Cultural Events Management MSc

About the course


In the past twenty years there has been a proliferation of cultural and commercial events, not only in Britain but across the world. These range from small-scale local arts or creative events, to large-scale international multi-disciplinary festivals such as those that transform cities like Edinburgh, every summer, to the Expos that form such an important focus for global communication in both business and cultural terms. The Cultural Events Management MSc is tailored to meet the needs of this dynamic and expanding industry of cultural events and festivals. 

The course explores the connections between culture and business/management and will allow you to apply theory, key skills and knowledge to practical experience in the industry. It offers an excellent learning experience combined with intensive study and research options with key partners such as the British Arts Festivals Association, Festival Republic, Glastonbudget, Spark Children’s Art Festival, and many more. You will also benefit from working with teaching staff at the cutting edge of research and new ideas in the field.

At the heart of the degree is a synergy of arts, culture, and management theory and practice which ensures that you will deepen your understanding of, and competence in, developing and managing cultural and/or commercial events. In addition, staff and students organise and run their own annual week-long festival called Cultural Exchanges.

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Key facts

UKPASS code: N82071

Duration:  One year full-time, two years part-time

Location: Clephan Building

Start date: September 2014

Entry and admission criteria

You should have the equivalent of a 2:1 or above UK bachelor’s honours degree. 

We encourage and welcome applications from applicants with a wide range of backgrounds and perspectives and all non-standard applications will be considered.

International Students

If English is not your first language an IELTS score of 6.5 or equivalent when you start the course is essential. English Language tuition|, delivered by our British Council accredited Centre for English Language Learning, is available both before and throughout the course if you need it.

Teaching and assessment

Contact time is usually nine hours per week. You will receive one-to-one tutorial support, participate in lively workshops, seminars, lectures and have the opportunity to research individual festivals and events.

The course also provides encounters with a wide range of professionals in the events field including those working for specific festivals/events, local authorities, industry organisations and practitioners (e.g. from the security, and health and safety fields), and international academics through our leading membership of the European Festivals Research project. 

Designed to combine academic study with the practice of organising specific events, the course will, through the various guest lectures and study workshops, work in collaboration with partners nationally and internationally.

Assessment methods include:

An essay is a piece of writing which requires you to explore different perspectives on a particular subject. At postgraduate level you should read widely around your subject in order to write convincing and informed essays.

As part of the learning process, you may be asked to develop both on and offline portfolios to demonstrate the development of professional skills and to record evidence of achievement over a period of study. A portfolio is: 

  • a collection of authentic and diverse evidence
  • drawn from a larger archive representing what you have learned over time 
  • on which you have reflected, and 
  • designed for presentation to one or more audiences for a particular purpose

At key points you will deliver a presentation. These are designed to help develop your communication skills, to provide milestones so you can track your progress and to provide evidence of reflection and revision. These presentations are useful for stimulating critical debate to support learner development. Rather than rely on tutor-initiated discussions, issues are raised naturally in direct response to your work.  Presentations also encourage you as a learner to engage with your learning at a deeper level; in a presentation you are in charge of content and pace.

A proposal is a formal, written account of the intended scope of a project, written early in the development cycle. It may be based on a briefing given by your tutor.

A report will detail the background and research to a project in a formal and concisely structured format, using the Harvard referencing system. 

A dissertation is an extended piece of writing that explores the theoretical and philosophical aspects of a topic in detail. Dissertations offer opportunities to select and structure ideas concisely and coherently. They are normally written in a formal, organised style within defined word limit and use the Harvard referencing system. 

Course modules

Events Leadership
The module addresses the needs of individuals leading cultural and commercial events and events management organisations. It explores the advantages and weaknesses of public versus private ownership, and the skills needed to motivate, manage and organise staff and other stakeholders to create excellent events.

Festivals and Events Practice
This module will look at the expanding market of art/cultural festivals and events that has developed across the globe since WWII. It will explore the political and cultural forces that have contributed to this expansion. 

Marketing for the Creative Entrepreneur
This module considers marketing and corporate strategy issues in relation to activities of the creative entrepreneur. This module will investigate methods and tools for marketing products and services to consumers (b2c), businesses (b2b) and the public sector and examine the utilisation of corporate competences to gain competitive advantage. 

Research Methodology
This module is designed to enhance students’ knowledge and understanding of the nature and scope of research. You will examine and evaluate current issues in practice led and practice based research.  

Business Planning for the Creative Entrepreneur
The manoeuvring of a creative concept to market using business and financial skills is crucial to the success of the Creative Entrepreneur. This module will enable you to consolidate skills from term one and develop a range of activities, creative, technical, legislative and financial required to bring an idea into business reality

Music Festivals
Music festivals are amongst the more ubiquitous features of the global festivals scene and its expansion in the past two decades. This module will therefore provide an opportunity not only to examine the nature of specific festivals and your histories but to deepen understanding of specific aspects of your management and development.

