Beth Perry and Rike Sitas have co-authored an article entitled Festivals can transform cities by making space for overlooked people and cultures for The Conversation Africa.

Cities all over the world are facing major crises – from failing services and mounting inequalities, to climate emergencies. And arts and culture have a surprisingly critical role in tackling these kind of urban challenges.

Festivals create exciting spaces to experience art, music, culture and film. At their best, they perform a transformative role in society, celebrating traditions and powerfully expressing the meanings that places hold for people. Festivals can disrupt established ways of thinking about heritage. Taking place in streets, pubs, railway arches, houses, boats and doorsteps, they can help residents explore different ways of belonging in cities, reengage with the past and imagine the future.

Our study of 18 festivals across Europe, Africa and the Caribbean found that they can also play a central role in creating more sustainable cities. Sustainability is not just about protecting the environment – it’s also about fostering connections between people and places. We found that festivals as far afield as South Africa, Kenya and the UK have the power to bring diverse groups of people together, often with a shared commitment to better lives and places.

Read the full article HERE.