Yogarajah Nanthagaopan has successfully completed the first PhD in Project Management from the Faculty of Management. He was supervised by Dr Nigel L. Williams and Professor Stephen Page and his thesis was titled: A Resource Based Perspective on Project Management in NGOs. Dr Nanthangaopan has returned to his native Sri Lanka and is the current Head of Economics and Management department and Coordinator for the BBM in Project Management degree program at the Faculty of Business Studies, Vavuniya Campus of the University of Jaffna, Sri Lanka.
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The Festival Impact Monitor (FestIM) is a Fusion supported project that is intended to develop the following:
1) An approach to evaluating the impact of events using data from social media.
2) Reusable Learning Objects that can guide future researchers seeking to apply social media data.
3) Individuals with experience in conducting research with social media data
Overall, the project intends to develop approaches to evaluating festivals using online narratives of event stakeholders. FestIM can deliver significant benefits for funders of events and event organizers as understanding the characteristics of online audiences can help them create new types of sponsorship products to fund event activity . Further, it enables the evaluation of social impacts, an area that is difficult to assess using conventional qualitative and quantitative approaches. Finally, for events located over a large geographical area, the costs of evaluation can be prohibitive. FestIM can provide a cost effective alternative to traditional evaluation approaches. To achieve the second and third objectives, the FestIM project is working with a group of Level H dissertation students. At this stage in their research, these students have completed their literature review and secondary data analysis of online engagement at festivals. FestIM provided the opportunity for these students to deliver their research at the International Festival & Events Association of Europe conference in Nice, France to an audience of academics and industry professionals. The team is shown below along with Dr Phil Long, Associate Dean and IFEA Member and Dr Debbie Sadd and Dr Nigel L. Williams of the FestIM project.
The students listed below presented their research to festival organisers from across Europe and the USA and by all accounts delivered a fantastic performance:
Sarah Ardin: community conversations which examines the impact of small rural and urban festivals using social media.
Emma Craig: evaluating the impact of Notting Hill Carnival using social media.
Ryan Kulikowski: the use of Social media as an engagement tool by Festival support organizations
Courtney Lee: the core FestIM process itself and its application to the Love Luton Festival
Doreen Mbagwu: the engagement of the Nigerian and Ghanaian community with Notting Hill Carnival
Rogan Sage: Glastonbury as a platform for engagement with social issues
Jasmine Waddell: post purchase evaluation of Festivals using Glastonbury as a case study.
Above: Courtney, Rogan and Ryan presenting at the main conference.
In addition to presenting their academic research, the students had the opportunity to get an exclusive look behind the scenes of the Nice Carnival which was celebrating its 130th birthday. They participated in workshops with the leading carnival historian Annie Sidro and met the Deputy Mayor of Nice. They then attended the major events of the weekend including a Battle of the Flowers, Main carnival procession and Rock and Roll 10 mile road race. It wasn’t all work as the students were able to take a quick hop down the coast to see Monte Carlo and Monaco. The students will continue to develop their research and will present their completed dissertation findings in our workshop in July at the School of Tourism.
The UK Events industry is a critical economic contributor projected to grow from £36 billion and 550,000 jobs to £43 billion and 630,000 jobs by 2020. Growth requires new event products, entrepreneurs and talent, currently provided by cultural festivals, in addition to their role in improving community cohesion and image. However, the current economic environment requires justification of these entrepreneurial, social and economic impacts in a transparent manner.
The Festival Impact Monitor project seeks develop an event evaluation approach to overcome the limitations of existing qualitative (external validity) and quantitative (internal validity) methods. By aggregating and analysing public data available from online social media platforms, we intend to generate insights on the impact of events unavailable via conventional approaches. The findings of this research is intended to guide stakeholders involved in planning and staging festivals, helping to improve funding allocations. A major component of our project is the development of Reusable Learning Objects to help guide researchers who are seeking to use social media data in future projects.
In the first stage of the project, the team will consult industry stakeholders to understand evaluation needs and identify Festivals for analysis. Next, the team will archive and analyse social media narratives about these Festivals to understand their Entrepreneurial and Social Impacts. Finally, the team will review the findings with industry and academic stakeholders to present a validated approach for evaluating Festivals using data from online Social Networks. In addition to the industry and academic impact, our project will contribute to enhancing the learning environment at BU as we will develop RLOs to guide future researchers.
Our team wishes to thank the Research Office for all of the support provided and we highly recommend that anyone intending to apply for Fusion funding attend the dissemination and engagement sessions. It would also be useful to get someone from outside your area to read your bid to see if they understand the impact and benefits of your research. We’ll post monthly updates on the research blog and feel free to contact us:
Nicole Ferdinand firstname.lastname@example.org
Alexandra Ott email@example.com
Debbie Sadd firstname.lastname@example.org
Nigel Williams email@example.com.