The residents’ gaze: Queensland community festivals as place-making practice

Lawrence, Catherine Anne (2013). The residents’ gaze: Queensland community festivals as place-making practice PhD Thesis, School of English, Media Studies and Art History, The University of Queensland.

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Author Lawrence, Catherine Anne
Thesis Title The residents’ gaze: Queensland community festivals as place-making practice
Formatted title
The Residents’ Gaze: Queensland Community Festivals as Place-making Practice
School, Centre or Institute School of English, Media Studies and Art History
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2013
Thesis type PhD Thesis
Supervisor Maureen Burns
Melissa Harper
Total pages 269
Total colour pages 11
Total black and white pages 258
Language eng
Subjects 2002 Cultural Studies
1604 Human Geography
Abstract/Summary Festivals require active community production and participation, despite their characterisation as a special time for celebration and relaxation. Using a combination of semi-structured interviews and autoethnographic observation, this thesis studies the community production of five Queensland community festivals. I study these festivals as what Foucault terms “absolutely chronic” events, instead of relying on the widespread framing of festivals as “time out of time.” I attend to the significant, but over-looked, role of volunteer organisers, demonstrating how festivals are used by residents to re-make, re-present, re-shape, and reinforce imaginings of their local area. Introducing the concept of the residents’ gaze—that is, the embodied perception, experience of, and attachment to, the place where volunteers live—I characterise such activity as place-making practice, connecting individual involvement in event production with the ways in which places are lived, perceived and conceived by residents. I link individual senses of place to such place-making practice, and consider events as heterotopias when authenticating residents’ imagining and ordering of their local community. In contrast with much previous research on festivals, the case-study events are drawn from a range of locations, providing examples of the public place-making practice of residents in urban, suburban, rural, remote, and coastal areas of Queensland. I demonstrate how such events are produced as a result of the year-round hard work of local volunteers—even when relatively new residents. In concentrating on the complete cycle of festival activity, from concept to clear up, I challenge the traditional festivals-everyday dualism when demonstrating the importance of events in the everyday of volunteer organisers and in festival localities. In understanding community festivals as the outputs of residents’ place-making practice I suggest that the residents’ gaze offers insights as to such how practices grow and take hold. There is a dearth of information on events that are volunteer-led; in privileging the work of volunteers as the primary source of knowledge, creativity, and power in the production and organisation of important community events, this study contributes to redressing that imbalance.
Keyword Australia
Community festivals
Imagined community
Place-making practice
Residents’ gaze

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Created: Fri, 20 Dec 2013, 15:45:02 EST by Mrs Catherine Lawrence on behalf of Scholarly Communication and Digitisation Service