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Festival as methodology: the African cultural youth arts festival

Wright, P.R.ORCID: 0000-0002-6433-3889, Vicars, M., Wakholi, P.M. and Austin, J. (2015) Festival as methodology: the African cultural youth arts festival. Qualitative Research Journal, 15 (2). pp. 213-227.

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The purpose this paper is to consider festivals as sites for inquiry and learning.


The research employed a pluralistic approach to the inquiry drawing on critical African-centred pedagogy, participatory action research, and performance as research inquiry. These arts-based research methods allowed insights to be gained in ways that were congruent to the arts and participants who enacted them. In total, 12 young people and six elders of diverse African heritage as well as two artists were participants in the research.


The research revealed that the festival as a research methodology was both dialogic and performative and a rich site for the exploration of identity negotiation. Through these arts-based approaches the aesthetic elements often missed by traditional social science methods were highlighted as key in exploring acculturation socialistaion experiences and deconstructing exclusionist discourses emanating from the dominant culture.

Research limitations/implications

The research affirmed the power of multi-modal approaches to research and the importance of evocative discourses in identity exploration and development.


This research is the first known attempt to theorise an arts-based festival as a research approach in reference to enculturation and cultural memory.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Education
Publisher: Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright: © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
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