Universities and festivals : cultural production in context

Ager, LC 2016, Universities and festivals : cultural production in context , PhD thesis, University of Salford.

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Abstract

This thesis critically examines universities as cultural producers within the creative ecologies of their cities, with a focus on the occasions when they produce cultural events for the public. It is a context-specific and empirical study that examines events at three individual universities in major UK cities. It takes as its starting point the range of third mission, or engagement activities through which universities form links with the local cultural sector and to the wider community and considers how the university, a relatively permanent institution that constitutes the major element of the UK higher education landscape, provides a set of conditions and a site for a temporally bounded cultural formation, a festival. Festivals have not been extensively researched in this particular context and the understanding gained about the processes, structures and human networks through which they are designed, developed and delivered constitutes an original contribution of the PhD. Festival programmes are different to other types of public cultural programmes that are offered to the public on a year-round basis. Although it presents itself as a single phenomenon, the festival is actually a kind of meta-text, or an assemblage of texts and discourses. Festivals offer a spatially and temporally bounded public platform or ‘pop-up third place’ where university activities are externalised and made available for public exhibition and consumption. These dimensions create a discursive formation around the production of such festivals which are investigated using qualitative methods. The thesis is interested in understanding the effects of contemporary and political discourses on higher education and on what is produced, with regard to how the effects are mediated through the distinctiveness of individual places. It takes a theoretically informed look at how changes within the wider political economy of higher education have affected the way in which UK universities are managed, how they report to Government and what they produce. It argues that although the production of festivals is advocated under the ‘public engagement with research’ agenda, the festivals studied reveal a changing political culture within Higher Education.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Schools: Schools > School of the Built Environment > Centre for Urban Processes, Resilient Infrastructures & Sustainable Environments (UPRISE)
Funders: Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)
Depositing User: LC Ager
Date Deposited: 15 Aug 2017 12:53
Last Modified: 15 Aug 2017 12:54
URI: http://usir.salford.ac.uk/id/eprint/41034

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