Festivals, including arts festivals, have a long history of acting as special slices of space and time to commemorate or celebrate cultural occasions (Getz, 2007, p. 11). Getz’ views events and festivals as ‘special places’ and ‘other spaces’ that exist in a ‘time out of time’. Despite the proliferation of arts festivals across the globe over the past few decades, there is a lack of articulated and documented approaches with regard to sets of general principles to guide the way in which arts festivals can be structured so as to best activate the special place of a ‘heterotopia’, which can be also be described as an ‘other’ place, similar to Getz’s notion. This dissertation proposes a framework for organising arts festivals that enhances the idea of festivals being special slices of space and time by using the EMBOK Design Domain. It provides a theoretical toolkit for future festival coordinators to be able to theoretically activate heterotopic principles of space and time. In particular, this dissertation considers the 2013-2015 Krêkvars-Kopanong Student Arts Festivals hosted by the Drama Department of University of Pretoria, South Africa.
To create this framework, the dissertation first considers the notion of the festival as heterotopia – supporting Getz’s idea that festivals are special places and spaces. The dissertation uses Michel Foucault's six principles of heterotopia to explore the relationship between festivals, space, and time. The dissertation extends Foucault’s theorisation of heterotopia by introducing the concept of ‘splace’. ‘Splace’ is an important concept in order to understand the complexity of, and conceptual interface between, space and place.
Secondly, the dissertation considers the Event Management Book of Knowledge (EMBOK), a formal methodology for event coordination that consists of varied spheres of management, known as domains, such as administration, marketing, operations, risk and design. This dissertation argues that the strategic use of the EMBOK Design Domain may activate heterotopic principles when used as part of the process of planning and organising the Krêkvars-Kopanong Student Arts Festival. The Design Domain largely relates to decisions around the creative content of an event. The two main components of this framework, heterotopia and EMBOK, could together form an approach for the Krêkvars-Kopanong Student Arts Festival organiser to enhance the special slice of time and space that the festival occupies – creating heterotopia. The findings of the research can be extrapolated to a broader context by applying the framework to the way design decisions are made in other festivals.