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Ruth Dowson

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With over 25 years' experience in events delivery, in public and private sectors, Rev. Ruth Dowson has taught at the UK Centre for Events Management since 2007. Her PhD study is on the nature of the eventization of faith. Ruth is a priest in the Church of England.

As an events practitioner, Ruth developed considerable leadership expertise and has managed thousands of events, including 11 years in operational management of a venue. In 2007, Ruth moved into teaching events management at the UK Centre for Events Management, and became a level leader, with pastoral responsibility for Level 5 and later for final year students. She led the successful development and delivery of the online Masters Course in Events Management in 2008, as well as being Course Leader 2009-2011 of the BA (Hons) Conference & Exhibition Management, and Course Leader of the BA (Hons) Events Management, and HND Events Management 2011-2014.
Ruth is co-author of Event Planning & Management

Ruth’s specialist research interests include the eventization of faith, extended use of religious heritage buildings for events and the eventization of religious heritage objects, religious heritage events, objects and buildings, religious events as pilgrimage, religious and spiritual events and tourism. She has research interests in event planning and management, conference design and logistics, new types of business events and conferences, unconferences, introducing interactivity in event content design, personality and communication e.g. MBTI, NLP, business events, event evaluation, public sector events and procurement, venues for conferences, client management, project management, team development, weddings, raves and political events. Since 2014, she has also published work on planning and managing events, church events and community, events as pilgrimage, spiritual and religious events and festivals, rituals in religious events, and illegal raves.

Current Teaching

Level 5: Personal Tutor, Professional Event Practice 2; Celebration, Ritual and Culture (Module Leader).
Placement Year: Personal Tutor

Level 6: Business Event Production; Strategic Venue Operations Management (Module Leader); Independent Project / Dissertation.
Masters: Independent Project / Dissertation.

Research Interests

Ruth’s specialist research interest for her PhD by publication focuses on the eventization of faith. Recent publications and conference presentations in the Vatican, Belgrade and Jerusalem consider the impacts of the extended use of religious heritage buildings for events and the eventization of religious heritage objects. The impact of Ruth's research is felt in church organisations around the world; at the Vatican she shared her research into the event management implications for the use of decommissioned churches for events, at an international conference that agreed the guidelines for Roman Catholic Dioceses and churches around the world.

Ruth is also co-author of Event Planning & Management, a core textbook, now in its second edition. This reousrce is widely used as a practical tool in industry as well as in teaching events management at degree level.

Selected Publications

Journal articles (7)

Books (3)

Chapters (8)

  • Dowson R (2019) Repurposing Sacred Buildings - Events Management Issues. In: Capanni F Doesn't God Dwell Here Anymore? Decommissioning Places of Worship and Integrated Management of Ecclesiastical Cultural Heritage.. Rome, Italy: Editoriale Artimede, Rome, Italy, pp. 445456-456.
  • Dowson R (2019) The role of ritual in sacred journeys. In: Dowson R; Raj R; Yaqub J Religious Tourism: Motivations and Management. Wallingford UK: CABI, pp. 9-20.
  • Dowson R (2019) Motivations to visit sacred historical objects: The Lindisfarne Gospels' visit to Durham 2013 - A sacred journey?. In: Dowson R; Raj R; Yaqub J Spiritual and Religious Tourism: Motivations and Management. Wallingford: CABI, pp. 109-121.
  • Dowson R; Raj R; Yaqub J (2019) Introduction. In: Dowson R; Raj R; Yaqub J Spiritual and Religious Tourism: Motivations and Management. Wallingford, UK: CABI, pp. 1-8.
  • Dowson R (2018) Religious and spiritual festivals and events. In: Mair J The Routledge Handbook of Festivals. London: Routledge, pp. 313-322.
  • Lamond I; Dowson R (2017) Religion and politics - events, authenticity and meaning: A dialogical approach.. In: Jepson A; Clarke A Power, Construction and Meaning in Festivals. Abingdon: Routledge, pp. 153-167.
  • Dowson R (2015) Religion, Community and Events. In: Jepson A; Clarke A Exploring Community Festivals and Events. Abingdon: Routledge, pp. 169-186.
  • Dowson R; Lomax D; Saltibus B (2014) Rave Culture: Free Party or Protest?. In: lamond I; Spracklen K Protests As Events Politics, Activism and Leisure. : Rowman & Littlefield Pub Incorporated, pp. 191-210.

Conference contributions (16)

  • Dowson R (2021) Virtual Pilgrimage to the Holy Land during the Pandemic: Contemplating the Face of Christ with Mary - The Magdala Experience William & Mary College, Williamsburg, Virginia (online) 21/01/2021. YouTube: Institute for Pilgrimage Studies.
  • Dowson R (2020) Religious Pilgrimage: Experiencing People, Objects and Events Swedish Theological Institute, Jerusalem, Israel 22/01/2020.
  • Dowson R (2019) Theological Differences in Approaches to the Secondary use of Churches for Religious Tourism and Event Activities Singidunum University, Belgrade, Serbia 26/06/2019.
  • Dowson R (2018) Anglican Experiences of Mary: An English Perspective Malta 19/10/2018.
  • Dowson R (2018) The Eventization of Religious Heritage: Case Studies and Practical Considerations Malta 19/10/2018.
  • Dowson R (2017) Biker Revs on tour: Pilgrimage motivations of motorbiking vicars from Leeds Diocese Armeno, Orta Lake, Italy 28/06/2017.
  • Dowson R (2016) A Typology of Christian Mega-Events in the 21st Century Konya, Turkey 01/06/2016.
  • Dowson R (2016) Researching the parish - a view from ordination training to publication Birmingham, England 18/05/2016. Church of England.
  • Dowson R (2014) Rural events in the new mega-diocese of West Yorkshire and the Dales Halle, Germany 29/10/2014.
  • Dowson R (2014) The eventization of religious tourism and pilgrimage: An In-Depth Case Study of the Lindisfarne Gospels. Vesprem Hungary 20/06/2014.
  • Dowson R (2014) Religion, Community and Events Novotel Birmingham 04/06/2014.
    View Repository Record
  • Dowson R (2014) The 'eventization' of (religious) heritage Leuven, Belgium 06/05/2014.
  • Dowson R (2013) The eventization of movable religious heritage objects: The Lindisfarne Gospels - A case study Utrecht Netherlands 03/11/2013.
  • Dowson R; Roberts K (2013) Rave Culture - Free Party or Protest? Leeds Metropolitan University 12/06/2013. London: Rowman & Littlefield International..
  • Dowson R (2013) Marketing and Consuming Religion: Events, T-shirts, Tattoos and Tweets University of Durham, England 09/04/2013.
  • Dowson R (2012) Anglican and non-denominational approaches to extended use of religious heritage buildings Venice Italy 14/11/2012.