Capturing societal impact: the case of state-funded festivals in Finland

Festivals have become prominent in cultural life. Aiming to deepen the understanding of the impacts of arts and cultural festivals and their delivery on public cultural policies, this study examines festivals that were partly funded by the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture (MinEdC) in 2018. The key questions were: How do the festivals themselves see their social, cultural and economic impacts/outcomes? How do the self-evaluated impacts/outcomes relate to the targets of (Finnish) cultural policy?

We argue that exploring the societal impact resulting from the social, cultural and economic long-term impacts of festival productions with a multidisciplinary approach is a valuable method for generating comprehensive understanding on the overall value of arts festivals. We have devised a framework for exploring festival production networks that assists us to perceive how the social, cultural, economic and long-term societal impacts might be evaluated in the festival context. Undeniably, further multidisciplinary research is needed.


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