Exploring the potential of cultural events to facilitate intercultural understanding, global citizenship and peace: A longitudinal case study of Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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The project explores the potential for cultural events to facilitate intercultural understanding, global citizenship and peace. This potential was researched through the investigation of the processes and mechanisms of intercultural communication and exchange (ICE) at Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod (LIME). The study has brought intercultural communication literature together with event design theory to investigate a specific phenomenon of the event experience, ICE, within the cultural event setting. This is a new perspective which adds to the increasing body of knowledge relating to the political and social impacts of festivals and cultural events, in line with the new emerging paradigm of Critical Event Studies (CES). An ethnographic longitudinal case study took place over three years, using a constructionist multi-methods approach to investigate the phenomenon of ICE from a number of perspectives including the researcher’s personal perspective, event organisers, attendees, volunteers and competitors. The methodology placed emphasis on auto-ethnography and the use of photographic evidence as a tool to record and discuss observations. The results of the thesis show that cultural events do have the potential to contribute to greater intercultural understanding, global citizenship and peace through the international languages of music and dance, but also via other processes and mechanisms of ICE. These include external messages via the media, outreach work and modern technology and internal processes and mechanisms of verbal and non-verbal communications, such as signs and symbols, costume and dress, and written materials. In particular the results identified that certain areas of the event site and programme are more critical to the initiation of in-depth ICE than others, such as the provision of informal spaces. From an academic perspective, the overall conclusion is that intercultural communication literature should look to overtly include music and dance as effective forms of communication. Practically and paradoxically, cultural event managers should design their events mindfully in order to provide space, both temporal and physical, to support the development of organic interaction and opportunities for ICE to occur, thus enhancing the experience of both performers and spectators. They should also take full advantage of the opportunities offered by modern technology to provide information on various cultural aspects via apps, interactive displays and other forms of interpretation.
PhD Thesis - School of Management
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