A Brave New World: The impact of Covid-19 on events and higher education

Claire Drakeley, Ivna Reic

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned Report


In March 2020, after several precarious months of monitoring the global advancement of a new respiratory virus, COVID-19, the United Kingdom went into lockdown and life as we knew it stopped overnight. Hundreds of thousands of employees were furloughed from their roles, suddenly finding themselves out of work and with little to do. Those who managed to hold on to their jobs suddenly had to adjust to working from home full time and learn a whole host of new skills in the process. Parents of schoolaged children were faced with school closures and the new, uncharted waters of home schooling. The elderly and those with health conditions were required to shield and cease any and all contact with people outside of their household. Supermarket shelves were bare in a matter of days, in what resembled scenes from a Hollywood depiction of the end of days.

As one of the industries hardest hit by the pandemic, the UK events sector has seen a reported loss of 126,000 jobs, with over a third of businesses in the sector reporting losses of £1m to £5m. Events businesses are anticipating that a further 38% of employees who are currently on furlough will also be made redundant at the end of the scheme. Almost half of the organisations in the sector have had to reduce their terms with suppliers and almost 10% are having to source new suppliers because their regular pre-Covid-19 suppliers are no longer in operation. Looking further forwards, there has been a decrease in Q4 enquiries of 75%.

However, the sector has also seen some prolific examples of resilience and business agility with companies pivoting almost completely from their original product offering to launching brand new products and accessing brand new markets in a matter of weeks – a timeline often unheard of in live event production.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherUniversity of Northampton
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2021


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