Arts festivals: Configuring creative fields through temporal strategies

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Arts festivals use projects to showcase creative works, configuring a creative field, whether locally, regionally or internationally, by whom engages and attends to the arts festival: artists, funders, media and audiences. This study compares the Edinburgh and Berlin arts festivals founded after World War II. Each city began with a founding festival. Edinburgh International Festival of Music and Drama sought to reconcile and heal international relations whereas the Berlin International Film Festival sought to showcase free expression and democracy. Both founding festivals were internationally oriented, as seen in their names. Each city added festivals over time and engaged in distinct temporal strategies and configured different creative fields. Edinburgh’s additional festivals entrained to its founding festival, synchronizing in time and place five festivals which led to greater duration and intensity of the experience and configured an international creative field: artists, media, and audiences who attended and engaged with the city festivals. In contrast, Berlin’s founding Film festival, which was internationally oriented, was followed by festivals that were treated as distinct, scheduling each festival sequentially across a yearly calendar and configuring a creative field regionally oriented around Germanic language and culture. Thus, a city’s temporal strategies for arts festivals may configure international, regional and local creative fields, changing who comprises the field to interact.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)65-88
JournalResearch in the Sociology of Organizations
Publication statusPublished - 17 Sep 2021


  • arts festivals
  • field configuration
  • creativity
  • temporality
  • temporal strategies
  • institutional field
  • Edinburgh
  • Berlin


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