BA (Hons) Creative Events Management alumna, Suzi Dent, graduated from what was then BA (Hons) Arts and Events Management, in 2005. She tells us about her time on the course, and working in the events world.
What age were you when you first noticed a passion for Creative Events Management (CEM) and where did the inspiration come from?
I went to my first Glastonbury Festival in 1997 and knew from there that was what I wanted to get involved in events.
What originally attracted you to studying CEM at AUB?
The course was really practical and taught by lecturers with experience across the industry. Everything I learnt has come into use throughout my career. I was also very interested in the focus on arts events as this gave me a good grounding in the specifics of this sector. I liked that part of the course was to actually produce events as I felt that was a huge step in putting the learning into practice.
How did you find your time at AUB?
I enjoyed being part of the wider AUB arts course environment as well as being close by to Bournemouth University. The lecturers were very supportive, and the course content was interesting and relevant.
What were the most important lessons you learnt?
I learned key skills across the whole event cycle, from planning to operational delivery, marketing to budgeting and how to actually deliver these events out in the business environment.
How did the course prepare you for entering the creative world after AUB?
It taught me how to deliver both business and artistic objectives in events and how to respect the difference there can sometimes be between those two things.
Can you explain a little about your career journey since graduating… what jobs have you had and where? What does your job involve?
Since graduating I have had various project and event manager roles, bringing the whole event together. I worked for several years on community level arts events such as Bournemouth Live Music Festival and Brighton Carnival. I worked freelance during this time so took on lots of other short roles across a wide range of projects like 2012 Olympics, Secret Cinema, Brighton Frocks and Carnival Network South East.
I worked for 5 years at Cancer Research UK as the Area Event Manager for Race for Life, managing all aspects of the event to ensure they hit financial targets for the charity. I also worked in various capacities across the other events in the portfolio such as Pretty Muddy and Shine.
Tell us about your current role; what do you like most about it, and what attracted you to it?
My current role is as Senior Event Manager at the Royal Parks in London. This includes Hyde, St James’s, Regents and Greenwich Parks. I am responsible for the operational delivery of major events in the portfolio which include: Winter Wonderland, London Marathon, Ride London, BST Concerts, Proms in the Park, Taste of London and Frieze Art Fair. I love the variety and scale of the events and as my final year research project at AUB was about sustainability in the events sector I get to deliver events to the high environmental standards that I am passionate about.
Can you tell us about the work you’re most proud to have produced so far?
I was very personally proud to deliver the Brighton Carnival in 2009. I was responsible for raising funds and delivering this large participatory event, bringing together national carnival artists with community groups. I substantially increased the income of this event in 2009 and delivered paid artist teaching and performing opportunities through a mix of arts and commercial funding. It was also one of the first events in the UK to strive for the BS8901 sustainable standard for events. It was a real challenge to deliver something of this size and complexity with tight financial constraints whilst continuing to keep true to its artistic and environmental ethos.
Do you have any future career aspirations?
I would love to have my own event company responsible for producing a small scale but beautifully formed arts festival
Finally, what’s your one piece of advice for the next generation of creatives?
To try to retain your creative vision in the commercially driven world of events.