Exeter academic wants volunteers to get muddy for research!

A University of Exeter student is currently in search of music festival volunteers for ESRC funded PhD research.

There is little research into the multi-million pound festival sector, and this PhD study aims to change to that. The South West has a reputation for holding excellent and varied music festivals, each of which contributes to the local economy and tourist trade. University of Exeter student Dee Clayton, is aiming to understand the contribution of volunteers and create a picture of how festivals can use volunteers more effectively.

Dee wants music festival volunteers in the South West to come forward to share their volunteering experiences with her. There are two stages to her research: firstly, she is seeking to interview anyone aged 18 and over who has volunteered at an annual UK music festival in the last three years. She will be exploring why people volunteer, their experience and perceptions of the festival organisation, how their personal experience and skills have (or have not) been used at the festival, and why they are motivated to volunteer and to share their knowledge.

The second stage of research will request the interviewees who are also volunteering at a UK music festival this year to keep a diary during that event. For successfully completed and submitted diaries, the participants will receive a ‘thank you’ gift of a £25 voucher.

Commenting on her research Dee said: “Volunteering is much more than just standing in a muddy field – these free resources are integral to the success of festivals and each volunteer brings a wealth of personal experiences and knowledge to the festival. This research will offer one of the first studies of UK music festivals and how they use volunteers and the knowledge they possess. By understanding volunteers and how to use their knowledge better, festivals can enhance their customer service, performance and competitive advantage.”

Dee is currently recruiting participants across the UK through her blog and on twitter, and she goes on to say: “We are really lucky in the South West to have some fantastic music festivals, and I am particularly looking forward to interviewing festival volunteers from the region, to hear their perceptions and experiences of festivals”

Full information on Dee’s research can be found by visiting her blog page: http://festivalvolunteerresearch.wordpress.com/ or twitter account: @FestVolResearch

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