Continuity in intermittent organisations : the organising practices of festival and community of a UK film festival
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This thesis considers the relationship between practices, communities and continuity in intermittent organisational arrangements. Cultural festivals are argued to offer one such particularly rich and nuanced research context; within this study their potential to transcend intermittent enactment emerged as a significant avenue of enquiry. The engagement of organisation studies with theories of practice has produced a rich practice-based corpus, diverse in both theoretical concerns and empirical approaches to the study of practice. Nevertheless, continuity presents an, as yet, under-theorised aspect of this field. Thus, the central questions of this thesis concern: the practices that underpin the enactment of festivals; the themes emerging from these practices for further consideration; and relationships between festivals and the wider context within which they are enacted. These issues were explored empirically through a qualitative study of the enactment of a community-centred film festival. Following from the adoption of a ‘practice-lens approach’, this study yielded forty-eight practices, through which to explore five themes emerging from analysis: Safeguarding, Legitimising, Gatekeeping, Connecting and Negotiating Boundaries. This study revealed an aspect of the wider field of practice that has not yet been fully examined by practice-based studies: the cementing or anchoring mechanisms that contribute to temporal continuity in intermittent, temporary or project-based organisations. The findings of this thesis suggest a processual model, which collectively reinforces an organisational memory that survives periods of latency and facilitates the re-emergence of practice, thus potentially enabling organisations to endure across intermittent enactment and, ultimately, transcend temporality and ephemerality. The themes examined and insights offered in this thesis seek to contribute to: practice-based studies and film-festival studies; forging a new path linking these two disciplines; and generating both theoretical and practical insights of interest to festival organisers and stakeholders of project-based, temporary or intermittent organisational arrangements.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
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