I am a believer in well-structured, well-organised and well-documented events that can be repeated with minimal redevelopment. Clear communication with stakeholders ahead of time minimises troubleshooting. Clear management of audience expectations and excellent signage/information helps ensure smooth flow of visitors on arrival. Ensuring all participants enjoy the event and achieve their objectives encourages everyone to come back for more.
In 2008 I created a series of high-quality adult Space Lectures, which run to this day. By focussing on a small niche of educated, interested adults, the series developed a strong core of loyal attendees. It so often sold out out all 170 tickets that each lecture is now repeated. Consistent quality, format and timings were key to success. By professionally managing speakers and prioritising their comfort and enjoyment, return bookings were easy to arrange.
I have arranged many other lectures with internal and external speakers, for a variety of audience and events. However, the Space Lecture series is the most successful, closest to my heart, and the only to have been represented in the form of a birthday cake (made by one attendee for another, as "one of his favourite things").
I created and managed Beginners' Stargazing Nights at Winchester Science Centre from 2008 - 2017.
These free events were supported by up to 50 volunteers, with seven astronomy societies contributing displays and telescopes. Additional support came from academics, companies, STEM Ambassadors and external presenters. Many contributors attended every event over the nine years. Tickets were required to limit public attendance to 600 people, with excellent cloudy-sky contingency attracting 250 even in poor weather.
I also co-developed and co-delivered a series of adult beginners' astronomy classes, including practical stargazing component. This also was supported by expert volunteers.
CO-Ordinating multiple EXTERNAL contributors
I organised schools and public events for World Space Week 2008 - 2017, attracting up to 2,000 attendees each year. This involved significant contributions of staff/activities from Airbus D&S (with prototype ExoMars rover), STFC, Rebel Legion (costumers) and SEPnet, with additional support from Qinetiq, RAL, Space Academy, Astronomy Societies, UK Garrison (costumers), STFC, David Angus (modeller), STEM Ambassadors and others.
During this period I also coordinated external contributors for Stargazing Nights, adult After Dark nights, Dalek events, lectures, public holiday programming and a variety of other special events.
For success on the day, it is vital to have clear communication in advance of the event, usually to include an on-site visit. Venue requirements, arrival, expenses/fees, set-up/pack-down, audience needs, activity appropriateness/ styling, risk assessment, evaluation requriements, timings, lunch arrangements/ cover, branding /logo-placement, 'little things' (eg requirement for sellotape to be provided) should all be confirmed before date to allow time to offer a warm welcome, safety checks and general troubleshooting before the event begins.