Dr. Pauwke Berkers Receives Grant for Project on Diversity and Music Festivals

Portrait Pauwke Berkers

The project ‘European Music Festivals, Public Spaces and Cultural Diversity’ led by Prof. dr. Ian Woodward from University of Southern Denmark recently received the grant ‘JRP Public Places: Culture and Integration in Europe’ financed by Humanities in the European Research Area.

Members of the project include dr. Pauwke Berkers from our own faculty, as well as other researchers: dr. Jo Haynes (University of Bristol), dr. Aileen Dillane (University of Limerick) and dr. Karolina Gomelo (Jagiellonian University).

About the project:

This project is a comparative study of music festivals as potential public spaces affording encounters with diversities. Festivals are now a staple of many people’s cultural diets across Europe. Festivalisation denotes that festivals can no longer be regarded as merely periodic events, but, rather, as an increasingly popular means through which citizens consume and experience culture. Yet, whereas music festivals have the potential to connect people and foster tolerance, they may also reproduce inequalities and social exclusion.

Working collaboratively with local and EU partners, our main challenge is to understand the coordination, representation and negotiation of cultural diversities in the context of music festivals. The project takes a qualitative, comparative approach to investigate across multiple research sites the meaning of the festival for organisers, festival workers, performers, and audiences  and the community more broadly, the localised understandings, experiences, and patterns of engagement, and the material, spatio-temporal and symbolic organisation of festival sites and their role in constructing the meaning and experience of the festival. Methods of data collection, include participant observation, surveys, research interviews, and visual-sonic methodologies.

A strong array of knowledge exchange events and partnerships with key partners in each national environment ensures effective knowledge utilisation beyond academic outputs. Anticipated outcomes of the project include its contribution to local, national and European understandings of the representation of cultural differences, and the development of innovative strategies and approaches festival organisers can use to promote cultural diversity and social inclusion in the festival context.