Curating post-traditional art festivals: The analysis and development of site responsive strategies

The aim of this research is to provide a new critical framework for analysing and developing contemporary, post-traditional art festival curatorial strategies, seeking to redraw them as questioning, critical entities within public culture. The research sits in a productive but under-developed area between contemporary art practice, curatorship, festival studies and theories of site, space and place. The objectives of the research are being addressed through a series of critical case studies of contemporary, post-traditional festivals and artistic practice in Europe, underpinning this area of the research is a series of questions centered on festivals and curation, including:

  • how have experimental arts festivals developed across Europe, particularly since 1989?
  • what are the differing roles of spectatorship and participation within the festival?
  • how do festivals engage their spatial context, particularly urban space?
  • how can the festival act as an intervention both within public culture and existing institutional structures?
  • how can festival curation in relation to space, place and site be theorised?
  • what is the role of the curator in mediating issues of space and place in relation to that of the artist?

The research is a partnership between AV Festival and Newcastle Universitys Fine Art Department, supported by the International Centre for Cultural and Heritage Studies. It is funded through an Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC) Collaborative Doctoral Award.