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Thursday 5 March 2015

Events management take to the stage

Matt Bunday talks about the applied event staging unit of Southampton Solent University’s event management programme.

Applied event staging has always been a bit of a unique unit, teaching an understanding of the technical elements used in the industry (lighting, sound, staging, screens) and helping students better incorporate them into their event work.

The analogy I use a lot is that it doesn’t enable students to act as technicians, but it does allow them to have an intelligent conversation with them.

The students work on setting up a truss system…

Through the year we do an overview of a number of technical areas that hope to open the eyes of the students to the everyday use of technical equipment in the industry and how, even on a small scale, it is used.

However, it is one thing to view the equipment in photos and in literature in a classroom environment, but seeing the equipment being used and operating it themselves is something completely different.

So, with this in mind, for the second year running I arranged for them to spend some time with the University’s lighting, sound, staging, and camera equipment. The students were assisted by some very experienced technicians from the Faculty of the Creative Industries.

The technicians and I planned a variety of activities which started with them having a full induction of the equipment in the studio and also what the capabilities of the studio were (its quite a diverse space that is used for multiple courses).

Once this was done they started to do some practical activities of their own including setting up a truss system (a portable scaffolding like structure designed to hang equipment),  building a stage and operating microphones.

… and pull it back down again.

For the last activity they took on production roles, operating the equipment to various technical ‘cues’ in response to a short monologue.

At the end of the activity the students had been given practical experience in the equipment, how to work in a venue and how to deliver a particular production design.

Event management student Robbie Christou said:

“I thoroughly enjoyed the three, two hour sessions we had for applied staging in the studio. We were able to use the theoretical elements we had learnt over the last months in lectures and applied them practically.

“By using, lighting, sound and stage equipment, along with taking on various production roles, I was able to have a holistic learning experience.  It also developed my management skills, which are vital for running the technical side of events.”