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The Royal Welsh Show (RWS), which is the largest event of its kind in Europe, is used as a single case study to examine events as a catalyst in the context of networks and the knowledge economy. The long-established essence of agricultural shows is a coalescing of dispersed populations in a temporary cluster, expressed most recently as ‘rural buzz’. This paper takes a new, and emerging, perspective of value and specifically examines how the show, through its manifold platforms and fusing of resources, generates network value. The RWS operates in a 176-acre showground, with exhibitors, partners, and close to 250,000 attendees, therefore engagement platforms are many and varied, and often co-produced. Thus, the event is a canopy, both within and beyond of its 4 days each July, for incalculable planned and less planned interactions and linkages. The event has been labelled ‘the nations true cauldron’, reflecting its proven potential to engage people, and organisations alike, and consequently co-create network value. The extensive case study includes 43 interviews and 1,322 questionnaires, in addition to archival research. The analysis of the quantitative and qualitative data is used to develop a ‘Taxonomy of Platforms’, exposing the multi-layered, co-creative, and pervasive approach to the generation of network value. The findings reveal the importance of such knowledge sharing and creation. Also evident is the manifest and focal role of the RWS in merging the events value creation partners and enabling linkages which can endure and underlie the stimulation and perpetuation of networks. The study endorses the virtue of the network lens through which to examine and reveal event induced value, but also as a way of more introspectively interpreting how value is extracted by event actors.
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Keywords: Agricultural shows; Co-creation; Event design; Network value; Platforms

Affiliations: 1: Project Officer (Events/Civil Contingencies), Powys County Council, Powys County Hall, Spa Road East, Llandrindod Wells Powys, LD1 5LG, Wales 2: College of Business, Technology andEngineering, Sheffield Business School, Sheffield Hallam University, City Campus, Sheffield, S1 1WB, United Kingdom 3: College of Business,Technology and Engineering, Sheffield Business School, Sheffield Hallam University, City Campus, Sheffield, S1 1WB, United Kingdom

Appeared or available online: May 27, 2020

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