Carnival in Digitalscapes

Maica Gugolati & Hanna Klien-Thomas

Carnival in Digitalscapes: The Mediatisation of Public Cultural Events In and Beyond the Pandemic

Small Group Project 2021

This research proposal aims to provide a qualitative, in-depth investigation into current digitalisation of Caribbean Carnival culture. The focus is on how participants experience the rapid changes and the transfer of Carnival events to online sites due to the COVID19 pandemic. Festivals such as Notting Hill Carnival have been cancelled and substituted by a variety of events such as recorded performances or live Zoom parties, reinforcing existing trends towards digital practices. Drawing on interviews and ethnographic methods, the role of sensorial and embodied memories for online events will be documented. In a critical analysis, results will also provide insights into the collectively shared sensorial memories and connections of carnival participants that cannot be replaced in digital events. This bottom-up perspective is combined with exchanges with carnival professionals and organisers. A symposium organised by the researchers will provide a platform to further develop this exchange, including technicians involved in creating digital virtual and/or augmented reality experiences, in order to find culturally sensitive interactive solutions. Due to the limited scope of the project, it provides preliminary insights and recommendations in the context of these complex dynamics in the transformation of public culture, space and community. The project will be completed within 8 months and the dissemination includes a peer-reviewed journal article, a newspaper article and a symposium. We seek to highlight the limitations of translation between performative and sensorial memories of the festival and the digital possibilities as well as contribute to the development of inclusive forms of participation and digital accessibility of the carnival experience.

Contacting Fellows

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