Dr Yanning Li
Academic and research departmentsSchool of Hospitality and Tourism Management, Observatory for Human Rights and Major Events, Centre for Sustainability and Wellbeing in the Visitor Economy, Centre for Competitiveness of the Visitor Economy, Centre for Digital Transformation in the Visitor Economy, Gender, Entrepreneurship and Social Policy Institute.
Dr Yanning Li is specialised in events and sports. She has more than 10 years industrial experience within the China event industry and the UK event industry. She has worked at many leading music festivals in China including MIDI Festival as well as leading festivals in the UK such as Glastonbury Festival, Leeds Festival and Latitude Festival, among many other public events (e.g. NFL, Brighton Pride). She is particularly experienced in event production and operation, event risk management, event workforce, and sustainability in events.
Her academic experience focuses on event organisational behaviours and human resources, sociological lens on event attendees, well-being, gig economy and sport studies. She has published book, case study and articles on leading journals in the field.
Areas of specialism
MSc International Events Management (Leeds Beckett University, UK)
BA (Hon) Tourism Managemnt (Sun Yat-sen University, China)
Associate Fellow of HEA
RSPH Level 2 Award in Health and Safety at Work
CIEH Level 2 Award in Food Safety
First Aid at Work
Affiliations and memberships
Journal of Policy Research in Tourism, Leisure and Events
Tourism Forum (Chinese)
Business, industry and community links
UK event industry
Organisational behaviour, human resource management, gig economy, wellbeing studies, social sustainability, event attendance and experience (liminality), innovation studies, volunteers management, social exchange theory, and sport studies.
ESRC SeNSS Business Collaboration Fund £4,985 (2021) PI
Project title: Benchmarking Diversity and Inclusivity in the UK Event Industry: A State of the Nation.
University of Surrey FASS Academic Disruption Fund £2,700 (2021-2022) PI
Project: Investigating the construction of event attendees' memory
Research England Innovation Voucher Grant £10,180. (2020-2021) Co-PI
Collaboration with DICE (Diversity and Inclusion in Conferences and Events).
Research England Innovation Voucher Grant £10,096. (2020-2021) PI
Project title: Development of a COVID-19 Recovery Strategy for the Most Hit Sport Industry: (Re)engaging with Fans
Collaboration with Coventry United Ladies Football Club.
University of Surrey FASS Pump-priming Research Grant (2019-2020) funded £1,980 Co-PI
Project title: Gig economy workers' wellbeing under Covid-19
Research England Innovation Voucher Grant £11,430. (2019) Co-PI
Project title: Towards an impactful national association for UK's arts festivals sector.
Collaboration with BAFA.
University of Surrey SHTM Research Grant (2018) funded £1000 PI
Project title: Sport counterfeit purchase attention
Postgraduate research supervision
Currently supervising 5 PhD students:
Abdullah Alnabati: Developing a model of crowd management based on group behaviour theory; The case of The Hajj
Alice Brazao: Privatisation of Public Spaces and Stakeholder Management in a Mega-Events Context: A Tokyo 2020 Olympic Host Community Perspective
Darina Svobodova: Attracting and Retaining Gig Workers in the UK visitor economy
Elizabeth Ashcroft: Perceptions of Value Creation on Open Access Platforms: Performers’ Experiences at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe
Wanwisa Khampanya: Event gig workers' well-being, job crafting and resilience.
Welcoming PhD applicants particularly focusing on the topic areas of:
- temporary organisation, gig economy, gig workers
- event management and critical event studies
- social sustainability, (in)equality
- environmental sustainability, social marketing
- attendance/participation experience
Wu, S., Li, Y., Wood, E., Senaux, B. & Dai, G. (2020) Liminality and festivals—Insights from the East. Annals of Tourism Research, 80, 102810.
Sun, H., Wu, S., Li, Y. & Dai, G. (2019) Tourist-to-tourist interaction at festivals: A grounded theory approach. Sustainability, 11(15), 4030. doi:10.3390/su11154030
Li, Y., Wood, E. H., & Thomas, R. (2017). Innovation implementation: Harmony and conflict in Chinese modern music festivals. Tourism Management, 63, 87-99.
Li, Y. & Wood, E.H. (2016) Music festival motivation in China: free the mind, Leisure Studies,
Li, Y. & Xu, H.G. (2009) From tourists to life-style entrepreneur: Chinese tourists in Lhasa and
Nepal. Tourism Forum, 2(2), pp. 182-187.
Li, Y. (2017) Events safety guidance. (ed) Sun Yat-sen University Press.
Case study <An emerging market for events: China Mainland> in: Dowson, R. & Bassett. D, 2015, Events Planning & Management: A Practical Handbook for PR & Events Professionals. London,