Keith Still Introduction to Crowd Safety and Risk Analysis

FearFree introduces Professor Dr. G Keith Still from Manchester Metropolitan University!

When: We are currently talking with Keith about the possibility of running his 3-day masterclass again in October 2018
Where: TBC
Would you be interested in attending Keith's course? If so please let us know by clicking here or... get in touch via email

You might have seen Keith in the news as the expert looking at Trump's inauguration crowd sizes.

Keith Still 3 day masterclass

Hi all,

Keith is a world-leading figure in helping event managers, venue managers and all those responsible for crowd safety and risk assessment for festivals and other mass gatherings to scientifically plan the flow of people through the space available and estimate how many people can fit in an area.

FearFree are bringing Keith to NZ to run his 3-day masterclass. This workshop is essential professional development for anyone who has responsibilities around event planning and crowd management, venue or operations management. Risk assessment for festivals and mass gatherings must take into account the constraints of space on people and their safe movement.

A recent masterclass in Ireland saw people who work in the following areas attend: community events, music festivals, meetings & conferences, local festivals, sporting events, large mass gatherings, corporate events, brand activations, local authorities, emergency services personnel, University lecturers and students. Enhance your reputation and that of your event/organisation, gain valuable experience and a qualification, and do it all by keeping people safe!

Some comments from others who have attended the course, shamelessly lifted from Keith’s website,

“The City of Austin is host to several mass gatherings that include music festivals, collegiate sporting events, and holiday celebrations. Dr. Still’s Crowd workshops provided tools and insights that will improve my ability to predict potential issues, create plans to address the predicted issues and manage the crowds that these events bring; ultimately creating safer events for our citizens. If you are responsible for the management of large gatherings, I would recommend this workshop for you and your team."
Pete DiDonato, Division Chief, Austin-Travis County Emergency Medical Services, Austin Texas USA

“A fantastic and beneficial course, it was the only course I had ever done where I was upset when it finished, the course provides a unique and mathematical approach to crowd engineering, the consensus of all who attended was that it provided us with the tools and confidence to do our job”
Operations Manager. Sydney Opera House (2014)

"On a personal basis it allowed me to confidently state my case with a client why such safety measures where required. It was a completely new event site and when the ‘Flamming Lips’ came on stage we had a robust crowd management plan in place with crowd spotters deployed. I needed every bit of your course and not sure the outcome if I hadn’t attended, probably, like everyone else, we would have crossed our fingers!"
Jonathan Cunningham MBE. Managing Director. STORM Consultancy

Contact us if you're interested in attending in October – register your interest today!

Course Overview Video

Interview with Keith Stillt

Check out this excellent interview with Keith here, on our Irish friend’s website. And THIS is a good reason to check it out.

A question for events people

Where does responsibility for crowd safety lie? Event organisers? Venue managers? Licensing bodies? A customer-centric approach would probably say all three have their part to play. Event organisers want to share an experience with people, work with venue managers to determine how that experience can unfold in a particular space, and present it to the licensing body, who ticks it all off as meeting all requirements.

But of those, who needs to have a knowledge of crowd dynamics? Again, the answer is probably in all three places. An event organiser without knowledge of crowd dynamics may make assumptions about crowd behaviour that have unintended consequences and mean the crowd experience a very different event than was intended. A venue manager without sufficient knowledge may not spot the flaws in a plan, leading to ineffective and possibly dangerous use of a venue. If the licensing body lacks the knowledge, then flawed and potentially unsafe plans are accepted uncritically.

There are two reasons the question of responsibility may be a danger. Firstly, as my crowd safety mate, Mark from Safe Events in Ireland, said in a conversation the other day, “We’re living in hope something doesn’t go big time wrong and a court has to decide who is to blame. Nobody wants case law deciding the future of our industry.”

The second reason is that customer experience is essential to the longevity of events. Good knowledge of crowd dynamics can elevate that experience, ensuring smooth transition of events and of people through the various touchpoints that make up an event. Bad customer experience – whether safety related or not – is the death knell.

Don’t roll the dice: get the knowledge.

Keith Still, October 2018

Hi, Darren from FearFree here. A quote from Craig in the first entry got me thinking: "I thought that after 32 years' experience in law enforcement and corporate security I would have a good grasp of all things crowd safety… After just 30min of listening to Keith, I discovered just how wrong I was. Thankfully as I looked around the room at the other participants, they were squirming too!"

When it comes to professional development, how much of it makes us squirm? It is my belief that Craig – and the other participants – were squirming because they had been able to link what Keith was saying with their own practice: and on reflection, even with their years of experience, had come up short. They had been given some actionable advice as to how they could do what they thought they knew better.

The actionable advice is the key. Chris Argyris, the father of combining theory and practice, uses trust as an example in one article: to paraphrase him “there is much research on the relevance of trust in managing… however little attention is paid on how to create trust”. In other words, telling someone they need to develop trust is advice, but unless you can tell them how to create trust in the first place, and then how to create it in different settings - beyond those in which it was first created, the advice is not actionable.

I think this is why Keith is so busy flying all over the world and delivering his class to rave reviews (feedback from his event in Ireland: his first time there can be seen HERE). The advice isn’t “keep your crowd safe”, but the more actionable “if you use these principles and apply them this way you will have a safer event”. I am looking forward to seeing Keith in action here in Auckland. To be frank, I can think of a few events where his advice would have been very handy.

Prof. Dr. Keith Still 3 day masterclass

Hi all. First, let us welcome you to our Keith Still Masterclass page. Keith came out to Auckland in May 2017, and we are looking into the possibility of bringing him back in October 2018. Craig Bidois, our Managing Director, caught Keith in Melbourne in 2016:

"I had the pleasure of listening to Keith last year at a conference in Melbourne. I thought that after 32 years' experience in law enforcement and corporate security I would have a good grasp of all things crowd safety: after all, I had attended mass gatherings and large scale concerts as a police supervisor, and had planned for protests and large scale refugee musters while working in the United Nations. After just 30min of listening to Keith, I discovered just how wrong I was. Thankfully as I looked around the room at the other participants, they were squirming too!"

Internationally speaking, Keith was involved in calculating Trump's inauguration crowd sizes and calculating how many people could actually fit into Broadway, New York City. As Keith says "Estimating crowd numbers, density and capacity is an essential requirement for crowd safety and risk analysis." This workshop is FearFree's attempt to help solve that problem for event, venue conference planners/management/people who are involved with stuff - in New Zealand. Some important things about the course to note:

  • The course is practical: you will work specifically on your event/venue/conference/whatever
  • This is the first time Keith has been to NZ, and we don't want it to be the last
  • The course is a qualification, an actual Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL) route for direct entry to the MSc Crowd Safety and Risk Analysis at Manchester Metropolitan University (note there are two kiwi universities that offer Emergency Management/Fire engineering type courses – Massey and Canterbury)

Check out Keith's website, and don't forget to put your name on the interest list HERE.


October 2018