Festival Cities

About this event

John R. Gold and Margaret M. Gold discuss their new book Festival Cities: Culture, Planning, and Urban Life as part of the 'Performance, Monuments and Public Spaces' series alongside invited guests: Ann Rudkin, Greg Richards, Ian Wray and Dr Andrew Smith.

Festival Cities grew out of our interest in the relationship between festivals and their host cities. We had previously considered the rationale for hosting one-off mega-events such as World Expos, the Olympics and European Capitals of Culture, but this book looks at the annual, biennial and other regular festivals that contribute to a city’s events calendar.

Festivals have always been part of city life, but their relationship with their host cities has continually changed. With the rise of industrialisation, they were largely considered peripheral to the course of urban affairs. Now they have become central to new ways of thinking about the challenges of economic and social change, as well as repositioning cities within competitive global networks. Festival Cities aims to provide a reflective and evidence-based historical survey of the processes and actors involved, charting the ways that regular festivals have now become embedded in urban life and city planning. After considering the historical context, there are four case study chapters charting the origins and evolution of the ‘pioneering’ festivals in Venice, Salzburg, Cannes and Edinburgh. This is followed by a chapter analysing the proliferation of festivals – particularly in the last forty years taking theatre festivals, literary festivals and biennials as examples. A further chapter analyses the way in which festivals can assert identity as in the case of carnival, St Patrick’s Day Parades and Pride Parades. The conclusion reflects on current trends and challenges for festivals (including Covid-19). This book is essential reading for those interested in a fuller understanding of the relationship between culture, planning and the city.

John R. Gold is Professor of Urban Historical Geography in the Department of Social Sciences at Oxford Brookes University, Special Appointed Professor in the Graduate School of Governance Studies at Meiji University (Tokyo, Japan) and Editor (with Margaret Gold) of the journal ‘Planning Perspectives’. A frequent radio and television broadcaster, he is the author or editor of 24 books on architectural and cultural subjects. These include: The Experience of Modernism: modern architects and the future city, 1928-53 (E and F.N. Spon/Routledge, 1997); Cities of Culture: staging international festivals and the urban agenda, 1851-2000 (Ashgate, 2005), The Practice of Modernism: modern architects and urban transformation, 1954-72 (Routledge, 2007), Olympic Cities: city agendas, planning, and the world’s games, 1896-2016 (Routledge, three editions: 2007, 2011, 2016).

Margaret M. Gold is Senior Lecturer in Marketing and Creative Enterprise at London Metropolitan University and lectures at Goldsmiths, University of London. She is Editor (with John Gold) of the journal Planning Perspectives. Her previous books include Imagining Scotland (Scolar Press, 1995), Cities of Culture: Staging International Festivals and the Urban Agenda, 1851-2000 (Ashgate, 2005), Olympic Cities: City Agendas, Planning, and the World’s Games (Routledge, three editions: 2007, 2011, 2016), and a four-volume edited collection on The Making of Olympic Cities (Routledge, 2012).

Ann Rudkin, publisher at the Alexandrine Press, is editor of the Planning History and Environment series which includes Festival Cities. The Alexandrine Press also publishes Built Environment.

Greg Richards is Professor of Placemaking and Events at Breda University of Applied Sciences and Professor of Leisure Studies at the University of Tilburg in The Netherlands. He has worked on projects for numerous national governments, national tourism organisations and municipalities, and has written extensively on cultural tourism, creative tourism and events. His current research interests centre on the links between places, events, culture and creativity. His publications include Eventful cities cultural management and urban revitalisation (with Robert Palmer 2010); Small Cities with Big Dreams (2018, with Lian Duif) and A Research Agenda for Creative Tourism (2019, with Nancy Duxbury).

Ian Wray is Visiting Professor in Civic Design and Fellow in the Heseltine Institute for Public Policy and Practice, University of Liverpool. He is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences and Vice Chair of World Heritage UK. He was Chief Planner, Northwest Development Agency, 2000–2010. He has written for the Architects’ Journal and Management Today and is the author of Great British Plans: Who Made Them and How They Worked (2015) and No little plans: how government built America’s wealth and infrastructure (2019) – both in the Planning History and Environment series.

Dr Andrew Smith is Reader in Tourism and Events at the University of Westminster where he is also PhD Co-ordinator for the School of Architecture and Cities. His research focuses on events as tools for the regeneration and revitalisation of cities and on urban tourism, especially the role of iconic projects and monumental urbanism in tourism. He is author of Events and Urban Regeneration (2012), Events in the City: Using Public Spaces as Event Venues (2016) and co-editor of Destination London: The Expansion of the Visitor Economy (2019).

Graeme Evans is Professor of Creative and Cultural Economy based at London College of Fashion, a university-wide post which is geared towards the move of the College to Stratford in 2022 and the development of research opportunities and collaborations arising from this relocation to East Bank. He currently leads a major 5-year AHRC-funded project: The Business of Fashion Textiles & Technology under the Industrial Strategy Creative Clusters programme. Graeme has written extensively on mega-events, the creative economy, and event legacy. Most recently he has edited a book entitled Mega-Events: Placemaking, Regeneration and City-Regional Development (2019).

Medieval painting of an urban scene in Venice


Date/time Thursday 4 February 2021, from 5:30pm to 7pm GMT
Book ticket Festival Cities
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Festival Cities

Hosted by the Centre for Creative Arts, Cultures and Engagement (CREATURE), John R. Gold and Margaret M. Gold discuss their new book 'Festival Cities: Culture, Planning, and Urban Life.' as part of In-Public's 'Performance, Monuments and Public Spaces' series.

The School of Art, Architecture and Design Sessions