Joe Goldblatt - Education Sector - Key Sectors - MIE-MakeItEdinburgh - Why Edinburgh? - Meeting Edinburgh
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Interview with Joe Goldblatt, Queen Margaret University

Professor Joe Goldblatt is a legend in his field. Creator of the very first Academic and Professional qualifications for Event Managers, Professor Goldblatt is a semi-retired Professor at Queen Margaret University. Up until last year he was Executive Director of the International Centre for the Study of Planned Events at QMU.

We are delighted to introduce Professor Goldblatt as a key individual within Edinburgh’s education sector, as part of VisitScotland’s national campaign, Legends.

You clearly have a long and distinguished career in the Education sphere of the events industry… What is that attracted you to Events in the first place?

I was attracted to the Events industry from the time I was a wee lad in Texas! Other children sold lemonade to make pocket money and I organised local events.

And what specifically was it that then took you down the route of Education?

I followed the route of Education after my first textbook was published. I began to receive requests from institutions of further and higher education to deliver guest lectures. I soon realised there was a need for qualifications in the field of events management and so I worked with others to create the first degree programmes.

You have been a pioneer in this industry from the start – author of the first text book in Special Events, founder of numerous degrees including the first MBA in Event Leadership – what is it that has driven this pioneering spirit?

My pioneering spirit was driven by my father who, when I was a small boy, took me along to deliver props for an Octoberfest Party held in a large marquee. I looked around the marquee and began asking “how can I make this even more exciting?!” My father listened to my ideas and always encouraged me to follow my dreams.

You are obviously not originally from Edinburgh – what is it that attracted you here and why Queen Margaret University?

I was attracted to Edinburgh because, for 40 years, I have been studying the renowned Edinburgh Festivals. When Queen Margaret University invited me to apply for a post I jumped at the opportunity to conduct research in the Festival capital of the world.

Your contribution to the events industry has been recognized all over the world with honorary degrees and your award from PCMA. What do you feel is your greatest achievement / contribution within the Education sector here in Edinburgh and Scotland?

I suppose the accomplishment of which I am most proud is creating and establishing the first academic and professional qualifications for Event Managers. My doctoral dissertation research resulted in the establishment of the Certified Special Events Professional qualification and now this qualification is recognised as the hallmark of professionalism throughout the world.

Wrap up question: which teacher or educator has inspired you the most in your career?

I was most inspired by my primary teacher, Mrs Binkley. I am left handed and rather than force me to learn to write with my right hand, Mrs Binkley kindly tutored me individually after class each day until I was confident using my left hand. Fast forward 30 years later, to when my first book was published, I sent Mrs Binkley, who was then in her nineties, a copy inscribed with the words, “For Mrs Binkley, who taught me to write with my left hand. No Mrs Binkley, no book. Thank you for teaching me to write.” And look what happened!