Within the larger framework of festival and event concepts presented in the Festivals and Events Practice module, this report assesses the design and operation of the Cultural eXchanges festival against the standards established in the Poetry Night event. The learning outcomes from the festival production experience are critically examined in the report. The study starts with a description of the Cultural eXchanges festival’s goals, target market, and regional and national profiles. The following section of the report describes the standards established for the festival production, including the technical aspects, content quality, and audience participation. The report then examines the festival’s layout and management, along with the difficulties encountered during production and the steps taken to resolve them. The festival’s success is also evaluated in the report using the standards set forth at the Poetry Night event. The report’s findings indicate that the Cultural eXchanges festival effectively satisfied the established objectives, with specific strengths in its varied range of events and excellent programming, but with considerable room for further development in audience involvement and technical issues. The report also covers the module’s general principles for festivals and events, such as management, marketing, and event planning. The study analyses the learning objectives from the production of the Cultural Exchange Festival as well as the usefulness of the module in achieving these objectives. Overall, this report offers a thorough analysis of the Cultural eXchanges festival, highlighting its accomplishments and areas for development while considering the more important ideas of festivals and events discussed in the module. The study offers insightful observations and suggestions that could be used in festival editions to come.
The Cultural Exchange Festival, an annual event held at DMU, is becoming more well-known on a regional and national level (De Montfort University, 2023). This report, which is a component of the Festivals and Events Practice module, assesses the festival experience’s conception and execution in light of the standards laid out in the Poetry Night event proposal. The report also critically assesses the lessons learned from the festival production experience and how they relate to the module’s broader discussion of festivals and events. In addition to local, national, and international artists, the Cultural eXchanges Festival seeks to highlight the work of DMU students, faculty, and alumni. The festival promotes collaboration and experimentation across various artistic genres, such as literature, music, dance, and theatre. To evaluate the Cultural eXchanges festival, the report outlines the standards established during the Poetry Night event. Technical elements like sound and lighting, content quality, audience involvement, and marketing and promotion are among the requirements. The report then explains the layout and management of the festival, as well as the difficulties encountered during development and the steps taken to solve them. The report considers areas for improvement and assesses the festival’s success using the predetermined criteria. The report also examines the more general ideas about festivals and events taught in the curriculum, such as event management, marketing, and planning. The paper critically examines the lessons learned from the festival production experience and their applicability to improving comprehension of these ideas.
The event strives to engage the larger community while showcasing and celebrating the artistic endeavours of DMU students and faculty. The purpose of the Poetry Night event was to give both established and up-and-coming poets a stage on which to present their work to a broad audience. The occasion’s goals were to:
- Promote poetry as an art form: The event aimed to highlight the importance of poetry in modern culture and promote poetry as a form of artistic expression.
- Highlight local talent: The event aimed to highlight the abilities of local poets by providing them with a venue to share their work with a larger audience.
- Encourage a sense of community: The event aims to foster a sense of community and promote conversation and discussion by bringing together poets and poetry enthusiasts.
- Create a space for artistic collaboration: The occasion aims to give poets a place to interact creatively with other artists, such as musicians and visual artists, to produce fresh and intriguing pieces.
Poetry was selected as a line for the Cultural eXchanges Festival night because it is a potent form of artistic expression that can briefly and effectively explain complicated concepts and feelings. Poetry as an art form fits nicely with the festival’s focus on recognising the creative efforts of DMU students and faculty. Poetry is also an inclusive art type that is available to individuals of all ages and backgrounds due to its broad appeal. Additionally, poetry is frequently ignored in popular culture, so giving poets a platform to share their work can help raise the art form’s profile and highlight its relevance in modern culture. The Cultural eXchanges festival’s organisers were able to develop a broad and inclusive program that highlighted a variety of creative abilities and promoted community and collaboration by including poetry in the festival.
