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