Emerging trends in contemporary festival practice

Seffrin, Georgia Karolina (2006) Emerging trends in contemporary festival practice. PhD thesis, Queensland University of Technology.


The Festival is a form that transcends cultures, histories and regimes. It is a construct that has been utilised in a variety of ways, for a variety of purposes, but its raison d'etre is always community, sometimes as celebrated from a popularist level, at other points manipulated by the wielders of power. In its modern context, the festival has similarly been deployed as either a means of celebrating a sense of local community, or embraced by governments as a symbol of sophisticated cosmopolitanism.

This research aims to contextualise a particular kind of festival practice within both an historical and contemporary context. This is structured through three key areas: at the heart of the thesis is a study of a particular kind of contemporary festival model, the boutique festival, as produced by the Programming Unit of the Queensland Performing Arts Centre. This festival construct is significant in its positioning of the audience as both producer and consumer in a playful and intelligent manner. This kind of model is different from the more conventional high arts or community arts festival models. Secondly, the research explores how current renderings of the festival can be contextualised within historical functions, so as to highlight points of connection and departure. Thirdly, the study positions the boutique festival as but one example of a range of current local festival practices that highlight the manner in which the festival construct engages with contemporary life. This portion of the study places these local renderings within Creative Industries discourse, focussing on the notion of the Creative City.

The thread that ties the areas of focus together is the role of the audience in the festival. The trope of community remains central to contemporary festival practice, but it is a term that is becoming increasingly problematic and opaque, especially within an urban context. Through a variety of constructs, contemporary festivals encourage a cultural discussion about what community means in a current context, and in so doing, invite explorations of space, identity and authenticity as well.

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ID Code: 16440
Item Type: QUT Thesis (PhD)
Supervisor: Wissler, Rodney, Martin, Jacqueline, & Kotzas, John
Keywords: Creative city, creative industries, cultural studies, festival, Queensland Performing Arts, Out of the Box Festival, Stage X Festival, youth culture
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Creative Industries Faculty
Past > Schools > Journalism, Media & Communication
Department: Faculty of Creative Industries
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Copyright Owner: Copyright Georgia Karolina Seffrin
Deposited On: 03 Dec 2008 04:03
Last Modified: 22 Feb 2013 04:48

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