Tom Lunt

Dr Tom Lunt

Senior Lecturer (Events Management)
+44 (0)1483 689660
54 AP 02



Tom joined the University of Surrey in 2017 as a Senior Teaching Fellow having lectured in Events Management first at London Metropolitan University and then at The University of Greenwich. Prior to his academic career Tom worked in fundraising events; first at the Royal Star & Garter Home for disabled servicemen and women and then at Christian Aid where he was Events and Community Fundraising Manager. He has managed a wide range of events including exclusive black tie dinners, overseas challenge events and sponsored cycles and walks. An important part of his work involved overseas travel to collect stories on the overseas projects that he and his team raised funds for.

Tom completed his doctoral thesis in 2016 which examined the nature of trust, dissent, democracy and politics in student learning communities and the possibility of democratic learning communities in Higher Education. He has published research in both the Event Management and Education fields where his interests focus on social media, experiential event management and event design.

Research interests

Event design

Experiential event management

Event Sponsorship and Fundraising

Social media and events

Social media and education


Business and International Context for Events

Eventful Cities and leveraging events

Imagineering events themes and experiences

Event Services Marketing

University roles and responsibilities

  • Programmes Director for BSc and MSc International Events Management degrees


    Lunt, T (2017) Police, politics and democratic learning communities in Higher Education Student Engagement in Higher Education Journal, 1 (2). pp. 16-39.

    This paper suggests a different way of theorising the concept of learning community as it relates to digital literacy, social capital and student engagement in Higher Education. Drawing on the work of Quinn (2005) and Rancière (1991, 2010) to examine texts created by students and staff in interviews and in their VLE, the normative discourses of learning community and student engagement are problematized and the role of digital literacy in group work analysed. The paper suggests the term Democratic Learning Community (DLC) as an alternative to the normative and consensus driven discourses of learning community and student engagement prevalent in higher education. DLCs recognise the presence of political subjectification, dissent and resistance that will contribute insight to those involved in teaching students using digital platforms in Higher Education.

    Lunt, T (2016) (Dis)engaging students: the role of digital literacy in Higher Education learning communities Doctoral thesis, University of Sussex.

    In this ethnographic case study I examine, as a participant observer, the subjectivities of students, staff and others outside the university in real and virtual spaces. The work is intended for the education research community in the field of digital literacy and teaching practitioners in Higher Education (HE) who are seeking to understand how digital literacy and student engagement policy can influence relationships in learning communities. I examine the literature relating to theoretical and policy discourses of digital literacy, student engagement, learning community and social capital. Based on the literature, I take an anti-foundational methodological stance that draws on the work of Derrida, MacLure and Rancière. I also draw on the work of Fairclough who locates himself as a critical realist. While not in anyway attempting to reconcile the ontological assumptions of anti-foundationalism and critical realism, I do adopt a dialectic approach that may be generative of fresh insights and perspectives. The conflicted nature of my position as an insider and participant researcher is also interrogated. The case study of a second year (level 5) module drew on a mixed-method research approach and took place in Spring, 2012 at a post ’92 university. As the module leader, I asked the students to use online Private Group Forums (PGFs) to aid group work and Open Group Forums (OGFs) to co-ordinate activities such as field trips and to ask questions. In April, I asked the students to complete a survey that sought to measure a range of items including their engagement, levels of trust and general satisfaction with their teaching experience. After the module was completed, I interviewed students, staff and an external professional. Drawing on Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA), I analysed the content of the interviews, open and private forums and then ‘read’ them from a deconstructive viewpoint. In writing up I employ conventional and unconventional formats and, using auto ethnographic narrative, reflect on my approach. I then conclude the study, setting out the key findings. The case study showed that the majority of students did not engage with institutional virtual spaces and large numbers of students used alternatives such as Facebook to support their learning. The majority of students indicated that they trusted their tutor whom they valued as the most important source of learning support. However, tutors were, for the most part, excluded from alternative virtual spaces. Where students allowed the researcher access to their virtual space, high levels of engagement were present but these were not necessarily positive or supportive. Tutors, for the most part, did not engage with students online. Where they did, this sometimes led to dependent, disengaged student/tutor relationships. The study offers a unique insight into student and teaching staff practices in virtual and real spaces and how wider ideologically-driven policy discourses affect individuals’ subjectivities in these spaces. The qualitative and quantitative data offers a contribution to knowledge that will be useful to policy makers, Higher Education (HE) managers, teachers and students. For example, in the quantitative element of the case study, the variables of class, gender, the student’s employment status and ethnicity had no apparent effect on the interactions in virtual spaces. At the same time the qualitative data presented shows students’ use of institutional virtual spaces might not be an accurate indicator of student engagement and that the use of virtual spaces can lead to dependent behaviour by students. Policy makers and managers in Higher Education institutions might find the study’s insights and conclusions particularly helpful when considering investment in institutional Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs) and how their use should be evaluated. This study also offers a contribution to knowledge at a theoretical level. Weaving the text from virtual spaces with interviews, and reading the new text through Rancière’s (1999) ideas of politics and democracy, has important implications for how digital literacy, support and engagement are understood and how they might contribute to what I call Democratic Learning Communities in Higher Education.

    Lunt, T (2011) Event Typologies In: The Routledge Handbook of Events. Routledge, London, pp. 47-57. ISBN 9780415583343
    Lunt, T and Curran, J (2009) Are you listening please? The use of electronic audio feedback. Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education, 35 (7). pp. 759-769.

    Feedback on students' work is, probably, one of the most important aspects of learning, yet students' report, according to the National Union of Students (NUS) Survey of 2008, unhappiness with the feedback process. Students were unhappy with the quality, detail and timing of feedback. This paper examines the benefits of using audio, as opposed to written, feedback in an attempt to overcome student criticisms. Using the Audacity audio software MP3 feedback files were created and sent to 60 students either via a VLE or email. The students were asked to complete an online survey on audio feedback. Twenty‐six students responded. The results were, generally, very positive. The use of audio feedback seemed to have overcome the problems reported by the NUS survey. Students are at least 10 times more likely to open audio files compared to collecting written feedback. The paper concludes with reflections, and advice, on introducing audio feedback.

    Lunt T, Nicotra E (2018) Event Sponsorship and Fundraising. An Advanced Guide, Kogan Page, London

    Securing sponsorship and other sources of funding for events is becoming increasingly competitive, making differentiation and delivery vital. Event Sponsorship and Fundraising explores this complex area of event management, drawing on both experiential marketing and consumer behaviour theories, and developing critical insights on the dynamics of successful event sponsorship. Its coverage includes professional guidance on prospecting for sponsors, brand activation and evaluation, as well as advice on relationship management, proposal writing and pitching to potential sponsors.