Insights into the organisation and execution of events are offered by research by Berridge (2007), emphasising the value of design and the creation of an experiential environment. According to the author, events should be thoughtfully prepared, integrating elements like sensory stimulation, social contact, and emotional engagement to provide a memorable experience for participants (Berridge, 2007). The author emphasises the significance of comprehending the target audience’s wants and preferences and creating events consistent with their expectations and interests (Berridge, 2007). This conclusion is essential to our research because it helps us assess how well the Poetry Night event, a part of the Cultural eXchanges festival, was planned and carried out in terms of providing guests with a satisfying experience. The second work by Mair and Whitford (2013) focuses on finding patterns in the events sector by studying research articles. According to the authors, the most popular event-related research focused on event planning, event experiences, and event impacts. They emphasise the value of interdisciplinary cooperation and the need for event research to address more significant social and environmental challenges, which aligns with our emphasis on critically reflecting on our learning and broadening the conceptualisation of festivals and events (Mair & Whitford, 2013). The article also highlights several new trends in the events sector, like the use of technology in event management and the significance of sustainability in event design.
An effective approach for assessing the viability of the Cultural eXchanges Poetry Night event is provided by A Book by Bladen et al. (2022). The book strongly emphasises the value of organising and carrying out events to satisfy the demands of many stakeholders, such as attendees, sponsors, and suppliers Bladen. The Poetry Night event plan included metrics that might be used to gauge its success, such as the calibre of the performances and the general satisfaction of attendance. The significance of teamwork and efficient communication among the various parties engaged in event management is also emphasised in the textbook (Bladen et al., 2022). Communication between event planners and sponsors and between event planners and performers may fall under this category. Overall, event planners can work to ensure that the event lives up to the expectations of attendees and other stakeholders by considering the various stakeholders involved and the value of effective communication and collaboration.
A mixed-methods approach will be utilised to assess the planning and execution of the Cultural eXchanges festival and its Poetry Night event. The methodology will use qualitative and quantitative data collection techniques to enable a thorough review of the event. The first step will be to hand out a survey to festival goers to get quantitative information on their general satisfaction with the festival and the Poetry Night event. The poll will ask questions about the calibre of the performances, the degree of planning, and the general vibe of the festival. Descriptive statistics will be used to examine the data and summarise festival participants’ opinions. Second, semi-structured interviews with essential participants in the festival’s planning and execution, such as the festival’s organisers, poets, and venue workers, will be held. The interviews will be used to obtain qualitative information about the difficulties and achievements of the festival and the Poetry Night event, as well as perceptions of the conception and management of the festival. A thematic analysis method will be used to study the data’s recurrent themes and patterns.
The session will conclude with a thoughtful review of the festival and event proposal themes presented. This entails assessing the event proposal critically in light of the set criteria and considering how the festival themes discussed in the module influenced the planning and execution of the Poetry Night event and the Cultural Exchange Festival as a whole (DURBAR, 2020). This technique will offer a thorough assessment of the planning and execution of the Poetry Night event and the Cultural Exchange Festival by using a mixed-methods approach. A detailed analysis of the festival’s strengths and flaws will be possible thanks to the combination of quantitative and qualitative data, and critical comments on the learning will offer suggestions for future improvement.
Planning and delivery
The function occurred as part of DMU’s Cultural Exchange Festival (De Montfort University, 2023). The event aimed to present poetry and allow the neighbourhood to appreciate the arts. The event’s organisers and producers, who worked under the direction of a staff member, were BA degree candidates in Arts and Festivals Management (De Montfort University, 2023). On January 23, the event occurred on the DMU campus in a setting appropriate for a poetry night. The finished event was an evening of poetry readings and performances with well-known and up-and-coming poets. We can assess the practical aspects of organising an event based on the responses to the survey that was administered during the Community Expressions Poetry Night.
- Stakeholders: The participants in the event, including the artists, venue managers, event personnel, sponsors, and spectators, must be identified (Todd et al., 2020). In this instance, the Cultural Exchange Festival was put on by DMU. The primary stakeholder in the event is DMU, and they are crucial in its planning, supplying the event with resources and facilities, and assuring its success.
- Marketing: Effective marketing is essential to draw the target audience to the event (Ismailova et al., 2019, p. 95). According to the poll results, enjoyment of entertainment and the arts was the top reason for coming, showing that the event’s marketing plan was successful. The fact that most guests were first-timers indicates that marketing efforts successfully drew in a new audience.
- Health and safety: It is crucial for any event to ensure the participant’s health and safety (Rhino Safety, 2023). Guaranteeing the participants’ safety and security throughout the event is crucial. Although the survey does not explicitly ask about health and safety, we can assume that the organisers took the necessary precautions to ensure attendees were safe.
