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ATLAS SIG meeting - Event and Cultural Tourism
22 October 2020, ONLINE

Festival Cities and Cultural Tourism


Update June 2, 2020

After giving thorough consideration to the present and future Covid-19 situation, it has been decided that the meeting in Edinburgh will unfortunately not take place face to face. It is still uncertain whether it will safe enough or possible for everybody to travel to the meeting this October. However, the good news is that we will be organizing the meeting online! The online meeting will take place on Thursday October 22, 2020.



Welcome to Edinburgh for a two-day seminar on festivals, culture and tourism. Edinburgh is a capital city, an international city, and an eventful city. The strategic use of festivals has benefited Edinburgh for many years, but what are the costs and who pays? Where is the space for grassroots festivals, both in the calendar and in the city’s urban topography, and what is being done to make it available to residents and communities?
In the festival city, we’ll be asking what is a “festival” anyway? Has the word lost its meaning, or gained new ones? What role do host communities play? How are festival places experienced, marketed and remembered? Who are the guardians of festivals today, and what does the future hold? Festivals and cultural tourism of all kinds will be welcome for discussion.
The aim of this meeting is to review the current challenges that festival cities face: grassroots involvement, sustainability in all its forms, emerging trends in the festival landscape, and the forces at work in these turbulent times. The meeting will bring together leading international scholars in the festival and event studies field, as well as industry practitioners and policy makers in Edinburgh and beyond.



Meeting themes

Themes for the meeting will include:

  • Festival cities: the current state of play
  • Festival economies: who pays and who gains?
  • Festival tourism
  • Festivals as community: inclusion and exclusion
  • Festivals: place-making, place-breaking, place-less
  • Festival identity and meaning
  • Festivals as experiences
  • Festivals and governance
  • Festivals and social change
  • Festivals as heritage
  • Festivals as catalysts for urban development



Abstract submission

The meeting on Festival Cities and Cultural Tourism will be held at Edinburgh Napier University in Edinburgh, Scotland, on 22-23 October 2020. The Seminar is designed as a small-scale event for researchers to present and discuss their work with colleagues.
Presentation of conference style papers is subject to approval of an abstract and preparation of a draft version of the paper prior to the meeting (maximum 3,000 words). Selected papers will then be published in an edited volume.
For panel and workshop ideas please provide an abstract for the overview, an indication of the format, and a list of suggested members where appropriate. We welcome and encourage innovative suggestions for the presentation of your work, and the conference organisers reserve the right to encourage collaborative working!
Please submit the abstract of your proposed paper, panel discussion or workshop idea (maximum 300 words) by March 1st 2020 making use of the ABSTRACT SUBMISSION FORM

Dr Greg Richards, Professor of Placemaking and Events at Breda University of Applied Sciences  


Publication details

Because of the changed circumstances, we will also be using this online event as the first step in a longer-term process. The October meeting will be the first step towards a book publication on the theme of the meeting. To facilitate rapid and inclusive publication we will be willing to consider flexible formats for this. We hope to be able to work quickly on this so we can present (or even launch) the publication during a special track to be organized at the ATLAS annual conference in Prague, which has been postponed to September 7-10, 2021.


Scientific committee

  • Jane Ali Knight - Napier University Edinburgh, UK
  • David Jarman - Napier University Edinburgh, UK
  • Greg Richards - Breda University of Applied Sciences, Netherlands


Conference organisers

The meeting will be hosted by the Tourism & Languages subject group at Edinburgh Napier University (, with support from the Edinburgh Festivals. The organisation of the meeting will be supported by ATLAS, and the ATLAS Special Interest Groups in Events, and Cultural Tourism.


  • Contact
    Please contact: e-mail
  • Registration
    Submit this form to register for the conference.
  • Abstract submission form
    Submit this form to submit an abstract for the conference.


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