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FESTIVAL TO FESTIVAL: NETWORKED RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN FRINGE FESTIVALS

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This article aims to demonstrate the importance and value of collaboration between members of a formalised network of Fringe festivals. The research was informed by Castells (the network society; space of flows and space of places) and Richards (network-centric eventfulness; pulsar and iterative events), as well as publications that critique their work. The paper combines theoretical and conceptual frameworks with primary evidence, thus responding to prominent criticisms of the foundation texts. Primary research was focused around an innovative case study, utilising two-mode social network analysis (SNA), documentary evidence and interview data. The history and characteristics of the Fringe network in question were found to be influential in the nature and characteristics of its member festivals. A policy of collaboration is in the network’s DNA, and was therefore inherited by those festivals established under its supervision (the majority of those in the network). This collaboration has taken the form of shared projects, integrated administrative and management functions, and coordinated touring opportunities between the festivals. The paper finds that the network itself is now in a pre-eminent position in terms of its influence on the member festivals. This has positive implications for the network’s overall efficiency and effectiveness. Further research may reveal additional benefits and disadvantages for the member festivals, and their various stakeholders. Replicating the research with other Fringe networks would also be revealing, as each such network has a number of unique characteristics. This is primarily an explorative paper of value to critical event studies researchers, it complements existing applications of SNA techniques and approaches to events, and contains additional references to festival communities and places. The paper also has practical value for Fringe festival producers in terms of strategic management and inter-Fringe collaborations.
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Keywords: Castells; Eventfulness; Fringe festival; Network society; Networks

Affiliations: The Business School, Edinburgh Napier University, Craiglockhart Campus, 219 Colinton Road, Edinburgh, EH14 1DJ, U.K.

Appeared or available online: May 27, 2020

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