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Creativity in events: the untold story

Caroline Jackson (Faculty of Management, Bournemouth University, Poole, UK)
James Morgan (Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment, University of Westminster, London, UK)
Chantal Laws (Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment, University of Westminster, London, UK)

International Journal of Event and Festival Management

ISSN: 1758-2954

Article publication date: 5 March 2018




The purpose of this paper is to report on untold stories that not only illustrate the creativity but also complexity of working in outdoor events. There has been global interest in the creative industries and the creative economy more generally. Events have not been identified or categorised as part of this. Experiences have been identified as part of the creative sectors (NESTA, 2006) and events are seen as experiences (Jackson, 2006; Berridge 2007). There has been little research undertaken about the creative nature of event experiences, especially in how they are created.


A theoretical framework was created from literature on creativity more generally to inform the Creativity in Events research project. Interviews with those working in the outdoor events sector were the basis of the qualitative stage of the research project investigating the phenomenon of creativity in events.


This paper identifies the core facets of creativity in the management of outdoor events. These were fluency, originality, imagination, elaboration, environment and complexity. A vignette is used to illustrate the intricacy of the nature of creativity in the production of outdoor event experiences. The overall findings were that event management was both creative and pragmatic and that both are necessary. There was a need for a creative environment with processes and familiarity that aided inspiration and originality.


The background and findings are relevant to recognising events as part of the wider creative economy. A greater understanding of the nature of creativity in events informs both education and practice.



The authors thank the Events Industry Forum, Bournemouth University, University of Westminster and Erin McDermott for their support.


Jackson, C., Morgan, J. and Laws, C. (2018), "Creativity in events: the untold story", International Journal of Event and Festival Management, Vol. 9 No. 1, pp. 2-19.



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Copyright © 2018, Emerald Publishing Limited

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