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Festivals Research and COVID-19

In 2020, after 50 years of Glastonbury, festival fields will be silent.

Who could have foreseen that festivals would take a hiatus after half of century, just as they were getting ready to celebrate their becoming permanent fixtures of the cultural landscape? We will be reflecting on the impact of COVID-19 on festivals, protestivals, activism and spirituality in an online conference hosted by The Open University this September.


Tuesday, 15 September, 2020 - 09:00 to 17:00.

Festivals Research and Covid 19: Virtual Community, Activism, Spirituality

Keynote Speaker: Dr Leonore van den Ende (Vrije University Amsterdam)

  • We invite the presentation and analysis of past fieldwork on festivals as well as reflections of some of the challenges and changes introduced over the past year: What can COVID-19 teach us about modern festivals?
  • What has social distance reminded us about social closeness?
  • What is happening with festival and protestival communities in 2020?
  • Are festivals and protestivals coming to your computer screens this year?
  • What (global) forms are virtual communities, activism and spirituality taking and how can these help us in our cultural mapping of contemporary trends relating to religion, politics and the environment?
  • Finally, how are we, scholars interested in festivals, protestivals, activism, community and spirituality, re-inventing our research?

We invite submissions - short bio, title and brief abstract (50 words) – for blogs, vlogs and online papers for a fully virtual interdisciplinary conference on the intersections between Festivals and Protestivals, and the Covid 19 crisis - with particular focus on the re-inventions of community, activism, spirituality in 2020.

This conference will be hosted by the Religious Studies Department at the Open University. After the conference, and subject to your consent, contributions will be published on an Open University research website. Please send details of your proposed contribution for a 800 word blog, a 10 minute vlog or a 15 minute virtual paper to by 31 July 2020.

Technical help

All recorded material will be due to be uploaded on the 8th of September 2020, a week before the conference. For a vlog a simple webcam or screen recording of a 10 minutes talk would be fine. Guidance will be available for participants who wish to produce a more sophisticated video presentation that merges the webcam video of the speaker with a screen recording of the PowerPoint or Prezi presentation, clips, live shots of a website, etc.

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