The Impact of Festivals is a 12-month project funded under the AHRC’s Connected Communities Programme, working with research partner organisation the EFG London Jazz Festival. The Principal Investigator is Professor George McKay, AHRC Leadership Fellow for the Connected Communities Programme, and Professor of Media Studies at the University of East Anglia. The Research Associate is Dr Emma Webster, co-founder and Director of Live Music Exchange.

The project research questions are:

a) Do festivals contribute to local competitiveness, and if so, how?

b) What contribution do festivals make to the local region in terms of a ‘cultural offer’?

c) What contribution do festivals make to regional economic growth?

d) What impact do festivals have on:
i. the formation of a temporary community (i.e. among festival goers)?
ii. the permanent community which lives at the festival location?

e) How has impact developed over the history of a festival?

f) Drawing on the findings to questions a)-e), what are the processes through which arts and humanities research (including practice-based work) has impacted on festivals?

The intended outputs will be 1) a report for AHRC on cultural value and impact of festival, the starting activity for which will be a literature review, and 2) a critical history of the London Jazz Festival, which we plan to publish as a short/medium length book as part of the festival’s 25th celebration in 2017. This will draw on archive materials, interviews, and jazz journalism.


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