strongly encouraged, and can be fully explored as a module option in semester 2. Previously our students have worked on events such as The Good Food Show, The Gadget Show, and Gardeners World.

This course takes one year full time. Part-time study takes two years.

Classroom activities and projects

You will participate in formal lectures delivered by teaching staff and industry professionals.

Group work will also be undertaken for specific events projects and these involve professional presentations, group discussions, peer review sessions.

Other projects include producing event planning portfolios and the production of self-initiated and client based events.

Students have gone on to develop their own events based businesses and also gone on to work for high end events organisations throughout the world.

The course offers the opportunity to explore events, festivals and exhibitions in various sectors of the industry, and to pursue a career path in the sector that most interests them.

Further Study

For anyone interested in taking their research interests forward into an MPhil or PhD speak to the course director about your particular area of expertise.

Events Week Live 2015

Trips and visits

You will attend visits to the NEC as part of the course. One of these is a three-day Live Events initiative developed between Birmingham City University and the NEC, where students learn about all aspects of the operations of the NEC and get to see the set-up of a large international trade event and theatre show. Other visits are arranged to other venues throughout the duration of the course.

Enhancing your employability skills

With core theoretical knowledge of how to approach events and exhibitions, you will be set up for a successful career in the industry. You will have an understanding of professional techniques and the current intellectual challenges you will face in a role in events and exhibition management.

As there is a focus on both independent learning and teamwork to produce and manage events exhibitions, you will be prepared for a variety of ways of working. You will be prepared to innovate by applying traditions of research and enquiry to deal creatively with complicated issues.

Your critical evaluation skills and knowledge of research traditions and current scholarship leave you equipped to communicate ideas to both specialist and non-specialist audiences.

These communication skills, depth of knowledge of the industry, and both theoretical and practical skills aim to make you a highly desirable employee with a wide range of marketable abilities. You will complete the MA in the perfect position to either kick-start your events and exhibition management career, or take your role to the next level or in a new direction entirely.

Placements

Placements can be part of the course (depending upon module option choice) and gaining work experience is greatly encouraged throughout the academic year. These can be combined with master's projects that take place from June to September. In the past, students have worked on events such as The Good Food Show, The Gadget Show, Gardeners World as well as working on client led, professional briefs.

More about our placement opportunities...

OpportUNIty

OpportUNIty Student Ambassador

OpportUNIty: Student Jobs on Campus ensures that our students are given a first opportunity to fill many part-time temporary positions within the University. This allows you to work while you study with us, fitting the job around your course commitments. By taking part in the scheme, you will gain valuable experiences and employability skills, enhancing your prospects in the job market.

It will also allow you to become more involved in University life by delivering, leading and supporting many aspects of the learning experience, from administration to research and mentoring roles.

Links to industry

We have links with:

  • The NEC Group
  • Local/National Events Production Companies
  • The National Trust

Graduate jobs

Our Events, Festivals and Exhibition management course is increasingly being recognised by industry professionals as a valuable start to a career in events. It is also recognised as useful addition to career progression for those already working within Events. Students have gone on to work in various sectors of the industry.

Graduate stories

Jason Lunn

After 18 years working in the events industry, Jason Lunn decided to enhance and extend his expertise with the Events and Exhibition Management MA. Since his graduation he has set up his own consultancy with a new-found confidence to go it alone.

His consultancy, Independent Event Management, provide assistance to big venues such as Alexandra Palace, Donington Park, East of England Showground, and many other organisations across the UK.

Jason has worked in South Africa on the Good Food and Wine Show, and in traffic management for the London 2012 Olympics. He credits his MA with pushing his knowledge and experience to the limit and giving him a new approach to his work. His qualifications ensure there are no questions about his abilities and worth when pitching for business!

Birmingham City University is a vibrant and multicultural university in the heart of a modern and diverse city. We welcome many international students every year – there are currently students from more than 80 countries among our student community.

The University is conveniently placed, with Birmingham International Airport nearby and first-rate transport connections to London and the rest of the UK.

Our international pages contain a wealth of information for international students who are considering applying to study here, including:

Overseas opportunities

All students are able to complete their MA by Practice part of the course in any country they choose. Several international students choose to do this in their home countries.

Our international students

The Events and Exhibition Management MA is particularly popular with students from China, Taiwan, India, and Indonesia. The university enjoys a fantastic international reputation, and we frequently receive glowing recommendations from our international students. This course offers an international concept of the events and exhibitions industry.

Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC)

International students who have a serious interest in studying with us but who perhaps cannot meet the direct entry requirements, academic or English, or who have been out of education for some time, can enter Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC) and begin their degree studies.

BCUIC

BCUIC is part of the global Navitas Group, an internationally recognised education provider, and the partnership allows students to access the University’s facilities and services and move seamlessly through to achieving a Bachelor’s degree from Birmingham City University.

Learn more about BCUIC

Popular home countries

Our students come from around the world but our events and exhibition management course is most popular with international students from:  

Parkside and Curzon Buildings

Our Facilities

When you join Birmingham City University, the first thing you will notice is the high standard of our campuses.

With an investment of £340 million across our buildings and facilities, we are committed to giving you the very best learning environment to help shape your experience.

State-of-the-art facilities

You will learn in our state-of-the-art facilities - including the £62m fully-digital Media Centre - located on the City Centre Campus. You will enjoy access to extensive studio and workshop space including four TV studios, six radio studios and broadcast-standard edit suites, as well as cutting-edge equipment and software.

Facilities include the largest TV floor of any university in the UK, a ‘green screen’ and the MILO motion control camera - we are one of just two universities in Europe to offer MILO technology.

Meet our staff

Throughout your master’s degree, you will have the support of expert tutors with years of proven experience in the events and exhibition industry. The course director, Duncan Sedgwick, has worked in the events industry for over 25 years and has been the director of a Midlands-based events production company since 1999.

Duncan Sedgwick

Course Director MA Events and Exhibition Management

Prior to joining Birmingham City University Duncan spent over 20 years working in the events and exhibition industry.

Working for a various of clients on a wide range of events he has worked throughout the UK, Europe and in the USA.

Since 1999 Duncan has been a Director of a Midlands-based events production company.

Read Duncan's full profile