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Having a Say? The Potential of Local Events As a Tool for Community Engagement

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This article uses a case study to consider community event practices that include local people in discussions about the regeneration of their neighborhood and capture their responses to change. It is set in an area adjacent to the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, the site of London 2012 Olympic Games, and tracks the Hackney Wick Curiosity Shop (hereafter called the Curiosity Shop), an initiative that used events to engage diverse groups and develop shared experiences. The article explores the nature of these events identifying their potential and limitations. It identifies characteristics (conviviality, playfulness, creativity, and accessibility) that appear to create a powerful tool to involve local people, helping to develop a sense of community and producing locally generated place images. In this case their potential is not fully realized because the Curiosity Shop is situated within the complex context and turbulence associated with a mega-event and a major regeneration project where the market-led processes of reimaging and regenerating the area are dominant. This frenzied regeneration context is unusual, and it is argued the conviviality, playfulness, creativity, and accessibility identified here should be investigated further in a setting that is less turbulent to evaluate their effectiveness in engaging communities in debate, discussion, and collective reimagination of their localities.
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Keywords: COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT; COMMUNITY EVENTS; REGENERATION

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: May 8, 2020

This article was made available online on November 7, 2019 as a Fast Track article with title: "HAVING A SAY? THE POTENTIAL OF LOCAL EVENTS AND AS A TOOL FOR COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT".

More about this publication?
  • Event Management, an International Journal, intends to meet the research and analytic needs of a rapidly growing profession focused on events. This field has developed in size and impact globally to become a major business with numerous dedicated facilities, and a large-scale generator of tourism. The field encompasses meetings, conventions, festivals, expositions, sport and other special events. Event management is also of considerable importance to government agencies and not-for-profit organizations in a pursuit of a variety of goals, including fund-raising, the fostering of causes, and community development.
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