Event, Festival and Exhibition Management - MA
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....
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 this 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!
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.
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.
Fees & How to Apply
- UK students
- International students
Access to computer equipment
You will require use of a laptop, and most students do prefer to have their own. However, you can borrow a laptop from the university or use one of our shared computer rooms.
You will receive £5 print credit in each year of your course, available after enrolment.
All essential field trips and associated travel costs will be included in your course fees.
Access to Microsoft Office 365
Every student at the University can download a free copy of Microsoft Office 365 to use whilst at university and for 18 months after graduation.
You will be able to download SPSS and Nvivo to your home computer to support with your studies and research.
Subscriptions to key journals and websites are available through our library.
Free access to Rosetta Stone
All students can sign up to the online learning language platform for free through the Graduate+ scheme.
Free access to LinkedIn Learning, which offers over 5,000 in-depth and bite-sized courses.
Free Adobe Creative Cloud licence
Students studying on this course can request a free licence to install the entire suite of applications on up to two personal devices.
Excess printing (optional)
Once you have spent your £5 credit, additional printing on campus costs from 5p per sheet.
Placement expenses (optional)
If you choose to undertake a placement, you'll need to budget for accommodation and any travel costs you may incur whilst living or working away from home.
Field trips (optional)
This course includes the option of additional trips that may enhance your experience, at extra cost.
Personal stationery and study materials (optional)
Based on the past experience of our students, you might find it helpful to set aside about £30 for each year of your studies for your personal stationery and study materials.
Accommodation and living costs
The cost of accommodation and other living costs are not included within your course fees. More information on the cost of accommodation can be found in our accommodation pages.
*Professional Placement option
The Professional Placement version of the course is optional and is offered as an alternative to the standard version of the course.
This will allow you to complete a credit bearing, 20 week Professional Placement as an integral part of your Master’s Degree. The purpose of the Professional Placement is to improve your employability skills which will, through the placement experience, allow you to evidence your professional skills, attitudes and behaviours at the point of entry to the postgraduate job market. Furthermore, by completing the Professional Placement, you will be able to develop and enhance your understanding of the professional work environment, relevant to your chosen field of study, and reflect critically on your own professional skills development within the workplace.
You will be responsible for finding and securing your own placement. The University, however, will draw on its extensive network of local, regional and national employers to support you in finding a suitable placement to complement your chosen area of study. You will also benefit from support sessions delivered by Careers+ as well as advice and guidance from your School.
Placements will only be confirmed following a competitive, employer-led selection process, therefore the University will not be able to guarantee placements for students who have registered for the ‘with Professional Placement’ course. All students who do not find a suitable placement or do not pass the competitive selection process will be automatically transferred back to the standard, non-placement version of the course.
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.
Course in Depth
In order to complete this course you must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 140 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.
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.
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.
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. It is also possible to fulfil this module via a shorter placement duration and a linked ‘live’ project set by the employer.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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
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:
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, 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.
Facilities and Staff
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.
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.
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.More about Duncan
Professor Diane Kemp
Professor of Broadcast Journalism
Diane worked for BBC radio and television as a broadcaster, reporter and producer and for a number of commercial radio stations before joining the University. She is course director of several postgraduate broadcast journalism courses and is deputy chair of the UK’s national accreditation organisation, the BJTC.More about Diane
Deputy Head of School and Associate Professor in Journalism and Media Studies
Dave Harte is Associate Professor in Journalism and Media Studies. He researches the emerging trend of local community ‘hyperlocal’ news websites and has published widely on the subject. Within the School of Media he leads on teaching and learning initiatives and teaches modules on Journalism Studies, Social Media, and Alternative and Community Media. He supervises PhDs in the areas of journalism and community media.More about Dave
Dr Sarah Wood
Head of Birmingham Institute of Media and English
Sarah Wood holds degrees from JMU, the University of Liverpool, and Birmingham City University, where she gained her PhD. Her research interests are in feminism and science fiction.
She has an article on Octavia Butler forthcoming in FEMSPEC and is working on further studies of Butler as well as of Nalo Hopkinson and slave narrative.More about Sarah