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

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, the FESTSPACE team participated in a virtual conference hosted by the Centre for Culture, Sport and Events (CCSE) at University of the West of Scotland in April 2020. First, Dr Bernadette Quinn from Technological University Dublin talked about the effect of COVID on the sector in Ireland.

Dr Bernadette Quinn

Dr Alba Colombo then explored the creative responses to COVID-19 in Barcelona, Spain.

Dr Alba Colombo

Finally, Dr Andrew Smith, University of Westminster, proposed a four ‘i’ typology for thinking about the types of creative responses witnessed in the UK during COVID-19 and future impacts.

Dr Andrew Smith

Blog commentaries

The team has also produced a series of blog posts, commenting on the implications of COVID-19 for the future of festivals and events and their relationship with public space at a time when social distanciation is required across most of Europe and the world. Firstly, Dr Andrew Smith commented on the future of ‘Parks in a pandemic: A glimpse into the future’ where he and his co-author Anna Barker consider what parks may look like as we move out of the immediate health crisis.

Second, our Festspace team has produced a number of blog posts offering insights into the effect of the pandemic on festivals, events, culture, creativity and public space. Our first post, “Festivals, events and the COVID-19 pandemic” provided a more immediate response to the lockdown of cities and the cancellation of mass gathering taking place in outdoor public spaces. Our second post, led by Dr Alba Colombo, focused on the emergence of “Innovative event spaces in times of COVID-19: Spring on the balconies, collective representation and technology‘ where we gave consideration to examples of new spaces (and new events) for collective social encounters across our focus European cities, from Glasgow to Gothenburg. Finally, Dr Bernadette Quinn penned a post “Commemorative events and the COVID-19 pandemic” drawing on examples from Dublin, Ireland.

Professor David McGillivray published a post for the Glasgow District Regeneration Frameworks website on the relationship between festivals and events and the future of urban life.

Finally, Dr Andrew Smith and Dr Goran Vodicka published a post for Go Parks London, focused on Festivals and events in London’s parks.


Professor David McGillivray, Project Lead, from University of the West of Scotland, produced a short film reflecting on the implications of COVID-19 for the FESTSPACE project and for festivals, events and public space more generally.

Dr Bernadette Quinn and colleague Dr Theresa Ryan of Technological University Dublin, produced a film focusing on the impact of COVID-19 on the context of Commemorative Events with a focus on Ireland.

Media coverage

Our partners have also been sharing their insights on the impact of COVID-19 on festivals, events and public space across its European network. Dr Alba Colombo has been interviewed for media outlets on the idea of balconies and terraces as new cultural settings and the importance of traditional festivals in postcovid times (in Spanish).

Categories: Uncategorised

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.