New paper on festivals as integrative sites for sustainable urban development

- published by the International Journal of Heritage Studies

“As cities in the global South urbanise at rapid rates and cities in the North face their own challenges, it is timely to think and experiment with new ways of thinking and acting in the cultural heritage and urban development sphere” says Mistra Urban Futures’ Beth Perry, Laura Ager and Rike Sitas in an article recently published by the International Journal of Heritage Studies.

Perry et al. argue that whilst the importance of cultural heritage in sustainable urban development has been increasingly recognised in policy frameworks at multiple levels, there remains a lack of understanding about how global and international goals land in different places. This paper specifically addresses this question through a study of 18 festivals across the Global North and South. They contest that festivals are integrative sites in which tangible and intangible heritage properties are entangled: bi-directional, co-dependent and non-linear. Given the critical role in linking urban contexts and histories with immaterial experience and meaning in the city, they argue that festivals can illuminate wider concerns. Specifically, this means seeing festivals as part of the ‘new heritage paradigm’ and assessing their contribution to processes of just urban transformations.

Beth is a Professorial Fellow at the Urban Institute. She is the Director of the Sheffield Manchester Local Interaction Platform and sits on the Mistra Urban Futures International Board. Her research focuses on urban governance, transformation and the roles of universities, with an emphasis on socio-environmental and socio-cultural transitions.
The article cites Mistra Urban Futures as a funder. Read full article.

Photo: Maxime Bhm,