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ATLAS Event Special Interest Group
Barcelona, Spain
12-13 May, 2016
Rethinking the Eventful City: Perspectives, Practices, Prospects




The ‘eventful city’ concept developed out of the basic observation that cities are using events to achieve a growing range of policy objectives, including economic growth, image change, social cohesion and physical redevelopment. The growing importance and scale of event activity in cities is driving a rapidly changing relationship between events and the city. Cities are no longer simply containers for events; they are co-creators, innovators, directors, managers, partners and beneficiaries of events. Events in turn are shaped by the cities they take place in, with their form, duration, content and effects being determined to a large extent by urban space, place and process.

Few cities illustrate this dialectic relationship between cities and events better than Barcelona. Starting with the World Expo in 1888 and continuing through the 1929 World Expo and the 1992 Olympic Games, Barcelona has harnessed the power of events to put itself on the global map, shape perceptions and drive economic, cultural and social development. With the Mobile World Congress recently secured for a further eight year term, Barcelona is rapidly establishing itself as a global events hub.

This development has not always been smooth or entirely progressive. The forging of an economic growth coalition in Post-Franco Barcelona helped to secure the Olympics, but the focus on external promotion and economic growth has also attracted increasing criticism from social partners and local citizens concerned with the globalization of the city and the loss of identity. One of the basic emerging questions is – do events serve the city, or does the city serve events?

When the original eventful cities concept was developed a few years ago, few cities had experience of managing, developing and directing their event programmes to produce effective outcomes. In recent years, however, different models have emerged that show how cities can develop a constructive relationship with their events, and how the events can benefit from this relationship as well.

The aim of this meeting is to review the development of ‘eventful cities’ such as Barcelona, to analyse the emerging trends in the eventful landscape and to trace potential future development directions. The meeting will bring together leading international scholars in the event studies field, as well as practitioners from the events industry and the policy field in Barcelona and beyond.




Themes for the meeting will include:

  • Events and place making
  • Cultural and sporting development through events
  • Social development generated by city events
  • Developing urban cultures through events
  • Events as urban regeneration tools
  • Events as catalysts for governance structures
  • Events organisations as placemakers
  • Events as new time structures for urban places
  • Events as political tools in the city
  • Events and urban creative industries



Call for abstracts

The meeting on Rethinking the Eventful City: Perspectives, Practices, Prospects will be held at Universitat Oberta de Catalunya in Barcelona, Spain, on May 12-13th 2016.

The Expert Meeting is designed as a small-scale event for researchers to present and discuss their work with colleagues. Participation in the meeting is subject to approval of an abstract and preparation of a draft version of the paper prior to the meeting (maximum 3000 words). Selected papers will then be published in an edited volume.
Please submit an abstract of your proposed submission (maximum 300 words) by December 15th 2015 to the meeting organisers:
Alba Colombo - Director of the Events Management Postgraduate Program -
Greg Richards - NHTV Breda University of Applied Sciences -



Conference venue

The meeting will be hosted by the Events Management Postgraduate Program at the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, in Barcelona, Spain.

The organisation of the meeting will be supported by ATLAS and the ATLAS Events Special Interest Group



Meeting fee

The projected fees for the meeting will be around € 200 for ATLAS members and € 275 for non-members.



Cancellation policy

If written cancellation is received on or before May 1st, 2016, a refund of all meeting fees will be made, minus an administration fee of € 50. No refund will be possible after May 1st 2016, but substitute delegates can be nominated.