Examining the need for organisational learning and entrepreneurialism to meet the changing roles and expectations of rural and agricultural shows in the UK

Gary Bosworth*, Liz Price, Barry Ardley, Caroline Westwood

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Rural and Agricultural Shows are rich in tradition but their role in the rural economy is evolving. The effective closure of the sector in the UK in 2020 as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic led us to examine how rural Shows would re-emerge, as well as how subsequent economic challenges are influencing the future of Shows. The research draws on interviews with Show organisers and conversations with exhibitors while attending live events. Collectively, this has revealed the Shows have accelerated their digitalisation but also that the physical meeting space is critical to their social function. The research identified new expectations from exhibitors who have discovered alternative routes to market, including online, that are competing with the traditional Show space. Forward-thinking Show organisers are identifying methods to tap into these new online markets and offer complementary value to their exhibitors but those who closed for the duration of the pandemic are finding that they are now having to adapt more quickly to the changes that have occurred.
Original languageEnglish
Article number103222
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Rural Studies
Early online date29 Jan 2024
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2024

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