A Critical Evaluation of the Social Capital Benefits from Community Festivals Taking Place at the 2013 City of Culture, Londonderry.
(2015) A Critical Evaluation of the Social Capital Benefits from Community Festivals Taking Place at the 2013 City of Culture, Londonderry., no. 71.
The aim of this research project is to conduct a critical evaluation of the social capital benefits of community festivals taking place at the 2013 City of Culture, Londonderry. It is recognised that extensive research has been carried out on community festivals and events. There is, however, an apparent paucity of research on the views and opinions of local audiences regarding community festivals and their engagement with them, therefore there is a gap in existing literature. An extensive literature review was carried out in order to explore the theoretical framework on which this research project is based. Key themes emerged through exploring the main concepts of the subject. These included the positive and negative outcomes of community festivals, the growing importance of social capital and understanding visitor motivations to achieve engagement. It was decided that a qualitative approach would be most appropriate for this research project as this provided the researcher with greater in-depth knowledge and information. Six semi structured interviews were conducted with various individuals from Londonderry. Each interview was conducted and transcribed verbatim. Thematic analysis was used to interpret the findings from the transcriptions and email responses. The whole process was ongoing and iterative. The results show that exploring the increasing demand of local audiences is crucial in order to increase engagement with community festivals and events. It is clear to see that the City of Culture provided a platform for community engagement and allowed for the development of social capital benefits within Londonderry. Better strategies are needed to fulfil legacy plans of the event as many of the respondents failed to recognise what these were.