Festival cities: Culture capitals
The relationship between cultural festivals and their host cities is continually changing. Festivals wield the ability to reposition cities within competitive global networks with wide-reaching impacts on social, economic, and morphological dimensions of cities. In recent years, as festivals become more embedded in urban life, this relationship has grown to encompass perceptual and reputational impacts as well – regenerating cities into hubs of creativity, buzzing with cultural activity and invention. World-over, host cities have capitalised on the energy of festivals, placing culture closer to the centre of city development and economic planning.
In response to the persistence of the Covid-19 pandemic, festivals and their host cities are having to reinvent strategies to deal with the effects on finances, patterns of programming, and audience safety. Bold ideas have come to the fore to build resilience and guide the sector through the recovery process.
This panel discussion will chart the ways in which festivals are rooted within their cities and the joint responsibilities and possibilities to think about the future of shared public spaces, community celebrations, and cultural life in a post-Covid world. The session will explore the role of festivals in (1) addressing pressing priorities like well being and sustainability, (2) championing diversity, pluralism, inclusion and accessibility, and (3) being a mechanism to revitalise local arts and culture.
Divya Bhatia - Festival Director, Jodhpur RIFF
Sunniva Ramsay - Programme Manager: International & Creative Sector Connections, Festivals Edinburgh
Vidhya Mohankumar - Founder and Principal, Urban Design Collective
Shwetal Patel - Independent writer and researcher