Author(s): Philip Long and Elizabeth Owen (Sheffield Hallam University)
Organisation/Affiliation: Arts Council England, Yorkshire
Arts Council England, Yorkshire commissioned The Centre for Tourism and Cultural Change at Sheffield Hallam University, to undertake research into the growing arts festival sector in Yorkshire. This report provides an evidence base for assertions about the contributions that arts festivals make to the economic, social and cultural life of the Yorkshire region. It assesses the scale of arts festival activity, the development needs of the sector and how these needs might be addressed. In addition, analysis of selected arts festivals considers current audience characteristics. This report has been prepared in response to a commission from Arts Council England, Yorkshire. The research was required in the context of the Arts Council developing its policy and strategy with regards to arts festivals in the Yorkshire region. The report assesses the scale of arts festival activity in the Yorkshire region, the development needs of the sector as indicated through analysis of selected case study arts festivals, how these needs might be addressed and, current arts festival audience characteristics in the case study festivals. The report includes examples of arts festivals in Yorkshire that reflect a variety of organisational forms, along with recommendations for development programmes that may best meet the needs of this diverse sector. The research involved the selection and detailed analysis of eight case study arts festivals in the region. These festivals were selected on the basis of their contrasting locations, organisational arrangements and programmed art form focus. The policy contexts and frameworks at several levels that affect arts festivals in the Yorkshire region are also considered here. This report aims therefore to provide an evidence base for assertions about the contributions that arts festivals make to the economic, social and cultural life of the Yorkshire region. It is hoped that the research presented here will support the arts festival sector in moving forward as a major cultural attraction in Yorkshire both for local and tourist audiences and as a platform and showcase for new artistic work and as key vehicles for audience development.