Animating Places
This module explores the ways in which artists, of all artistic and media disciplines, are now engaged in the use of public spaces and the notion of place making. It considers the emergent patterns of major events and festivals alongside the need to market places in competition with each other; the phenomena of culturally-focussed and culturally-led events that bring places alive; and the issues affecting both the artists as producers and the commissioning bodies, and the impacts and engagement of audiences.

Cultural Policy and Planning
Cultural policies at national and local level are the often unseen influences that determine the working lives of cultural events managers. This module provides definitions of cultural policy and explores its frameworks and applications. 

Museum Exhibition and Design
This module considers the broad concepts of museum design and exhibition display.  It examines the semiotics of display and communication of meaning, including the museum as a repository of cultural identity. 

Managing a Business Web Presence
Web and internet environments are becoming the most accessible means of corporate interface and communication and vital for the success of creative business endeavours. This module will introduce you to a critical appraisal of web design and promotion along with related creative and management processes and production techniques in a business context. 

The dissertation provides you with an opportunity for sustained research work of an independent nature in an area related to the Cultural Events Management MSc.  Topics may develop from one of the taught modules or may be linked to issues touched on only peripherally or not at all in the taught modules. 

Work Based Project
This module provides the opportunity to develop and demonstrate skills acquired from the taught course in a practical context – for example working with a festival or an events company. It is anticipated that this work based project/placement will include experience of working on the development, promotion and delivery of a festival or event. 

Note: All modules are subject to change in order to keep content current.

Academic expertise

DMU is linked to festivals and events across Europe through its membership of the European Festivals Research Project. It is also linked to the annual Leicester Comedy Festival, which started as a DMU student project in 1993. The Cultural Events Management staff run our own Cultural Exchanges festival and the team are involved in research on festivals from music festivals such as Latitude and Summer Sundae Weekender to the comedy festival and carnivals and melas, and project management which creates opportunities for your own research projects and work placements.

One major feature of the MSc is that staff offer modules within their research specialisations, giving you the opportunity to be at the cutting edge of new discoveries and developments within fields of, for example arts and cultural events (e.g. music festivals), strategic planning, use of public space, communicating with/through media and advertising. Staff on the degree have recently completed a major piece of research funded by the EPSRC to explore how to promote issues of sustainability with and through festivals (see

Industry links and professional accreditation

“The MA has strengthened my professional and academic development across a wide range of cultural activities and has stimulated fresh thinking about cultural management skills and my future contribution to the cultural sector. The unique programme offers a supportive environment which fosters creativity and has helped me to develop confidence, forge networks and the knowledge to create opportunities within the cultural events field.”

Katie Flaherty, current student

“The course has provided me with some exciting opportunities to volunteer at a range of cultural events including music festivals, which has enabled me to put some of the learnt theory into practice. I feel that the course has expanded my horizons and scope for future professional and career development within cultural events.”

Anna Borley, current part-time student

Graduate careers

Within the UK alone it is estimated that there may be up to 25,000 festivals and events with a strong cultural dimension. When one adds to that the increasing number of commercial events, it is clear that there is a substantial market for our graduates in the UK and globally.

Many people employed in the festivals sector travel from one festival to another on three–four month contracts. Over and above that, there are of course major sporting events such as the Olympics, or the commercial expos which all provide employment opportunities.

Fees and funding

Fees and funding options for 2014/15 entry are still under review and are subject to change.

Postgraduate courses fees £4,200
Students Equivalent or Lower Qualification Status* £5,000
Postgraduate courses fees £11,700
Postgraduate courses fees (per year) £2150
Students Equivalent or Lower Qualification Status* (per year)
Continuation UK/EU Fee** £150
Continuation International Fee** £5000

For more information please take a look at our Funding|| section.

* ELQ Student definition - If you are a Home or EU status student and you already have a qualification at or above the level of the programme you wish to study from any country you will be considered as an Equivalent or Lower Qualification (ELQ) student. In 2008 the UK Government decided to stop funding universities for student in this situation and therefore the following fees will apply £5,000. Students from outside the EU are not affected by the policy.

** A fee that is charged on a periodic basis where Postgraduate or Research students need to extend their registration to complete the course.


 Learn more about postgraduate funding and finance|



The Clephan Building, home to humanities courses, houses generous teaching accommodation equipped with the latest audio-visual equipment, the Student Advice Centre, Academic Guidance Centre and resources rooms with specialist facilities needed to excel. Our dedicated computer centre includes a state-of-the-art media lab with Apple Intel Mac Pro computers, cinema screens and all the latest creative software applications with full technical support. There are computing classrooms and an additional suite of computer workstations which can be pre-booked. Our computer centre reflects both our commitment to providing access to information technology and our determination to develop innovative teaching methods and web-based learning resources.

How to apply

Students can apply directly to study this postgraduate taught course at DMU by using our online applications portal|.


Contact details

For more information please contact:

Online enquiry form|
UK Study enquiries: 0116 250 6070
International study enquiries: +44 (0)116 2 50 60 70

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