Through "The Forest of Things, Acts, and Signs": A Study of Edmonton's The Works Art and Design Festival and Nuit Blanche

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dc.contributor.advisor Robertson, Carmen
dc.contributor.advisor Ramsay, Christine Miliokas, Lydia Caroline 2017-12-06T20:40:55Z 2017-12-06T20:40:55Z 2017-05
dc.description A Thesis Submitted to the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies, University of Regina. v, 115 p. en_US
dc.description.abstract This thesis explores large-scale public arts festivals that function under a narrative of greater inclusivity and accessibility for audiences. More specifically, it examines the ways in which these emergent curatorial strategies reconfigure the role of the spectator, while maintaining an emphasis on such cultural practices within the prairie region of Canada. Since 2003, numerous festivals have begun popping up across the country, from Halifax to Whitehorse, yet there is relatively little academic scholarship on the presence of these events in a Canadian context. By taking Edmonton, Alberta, as its case study, this analysis will investigate how the dissemination of interdisciplinary arts practices across nonconventional exhibition sites complicates our understanding of spectators. This thesis examines two public arts festivals that took place in Edmonton in 2015. Known for branding itself “Canada’s Festival City,” this year marked both its 30th annual Works Art and Design Festival (June 19–July 1, 2015) and its inaugural Nuit Blanche (September 26–27, 2015). While The Works Art and Design Festival and Nuit Blanche vary greatly in structure, with the former happening over several days and the latter for only one night, both events showcase a range of curated projects by artists of local, regional, national and international reputation in order to temporarily “transform” Edmonton’s downtown core. Most importantly, The Works Art and Design Festival and Nuit Blanche claim to re-imagine ordinary public spaces as free sites of exchange, where citizens become cultural producers, rather than complacent spectators. The theoretical framework of this thesis is influenced by Jacques Rancière’s The Emancipated Spectator. For Rancière, “the collective power of spectators” is not derived from their role in a communal body, but their existence as subjects “plotting their own paths in the forest of things, acts, and signs that confront or surround them.”1 This thesis, therefore, underlines how spectators are addressed through the festivals’ promotional materials, exhibition programming, and media coverage in the context of scholars and curators whose work focuses on issues of audience, place, and spectacle. en_US
dc.language.iso en en_US
dc.publisher Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research, University of Regina en_US
dc.title Through "The Forest of Things, Acts, and Signs": A Study of Edmonton's The Works Art and Design Festival and Nuit Blanche en_US
dc.type Thesis en
dc.description.authorstatus Student en
dc.description.peerreview yes en Master of Arts (MA) en_US Master's en Interdisciplinary Studies en_US University of Regina en Faculty of Fine Arts en_US
dc.contributor.committeemember Smith, Megan
dc.contributor.committeemember Petty, Sheila
dc.identifier.tcnumber TC-SRU-7881

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