Paper discussed on ‘Geography directions’ blog

My paper on video methods and street performance (currently early online in Area) has been picked up at the ‘Geography directions’ blog, primarily in the context of the Edinburgh Fringe festival and their inclusion of street performers.

Their short comments do bring up interesting points about the unique environments that performing in the street presents and also in terms of the interactions between performers and audiences this sort of setting allows (a big focus on my PhD thesis), but I’m not so sure about their characterisation of the openness of the set up in Edinburgh:

“The Fringe prides itself on being an ‘open access’ arts festival, meaning that street performers in particular can put on a show as part of Fringe with no selection process and be part of a programme that is not curated.”

From a glance at the current set up, it is clear there are predefined performance spaces, delimited time slots, special accommodations to be sought for amplification, and even a ‘small fee’ required to play at certain times.

Equally, given Edinburgh’s recent history of being less than welcoming to some performers and trying to control what/how people play through controlling amplification etc. (something happening all over the place), or equally their somewhat bizarrely banning buskers from the Royal Mile a few years ago who you might think they’d be clamouring to bring in given the tourist-value of having bagpipers around, I’m not sure things will in reality be quite so open as is suggested here.

Nonetheless, it’s nice to see the paper being picked up and connected to this sort of thing/potentially raising these issues.

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About Paul Simpson

I am currently a lecturer in Human Geography in the School of Physical and Geographical Sciences at Keele University. I've previously lectured at Plymouth University, and again at Keele before that. I completed my PhD (titled 'Ecologies of Street Performance: Bodies, Affects, Politics') at the University of Bristol in 2009.
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