The dynamics of successful events – the experts' perspective

John Ensor, Martin Robertson, Jane Ali-Knight
  • Managing Leisure, July 2007, Taylor & Francis
  • DOI: 10.1080/13606710701406550

Identifying key factors festival leaders perceive as being creative, innovative festivals

What is it about?

Interviews with key leaders formed the basis of this exploratory research to elicit and identify the key factors that festival leaders perceive as the characteristics of creative and innovative festivals. The sample study was of composed of three key festival experts. This included two directors from two large festivals occurring at different times of the year in Edinburgh. Both directors have a well established leadership history in their respective festival. In addition one additional interviewee had responsibility for the strategic development of art events and festivals at a national level (2006) AEA Consulting. 2006. “Thundering Hooves: Maintaining the Global Competitive Edge of Edinburgh's Festivals”. Repertory Grids were employed to identify key constructs that festival leaders hold of the arena in which they work. Six key areas emerge from the constructs identified. These are leadership, focus, relationship with the community, decision making, funding, and history of the festival. Leadership had the highest rating and the sub categories identified within this were independence, freedom and culture. Focus of the event and relationship with the community were, respectively, the next most highly rated constructs.

Why is it important?

Not only is research of leadership of festivals and events extremely limited - with regards their number and their depth, so is consideration of the methods with which to undertake this research. The repertory grid technique is a valuable tool for evaluating perceptions of a particular target group. As Canning and Holmes (2006: 295) state, the application of this technique is particularly suited to groups ‘that may be under represented in other forms of data collection research’.

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The following have contributed to this page: Jane Ali-Knight, Mr Martin Robertson, and Dr Martin Robertson