- The event’s success depends on identifying the target audience and catering to their tastes and expectations (Sleek, 2021). According to this study, most guests were from the UK, primarily in the 20–24 age range. They were not all students. Future events can use this information to attract a similar crowd.
- Technical considerations: The event’s success depends heavily on technical elements, including lighting, sound, and stage layout. The evaluations of the performance’s quality show that the poetry night’s technical requirements were met. Although the survey did not ask specifically about technical issues, the fact that audience members were entertained suggests that the technical aspects were adequate.
There were various steps to the planning process for the Poetry Night event. The first step was to decide on the event’s goals, which included giving poets a stage to perform and display their talent, drawing in a broad audience, and giving spectators a fun and involved experience. The target audience had to be determined, including faculty, staff, and those interested in poetry. In order to publicise the occasion and draw in more poets to perform, we also decided to work with the DMU Poetry Society. Finding suitable locations for the event was the third stage of planning. We picked the PACE building at DMU because of its accessibility, central location, and ability to hold a sizable audience. To improve the entire experience, we also ensured the venue had sufficient lighting and audio equipment. Finding the ideal time and date for the event was another crucial step in the planning process. The Poetry Night event was planned to run from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. on the second day of the Cultural Exchange Festival. The event was publicised in various ways, including social media, email, and posters. The messaging was created to highlight the special opportunity to encounter poetry in a live setting, and the advertising was directed at the audience that had been identified. Additionally, the Cultural eXchanges Festival website had a listing for the event, contributing to its increased visibility.
There were several crucial milestones in the Poetry Night event’s delivery phase. Ensuring the location was prepared to hold the performers and the crowd came first. The gathering occurred in a sizable lecture hall, and the stage was equipped with speakers, microphones, and a podium. The seating was positioned in a semicircle around the stage to create an intimate setting. Making sure the performers were prepared to perform was the next step. Each poet was allotted a specific amount of time, and the order in which they performed was set. The MC introduced the artists quickly, after which they were free to perform their pieces in any way they pleased. The audience’s involvement and enjoyment of the event were checked as the third step. The MC was crucial in maintaining audience interest by giving background information for each act and fostering a supportive atmosphere for the poets. Overall, the Poetry Night event was successfully planned and executed. A broad audience attended the event, and the audience gave the poets who performed a favourable reception. The event’s goals of exhibiting poets’ abilities and introducing poetry to a larger audience were met.
The event delivery was partly difficult because of technical issues with the sound system. The performances were delayed as a result of many microphone adjustments. However, the problem was quickly fixed, and the event went on as planned. The short time allotted for each poet to perform presented another difficulty. Due to the high number of performers, we were forced to cut our original plan of five minutes for each poet to three minutes. Some poets who had prepared longer pieces found this problematic, but we ensured everyone had an equal chance to perform. The Cultural eXchanges Festival’s Poetry Night event, which featured various poets and guests, was successfully planned and executed. The event went off without a hitch despite the problems encountered, such as the short performance time and technical issues. The gathering attracted a wide variety of people and offered poets a great platform to demonstrate their talent and receive encouraging comments from the crowd. Overall, the Poetry Night event was successful and helped make the Cultural Exchange Festival successful.
Evaluation of the whole planning process
According to the survey results, the audience members enjoyed the Community Expressions Poetry Night. The fact that non-students made up the majority of attendance implies that the program drew a broad audience. Additionally, it appears that the event successfully drew both people who had not previously attended a poetry event and people who had done so more than five years prior. The event met the expectations of its target demographic, as evidenced by the fact that entertainment and the arts were the most often cited reasons for attending. The performance quality and overall event experience were regarded as very high or good regarding technical factors. This suggests that the event’s technical elements—such as lighting, sound, and seating arrangements—were effectively implemented.
The survey also reveals details about the guests’ ethnicity, gender, and age demographics. In the future, this information can be utilised to better target and sell the event to a larger audience. For instance, marketing initiatives could be directed towards underrepresented communities in the survey results, such as people over 40 or non-English ethnic groups, if the event’s goal is to draw a more varied crowd. Overall, the survey’s favourable responses show that the event’s planning process successfully satisfied the needs and expectations of its intended audience. Though there is always room for improvement, it is always a good idea to reflect on the event and consider what worked well and could be improved.
