Art Festivals and the European Public Culture
The EU funded EURO-FESTIVAL project dealt with artistic festivals and the latter’s relation to the European public sphere, hence citizenship, politics and identity. The project was based on a set of thirteen case studies. The case studies concerned well-known European festivals in the genres of film, literature and music and included three mixed-arts urban festivals. The idea behind the project was related to the ideas developed in the EURO-PUB project: strengthening Europe by increasing the European identity.
Festivals represent specific cultural institutions linked to the idea of celebration. Their proliferation today is fuelled by spatial economic considerations (mainly at the urban level) as much as the increased competition within the cultural field. Against the above background, the project’s case studies were implemented as sociological inquiries into the institutional and social processes underpinning festival organization, reception and representation. In parallel we paid attention to the role of festivals for creating and transmitting particular aesthetics, politics and ideas through their ‘texts’ and actors.
The Euro-Festival project has developed and implemented a comparative methodological approach for the study of arts festivals combining elements from the sociology of culture and cultural sociology. The former emphasizes organizational aspects related to the ‘production’ or ‘input’ side of culture; the latter concentrates on the ‘outputs’ or symbolic strategies of representation and performance.