Staff profile: Jane Ali-Knight

Dr Jane Ali-Knight is an Associate Professor in Festival and Event Management at Edinburgh Napier

“As part of my Masters dissertation at Manchester Metropolitan University I worked for British Airways in their marketing department, and that’s what I thought I wanted to do. But then my husband got a job in Australia, so literally after finishing my Masters, we moved to Perth. I ended up working as research assistant for Don Getz, the godfather of Tourism/Events and a great mentor so early on in my career.

“It was the ‘90s and prior to that I’d spent 18 months travelling around the world and doing various jobs. I worked in hospitality and events as part of that, but I’m actually also a qualified ballet and tap dance teacher, and taught dance in Greece. I ran a community dance project in Salford, too, and I’ve performed at The Festival Theatre, London and The Lowry in Manchester. I think that’s why I’m not fazed by being an academic and being in front of people.

“It was difficult, at first, coming to Edinburgh, mostly because of the weather. I’m a warm weather person and I spent the first few months here in The Botanical Gardens’ tropical glass house with my two-year-old daughter – we’d stay in there for a couple of hours a day acclimatising! Now I really love Edinburgh – it’s so exciting working with the festivals. I can talk to the tourism minister at an event and we know the festival directors really well. There’s a real sense of a festival community which I didn’t get in other countries.”