From “clone towns” to “slow towns”: examining festival legacies

Take a look at my latest journal article published in the Journal of Place Management and Development alongside other researchers from Anglia Ruskin University (UK) and Bond University (Australia).

Free access to 50 downloads of the full version is available here. You can view the journal article’s abstract below.

On a side note, I will be presenting some of the findings from this paper later on this month at the Third International Conference on Tourism & Leisure Studies in Lanzarote. If you’re interested in attending or following proceedings online, the conference keynote speakers and programme sessions are detailed here. You can find updates from the conference on Twitter using @tourism_leisure handle and #tls18 hashtag.

Abstract

Purpose – This paper aims to examine the role of grassroots (food) festivals for supporting the sustainability of micro and small producers, whilst exploring potential productive linkages between both stakeholders (festivals and producers) for enhancing a more authentic cultural offering and destination image in the visitor economy.
Design/methodology/approach – This paper is exploratory, qualitative and inductive. Evidence is underpinned by a purposive sample, drawing on ten in-depth interviews and 17 open-ended survey responses collected across 2014 and 2015 – drawing perspectives from traders participating in the EAT Cambridge festival.
Findings – This paper unpacks a series of serendipitous [as opposed to “strategic”] forms of festival and producer leveraging; strengthening B2C relationships and stimulating business to business networking and creative entrepreneurial collaborations. Positive emergent “embryonic” forms of event legacy are identified that support the longer-term sustainability of local producers and contribute towards an alternative idea of place and destination, more vibrant and authentic connectivity with localities and slower visitor experiences.
Originality/value – This study emphasises the importance of local bottom-up forms of “serendipitous leverage” for enhancing positive emergent “embryonic” legacies that advance “slow” tourism and local food agendas. In turn, this enhances the cultural offering and delivers longer-term sustainability for small local producers – particularly vital in the era of “Clone Town” threats and effects. The paper applies Chalip’s (2004)
event leverage model to the empirical setting of EAT Cambridge and conceptually advances the framework by integrating “digital” forms of leverage.

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Urban entrepreneurism and business competitiveness: the state of play for Rio de Janeiro post-Games

Last Tuesday, I presented at the 2nd International Workshop on Regeneration, Enterprise, Sport and Tourism (REST) at Liverpool John Moores University, UK.

If you’re interested in reading my conference abstract (on academia or ResearchGate) or would like to view my presentation (on SlideShare), you can find it in the links below:

academia

ResearchGate

SlideShare

Fostering small business socio-economic sustainability and legacies in the context of mega-events: A ‘Stakeholder Theory’ approach

On Thursday, I presented at the Mega Events: Fact or Fairy Tales Conference, Coventry University.

If you’re interested in reading my conference abstract (on academia or ResearchGate) or would like to view my presentation (on SlideShare), you can find it in the links below:

academia

ResearchGate

SlideShare

Advancing sport mega-event research – five critical themes

On Thursday, I presented at the Association for Events Management Education (AEME) 14th Annual Conference, Cardiff Metropolitan University.

If you’re interested in reading my conference abstract (on academia or ResearchGate) or would like to view my presentation (on SlideShare), you can find it in the links below:

academia

ResearchGate

SlideShare

Tracing the 21st Century Realities and Tragedies of the 1991 World Student Games

The impending demolition of the Don Valley Stadium is an unfortunate and untimely loss to the city of Sheffield. Remarkably the Don Valley Stadium has been operating at a significant loss (running costs spiralling to an estimated £700,000) and regrettably the city council, forced to make considerable spending cuts opted to vote in favour of the stadium closure. This multi-purpose, world class facility (principally the second largest athletics stadium in the UK) was originally built to stage the athletics events at the 1991 World Student Games in Sheffield. Ever since it has demonstrated its versatility by hosting live music events (U2, Red Hot Chili Peppers etc) and becoming the adopted home of the Sheffield Eagles (RFL).

The reputation of the 1991 World Student Games to this day remains tarnished by the financial misdemeanour’s of the organisers and the resulting incomprehensible debt repayments (Sheffield Council continue to repay £25m until 2024). As part of the bidding process other prominent venues were created for the World Student Games including Ponds Forge, the Motorpoint Arena (originally named the Sheffield Arena) and a smart renovation of The Lyceum Theatre. Moreover a reignited sporting culture emerged as well as ongoing investment in lottery funded initiatives such as the English Institute of Sport. As one state of the art facility slowly slips away its paves the pathway for the re-birth of another, inherently more diminutive or compact stadia. The council are undertaking plans to restore the Woodburn Road Stadium which has been unoccupied for around 18 months. This decision to close the stadium has been widely criticised by Olympic heptathlon champion Jessica Ennis who currently trains at Don Valley. On her official Twitter page, she remarked:

Don Valley Stadium

The Regeneration Games – Beyond London 2012

The year of the London Olympics has finally dawned upon us. London 2012 has been widely dubbed as being the “Regeneration Games” even before the Games have commenced. Like many other Games the London Organising Committee have recognised a series of development opportunities. These have come in the form of exploiting tourism agendas and regeneration plans which hope to transform the heart of East London. This begs the question of what are the long term objectives of the 2012 Olympic GamesJeremy Hunt (Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport) is adamant that the games will be utilised as a driver to inspire more people to play sport. In recent times, the government has moved into an entirely new direction with the creation of the School Games and a new Youth Sport Strategy, namely Creating a Sporting Habit for Life. This is certainly well intended but I denote that it may be the last chance saloon for the government, and it may prove unsuccessful in reaping the rewards of the Games. Enhancing the state and quality of sport in the UK was already a difficult enough task without them realigning vast amounts of money away from sport. These governments cuts may start to erode and displace the sports development system. I am rather dubious about these new strategies, partly because I believe that the government is using the School Games as a last resort. For many that are already involved in sport and those that could be involved, these funding cuts may prompt a funding gap resulting in participation levels dwindling in the long term. But at the same time after the “feel good factor” of the Olympics has passed you may start to see rapid increases in the rates of those dropping out of sport.

Within the long term plans of the Games the organisers need to establish what will happen to the facilities and infrastructure after the Games has run its course. What has been noticeable from a government perspective is that the press and media centre’s situated on the Olympic park have been said to have gathered significant amounts of commercial interests from the likes of Loughborough University. At this moment in time a major issue is the long term legacy of the Olympic stadium, after West Ham United’s ownership bid collapsed. This was partially the result of persistent legal action from the likes of Tottenham Hotspur and other clubs such as Leyton Orient. But out of this disastrous situation there have in fact been a number of positives. On the 11th November 2011 London won the right to host the 2017 World Athletics Championships. This change in events could actually work in favour for West Ham United unless Tottenham Hotspur drastically alters their plans. West Ham United reiterated that they would retain the running track in their original planning application, whereas Tottenham Hotspur on the other hand wanted to remove the running track. The organising committees for both the 2012 Olympic Games and the 2017 World Championships now have to rethink the future role of the Olympic stadium. I would like to see the Olympic stadium fully utilised and retaining the running track would act as a valuable asset for the 2017 organising committee, and to the hosting of the World Championships.

Ultimately, the initial legacy plans will be compared to the resulting benefits that may be gained from hosting the Olympics (if in fact there are any significant benefits!). I would just like to leave you with a few final thoughts which primarily concern whether hallmark events like the 2012 Olympic Games actually live up to the hype, and whether the organisers succeed in making their regeneration visions a reality. Undoubtedly, it can be said that on many occasions the Olympic Games fall short in reaching the projected image or vision for the Games. Moreover, the Olympic Games is unable to build long term community cohesion, integration and is incapable of meeting the needs of the wider community.