The Great North Festival (GNF) is a partnership organisation which worked with three major festivals which took place in North East England during 2013; the Lindisfarne Gospels in Durham (July 2 to October 2013), the Festival of the North East (June 2013) and the British Science Festival (September 2013).
On 30 November, to mark the culmination of the Great North Festival, a debate took place entitled ‘Identity and Change’ at the Centre for Life, Newcastle. Joining the debate as one of the invited panel members, ICCHS PhD student Niki Black gave a presentation on aspects of her research relating to themes of identity and social connectivity within festivals. As Niki’s research focuses in particular on the smaller scale, community originated events, her presentation demonstrated an alternative perspective to those offered by her fellow panellists who represented the British Science Festival and the Lindisfarne Gospels. Discussion following the presentations focused on the impact of festive events in the North East region, both in economic and social terms. The potential for such events to provide identity and strength for an area was debated, particularly in the absence of a strategic funding organisation (following the demise of ONE North East). The day concluded with further discussion on the future of the GNF itself and how it might promote the strengths of the North East both within and beyond the region.
The Great North Festival Debate continues into next year, with an evening event on 12 March 2014 entitled ‘Future North East’. Venue tbc.