Valuing Participation: Artists and the Adelaide Fringe Festival

By Hilary Glow and Jo Caust.

Published by The Humanities Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Based on interviews and focus group discussions with participating artists in the 2009 Adelaide Fringe Festival, this paper is an interrogation of one aspect of the cultural value of the festival in terms of the benefits it delivers to one of its key constituent communities. The evaluation of special events has tended to focus on measuring the economic benefits that festivals can deliver to local economies. However, scant attention has been paid to the indirect impacts of arts events on communities and in particular to the impacts felt by the artists who participate. The Fringe festival plays a critical role as a facilitator of new work dedicated to creating opportunities for artists to practice their craft. Our research findings suggest that the stated goals of the Fringe – to provide a multi-artform and inclusive platform for the presentation of art works through the provision of resources and other services to artists – are largely being met, and that participating artists report a high degree of satisfaction with the work of the organisation. In terms of impact, the research finds that artists see themselves as the beneficiaries of a number of positive short-term outcomes resulting from their participation in the festival. We call for further longitudinal study to address the potential long-term career development impacts of festival participation for artists.

Keywords: Arts Festivals, Cultural Impact of Festivals, Fringe Festival Participation

International Journal of the Humanities, Volume 8, Issue 2, pp.413-424. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 661.129KB).

Dr. Hilary Glow

Senior Lecturer, School of Management and Marketing, Deakin University, Burwood, Victoria, Australia

Dr. Hilary Glow is Senior Lecturer and Director of the Arts Management Program at Deakin University. She is the author of two books: Power Plays: Australian Theatre and the Public Agenda (2007); and (with Katya Johanson) Your Genre is Black: Indigenous Performing Arts and Policy (2009). Her research focuses on the Australian performing arts sector, and the relationships between cultural policy, artists, organisations and audiences. Her scholarly publications appear in arts management, cultural policy and audience research journals.

Jo Caust

Associate Professor, School of Management, University of South Australia, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia

Associate Professor Jo Caust is the Director of the Arts and Cultural Management Program at the University of South Australia. She previously worked in the arts sector for over twenty years as an arts practitioner, arts manager and consultant. She is the managing editor of the Asia Pacific Journal of Arts and Cultural Management and is the author of Leadership and Creativity; understandings of this relationship in arts organisations (2009).

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