FEATURE36 www.exhibitionnews.co.ukCHILDREN AND CHARITYEVENT: THE BIG BANG FAIRDIRECTOR: JEREMY BUCKLECOMPANY: ENGINEERINGUKLAUNCHED: 2009Jeremy Buckle's events resume extends across three continents and incorporates a host of live formats, theme parks and television. He claims his big break came when he convinced The Jerry Springer Show to do fi ve pay per view episodes of the TV programme live in Australia during a singles dating event on Valentine's Day. "It was the ultimate love gone wrong headline act that took the dating website global," he claimed. Buckle is now the driving force behind The Big Bang Fair, an event started by a collection of professional institutions led by EngineeringUK that aims to inspire young people to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). The annual event debuted in March 2009 as part of the National Science and Engineering Week and now includes 12 regional events held in June/July across the UK.Buckle was instrumental in overhauling the format and experience, launching The Big Bang Fair successfully to 23,500 people in Manchester in 2010. "In 2011 we came to Excel London with 29,500 people and in Birmingham this year we took The Fair to over 56,000 people," he said. "We have support from a large array of engineering and technology fi rms including BAE Systems, Shell, Siemens and Rolls-Royce." As an event specialist, Buckle said he faced an uphill battle convincing a group of not-for-profi t organisations to become event-enabled and focused on delivery. At the same time, the digital era and social media enabled the events team behind The Big Bang Fair to bring in different elements to make a more interactive event. "This has meant rewriting the way it is delivered, and making a system and a process that works for our organisation," Buckle explained. "We ask ourselves what is the ultimate outcome and then challenge why that really won't work. The end result is the realisation that anything is possible, especially in a challenging marketplace where everyone from suppliers to clients and venues are all hungry for business and looking at things differently to be competitive."We have not followed templates or formulae from the event industry. My previous experience in television and theme parks has enabled me to bring elements that work in those formats to engage young people through The Big Bang Fair."For Buckle, success comes down to an independent evaluation of impact to the learner, and retention of key messages. "Did we change their perspectives on STEM and are they changing their subject choices to STEM? That's our real driver," he said. To this end, The Big Bang Fair has begun expanding its regional fairs portfolio to accommodate smaller local fairs. "This expansion of our nationwide series of fairs 'near me' is central to my vision that by 2020 every secondary school student in the UK will be directly engaged or know someone who is engaged in The Big Bang programme," Buckled continued. Ultimately, The Big Bang Fair is unique because it's doing something no one else does, he claimed."We recognise the old rules don't apply, so we make them up as we go along," Buckle added. "Adaptability to the changing landscape, understanding our target audiences and a dynamic cross platform brand are key."
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