Blog

The absence of events and a winter of disconnect

June, July and August 2020 will be long remembered as the summer that was starved of festivals. However, the winter months are perhaps those when the absence of organised gatherings is being felt most acutely. This season usually features a range of festivals which help people through the darkness and low temperatures of the northern […]

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Festspace at ATLAS 2020: Events and Cultural Tourism

Social responses to the global pandemic The closing session of ATLAS 2020, with a focus on Events and Cultural Tourism, was organized by the FESTSPACE project to discuss the reactions and/or social response to the pandemic in the framework of festivals and festivities. The session took place on the 22nd of October, 2020.  At this […]

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A glimpse of normality. Notes from the Covid-19 circus

Given the UK Government’s handling of the coronavirus crisis you might expect an article about the COVID-19 circus to be another piece hammering the test and trace system or the confusing messaging. But this is a piece about an actual circus installed on Blackheath to coincide with the October half term holiday. It is the […]

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La Mercè in times of pandemic

In the context of  major event cancellations, La Mercè, one of the biggest celebrations in Barcelona, was reinvented in order to celebrate an event long awaited for by the city’s residents. In order to adapt to health measures and deal with the pandemic, La Mercè 2020 courageously and innovatively implemented the necessary changes. This year, […]

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Fair space. Fairgrounds and the transformation of public space.

Many different types of events are staged in England’s public spaces, but few can match the history or the mystery of the fair. These events date back to the 13th century and although there have been notable shifts in their main purpose – e.g. from trading to pleasure in the 18th Century – this heady […]

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Festspace reflections on festivals, events and public space during COVID-19

Our FESTSPACE team has been contributing to discussions and debates about the future of festivals, events and public space during the COVID-19 global pandemic and as we emerge from its more urgent effects. In this post we pull together these contributions in their various multimedia forms. Festivals, events and COVID-19: Navigating a global pandemic Firstly, […]

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‘Stories from the Streets’: COVID-19 and (hyper) local collective responses

While formal, officially sanctioned social gatherings were banned during lockdown, more localised and creative responses to the restrictions associated with COVID-19 were evident, across the world. From the balcony concerts of Barcelona, to the socially distanced street parties celebrating VE Day in London and the neighbourhood DJ sets taking place in other cities, the everyday, […]

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Festivals and events in London’s parks

In 2019, The Royal Parks ran a competition for artists and photographers based on the question: ‘What does Hyde Park mean to you?’. Several of the winning entries depicted music festivals – which was apt as they were displayed on the fence surrounding the British Summer Time Festival. This prominent installation highlighted that London’s parks […]

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Commemorative events and the COVID-19 pandemic

Being able to use public space is something we routinely take for granted. However, in recent months governments have actively sought to control and restrict access to, and use of, public space. People have been required to limit their social interactions and to practice ‘social distancing’, to restrict their movements away from home, and to […]

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