Evaluation of team working and my role
Any event must have successful teamwork to be successful (GARNER-WATTS, 2021). It was crucial to consider pertinent ideas and models of teamwork and leadership while assessing the teamwork displayed during Poetry Night. Tuckman’s model of group development, which outlines the several phases a team must pass through to become a high-performing group, was one such idea (Natvig & Stark, 2016, p. 676). According to Tuckman, group development stages are forming, storming, norming, performing, and adjourning (Natvig & Stark, 2016, p. 676). Team members were cordial and cautious during the team-forming phase as we got to know one another and established the team’s objectives. During the storming phase, arguments and tension within the team were created as team members stressed their thoughts and ideas. As we worked through our disagreements and set rules for behaviour, the team started to seem more cohesive and trustworthy. The performing stage was marked by a high degree of productivity and teamwork as we successfully collaborated to accomplish our objectives (Tuckman & Jensen, 2010, p. 43). The team finally disbands in the adjourning stage after the project is finished. In our event planning, transformational leadership was frequently seen as an efficient team management method. Inspiring and motivating team members to provide their best effort, encouraging innovation and originality, and cultivating a sense of shared ownership of the event’s success were all aspects of this leadership style (Bass & Riggio, 2006). Because everyone in the team could express their thoughts and opinions honestly and openly, effective communication was another essential component of a successful team effort. The majority of poll respondents gave the event a rating of very good or good. Therefore, it appears as if the team worked well together overall. All comments indicating enjoyment of the event suggest that the team successfully provided attendees with an exciting and enjoyable experience.
A popular framework for assessing each team member’s strengths and limitations and understanding how they might contribute to the team’s success is the Belbin Team Roles hypothesis (Aritzeta et al., 2007, p. 97). This idea proposes that each team member has a preferred role based on their personality, competencies, and behavioural characteristics (Aritzeta et al., 2007, p. 97). The coordinator, who is in charge of ensuring that team members cooperate and coordinate their activities, is one of the major positions in the Belbin Team positions hypothesis (Fisher et al., 2001, p. 580). As the event’s coordinator, it was my responsibility to work with the performers, make sure they were aware of the specifics of the event, and make sure everything went as planned the day of the event.
Evaluation of Personal Reflection
The Cultural eXchanges Festival, hosted at DMU, successfully achieved the objectives set in the event proposal for the Poetry Night, according to the comments from the Community Expressions Poetry Night survey. As most respondents were attending a poetry event for the first time, the festival’s attendance exceeded expectations. The event was well received, with most attendees rating the performance and overall experience as very good or good. The festival also fits well with the module’s broader discussion of festival and event notions, especially in fostering community and facilitating cross-cultural interaction. According to the feedback, the festival also successfully attracted and retained visitors, which is an integral part of event preparation. As attendees ranged in age and ethnicity, some were students while others were not, the survey results also emphasise the value of creating a warm and welcoming environment that serves a diverse audience. The event’s success may be ascribed to its efficient organisation and coordination as well as the use of suitable marketing techniques, such as flyers and social media, to advertise the event.
I gained valuable project management, communication, and teamwork skills through my engagement in the Cultural eXchanges festival, which I may use in the future for other occasions or situations. The planning team was able to overcome obstacles during the event’s planning and execution, such as coordinating with performers and making sure that the event followed all safety procedures through efficient communication and teamwork. The Cultural eXchanges Festival, as a whole, was a worthwhile educational experience that emphasised the significance of successful event planning, advertising, and execution, as well as providing a warm, inclusive setting that appeals to a diverse audience. Additionally, I now better understand how cultural events can engage local communities and give artists a platform to display their talent. I would use these lessons learnt to better design and manage events in the future. In particular, I would ensure that events were open to and inclusive of all attendees.
The Cultural Exchange Festival, overall, was a successful and well-run event. The festival, which is run by students enrolled in the BA program in Arts and Festivals Management, has a rising regional and national prominence and aims to showcase the work of the Faculty of Arts, Design, and Humanities while drawing attendees who might not generally go to such events. During the Poetry Night event, participants in the survey, who were primarily there for the arts and entertainment, provided excellent responses. Attendees gave the performance and the event as whole excellent marks for quality, and they were very likely to tell others about poetry gatherings. The festival’s success may be ascribed to the staff members’ and students’ efficient planning, programming, and management abilities; this shows how well the Festivals and Events Practice module prepares students for managing events in the real world.
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