Research Colloquium:Singing in the streets: Shaping the city with music festivals

Joan Ramon Rodriguez-Amat (Sheffield Hallam)

The relational space of interaction composed by the communication flows during urban cultural music festivals shows unevenly defined and steered communication geographies. The communicative spaces are the product of social practices such as communicative interactions -both on the ground and via social media-, and of urban planning -including security and safety measures, conditions for access and the distinction of spaces for VIPs, for artists and for public- all within the complexity of the city flows, neighbourhoods and diversity.
The example in this occasion is Sheffield’s Tramlines festival, and the configuration of communicative spaces during a commercial city music festival. This festival, planned, with entry fees and spread across the wide urban space, shows the intentional setting of the communication flows. The extensive cultural production draws areas that enhance all sorts of social relations of circulation and network capital that underline inequalities and power relations based on the conditions for defining the (absence of) freedom to move and to connect across and within the fenced, virtual and physical urban space.

This talk is part of a broader research programme build to explore the apparatus that steers and defines the features of these communicative spaces to help assessing the impact of such events for the city. To do so, we use a mix of methods that extend from social media analysis aligned with the tradition of digital methods, to geotracking, or geomapping and fieldwork based on interviews, and ethnographic records. With all the data we explore the geographies of the communication process as defined by the four categories of the four-mode model of analysis of the configurations of the communicative spaces and places: representations, textures, structures, and connections.

Joan Ramon Rodriguez-Amat (PhD) is Leader for the BA (Hons) Media Course at Sheffield Hallam University since June 2015. Before that he was Postdoc at the University of Vienna (Austria) as part of the team of Media Governance, Media Industries and Media Organisations. He is vice-chair of the Media Organisations section at the European Communication Research Education Association (ECREA) and member of several publishing committees. His teaching and research experience extend all over Europe with academic time spent in Spain, France, Germany and Austria, apart from the United Kingdom; and with more than 50 papers in international conferences (ICA, IAMCR and ECREA). He researches on Governance of communicative times and spaces.