Since 2017, Edinburgh Napier University has enjoyed a research link with the university at Avignon, in France, and in June Professors’ Jane Ali-Knight and Paul Lynch spent a week visiting Avignon on a research trip.
Both cities share a long history of delivering festivals, with the Festival of Avignon also being a post war festival with a 70+ year history, like its Edinburgh counterpart.
The relationship between the two universities began when Alexandre Delorme, a festivals PhD researcher, and Dr. Damien Malinas, a member of the Culture and Communication Laboratory at the University of Avignon, both spent three months at Edinburgh Napier University.
“We wanted to create a ‘crossing point of views’ between two festivals,” explained Alexandre Delorme. “We aim to strengthen this research relationship by seeking to understand how the two festivals echo each other and we intend to lead a comparative study on the two festivals and their respective audiences.”
During their visit, Professors’ Jane Ali-Knight and Paul Lynch participated in a seminar examining the growth and development of Edinburgh as a Festival City and the role of ‘welcome’ within hospitality, with an audience of students, researchers and people working within the cultural sector within Avignon. They also spent time at the Maison Jean-Vilar (Festival of Avignon’s founding father); the Cour d’honneur, one of the key Festival venues; and with the research team to discuss future European collaborations and student/staff exchanges.