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Crowd Safety expert named as Visiting Professor

15 Feb 2017 4:45PM

The University of Suffolk is delighted to announce the appointment of Professor G. Keith Still, as Visiting Professor for Suffolk Business School.

Professor Still will share his expertise in Crowd Safety and Risk Analysis. He is currently Professor of Crowd Science at Manchester Metropolitan University. He has lectured at the UK Cabinet Office Emergency Planning College from 1999 - 2013 contributing to a wide range of crowd safety related courses.

Professor Still has consulted on some of the world’s largest, and most dangerous, events from the Royal Wedding to the annual pilgrimage to Mecca and most recently Donald Trump’s inauguration as the 45th President of the United States of America.  Over the last 28 years he has developed a range of tools and methods to assess visualise and communicate the dynamics of crowd risks.

His tools have been used for the analysis of crowds in complex and built spaces for over two decades. Although he has developed and used some of the most sophisticated crowd modelling and simulation tools, his work remains true to the core principles of his original research, to develop standards for crowd safety.

As well as developing an MSc course in Crowd Safety and Risk Analysis at Manchester Metropolitan University, he continues to teach short courses around the world.

Professor Still will be presenting his inaugural lecture ‘How big is that crowd? The importance of crowd safety and risk analysis in an era of change’ as part of the Open Lecture Series at University of Suffolk on Thursday 2 March at 5.30 pm.

In this lecture which forms part of the University’s Year of Celebration, he will share his wealth of experience and will demonstrate the principles and applications of crowd dynamics and crowd risk analysis. Having recently been at the centre of a global news story, providing expert analysis for the New York Times on the size of the crowds at Donald Trump’s inauguration, the lecture promises some fascinating insights.  The analysis had led to a huge debate between the office of the President, who claim the crowds were far larger than estimated, and the American media.

Professor Still said “We used seven live video feeds during the inauguration and a geometric analysis. We have developed a technique which can provide scientific estimates of crowd dynamics, which has important real-world applications in the preparation of large events for crowd safety.”

“On the basis that the crowd for President Obama’s inauguration was over one million people (physical counts vary for this), Trump’s was a third of the crowd size from the available, verified images. From a non-expert’s point of view, if you stand in front of a crowd it would change your perception and you would see a sea of people and possibly think the numbers are far greater. But the evidence is undeniable.”

Laura Locke Course Leader and Senior Lecturer, BA (Hons) Event and Tourism Management said “We are very proud that Professor Still has agreed to partner with the University and support the programmes offered, and we are so looking forward to his visit in March. We are keenly aware of the significance of the contribution he has made to research and application of crowd safety and risk management across the world. We look forward to welcoming attendees from a variety of organisations, public and private sector, as well as our students and staff at the University.”

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University of Suffolk Press Office
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