Providing enriching, world class cultural experiences lies at the heart of all the Festivals. A positive Festival experience is also a prerequisite for many of the wider social and economic outcomes that may arise (in the sense that a good Festival experience may shape visitors’ views about the city itself in a positive way and make them more likely to return, garner more positive media attention, and so on). The research finds that audiences are very satisfied with their experience of the Edinburgh Festivals. Indeed, they rate the events as better than other comparable events and activities.
Audiences value the Festivals because they give them the opportunity to have an enjoyable social experience with friends and family, but also because they result in a number of specific cultural benefits. • Audiences value world class and international cultural experiences – and the Festivals provide these. • Through the Festivals, audiences are able to engage more deeply with the many art forms, including discovering new artists, new styles and new genres. • Audiences consider the Festivals to be unique and distinctive – standing out from comparable events. 2
The study also shows that the Festivals have an impact on cultural participation more widely, in particular on audiences’ year-round attendance. For instance, there is evidence that: • The Festivals are a stimulus to further attendance at similar cultural events subsequently. • Audiences are more likely to take their children to similar cultural events as a result of their Festival experience. • Audiences are more likely to take greater risks in their cultural choices and explore new cultural experiences as a result of their Festivalgoing. Cultural impact: develop the creative, cultural and events
industries in Edinburgh and Scotland Aside from events for the public, the Festivals also promote, develop and support the cultural, creative and events sector in Edinburgh, Scotland and beyond. Most obviously, the Festivals make an important economic contribution to the range of cultural venues that are involved in hosting the Festivals throughout the year. The Festivals also contribute to the professional development of performers and artists. Simply taking part in the Festivals increases artists’ reputations and provides them with inspiration for new work as well as the prospect of follow-on sales and new commissions.
The Festivals are also proactive in supporting performers and companies. This includes directly spending a significant proportion of their budget on artists based in Scotland, and by providing tailored delegate programmes that increase practitioners’ knowledge and skills, and widen and deepen their peer networks. The Festivals help to build capacity for the sector long-term. Volunteers and temporary staff who are working with the Festivals are more intensely engaged than in, for instance, the Scottish museums sector (in terms of the average number of hours contributed per volunteer).
This wealth of experience constitutes a resource for the sector when looking ahead towards other large scale events such as the Glasgow Commonwealth Games in 2014. Learning impact Audiences’ increased enjoyment of the event – and of the cultural form or subject – translates into learning benefits for a large part of the audience. This learning includes a better understanding of the cultural form itself, and of wider environmental or social issues covered through the Festival activities.
Some of the Festivals also provide activities for the formal education sector. Teachers perceive these as a value-added enrichment to the curriculum, rather than a major contributor to core subject learning. Edinburgh Festivals Impact Study www. bop. co. uk In line with this, the Festivals have very positive effects on children’s personal development, in particular their imagination and creativity. The Festivals do not have any major influence on pupils’ attitudes to school learning and peer relationships.
This is perhaps not surprising, considering that most Festivals’ activities for the formal education sector during the Festival time only offer a very short engagement period. This is also true for audience engagement at Festival events more generally. However, many Festivals do offer education activities outside the Festival time and these offer greater scope for deeper engagement. The brevity of the interaction is likely to be a key reason why the Festivals’ impacts on increasing knowledge and learning, albeit positive, are perhaps not as high as expected (compared to other cultural sector research).
Another explanatory factor may be that the Festivals’ audiences are already sophisticated and knowledgeable cultural consumers, so the degree to which the Festivals are able to contribute to further improvements in their understanding or knowledge of the cultural form or subject matter itself, may be limited. Having said this, the Festivals do provide some forms of deeper engagement during the Festival period – for volunteers, temporary staff and some workshop participants – and these groups do indeed show strong learning impacts in the subject area and the cultural form.
Place-making and media impact: enhancing the identity and image of Edinburgh and Scotland One of the most striking findings from the research is the strong and positive impact that the Festivals have on the way the City of Edinburgh 3 and Scotland are perceived, by locals and external visitors alike. While it might be expected that attendees have a positive attitude towards the Festivals, the results exceed what is known from research on other cultural and heritage activities (including where improving local pride and perceptions have been a major aim of the activities).
Our results show that: people – whether between family members, or between people from both similar and different communities. Providing opportunities for people to meet people from, and share messages about, different cultures – within the positive and informal context of a cultural event like the Edinburgh Mela – also helps people to increase their understanding of other cultures. • Local residents take great pride in the Festivals and the value they provide to Edinburgh as a city. Edinburgh Festivals Impact Study
Social impact: contribute to well-being and quality of life • Visitors believe that the Festivals make the city distinctive; they highly value the experience of having multiple Festivals running simultaneously during the summer period, and are more likely to revisit as a result of attending the Festivals (thus ensuring the continued contribution to Edinburgh’s visitor economy). • The image that the Festivals present of Edinburgh and Scotland is one of diversity and openness; showcasing a positive national identity.
The media attention that the Festivals generate (as recorded through the online monitoring service Meltwater News) is also very significant, and it exceeds that of other comparable events. The data recorded by the online news monitoring tool used in the study does not allow any conclusions to be drawn as to whether this media attention is positive or negative. However, the social media activity generated by the attending journalists has been assessed and it is largely favourable.
This suggests that the ultimate media messages that are networked and syndicated from the attending journalists are predominantly favourable. Social impact: cultural diversity and community cohesion With the exception of the Edinburgh Mela, achieving social outcomes is not the primary aim of any of the Festivals. Nevertheless, our research shows that the Festivals do have a number of social impacts, in addition to promoting local pride and a sense of belonging.
In this study, the Festivals’ social impacts were interrogated based on the concept of social capital, which considers the formation of social networks, relationships and links to resources as a first step in achieving longer term socio-economic outcomes. From this perspective, there is evidence that the Festivals help to build social connections between www. bop. co. uk Participation in culture and leisure activities is thought to support all round well-being (in the sense of ‘a positive physical, social and mental state’) and ‘happiness’.
Although relatively mild, the Festival research was able to demonstrate a noticeable impact on people’s all-round wellbeing, which is in line with other cultural and heritage events research. In addition, the Festivals have a stronger well-being impact on particular groups. Firstly, they positively affect the overall emotional, mental and social well-being of children in their early development. Secondly, they have greater well-being impacts on more intensely engaged groups, such as temporary staff and volunteers. This includes positive impacts on both general well-being and specifically their feeling of self-worth.
The latter is even stronger for the comparatively older volunteer pool – a finding that is entirely in line with other cultural and heritage research that suggests that the benefits of participation are greater for older people. Economic impact: provide routes to employment & skills Volunteers and temporary staff who were engaged in Edinburgh’s Festivals have developed on a personal level through the experience. Indeed, compared to other volunteering research in the cultural heritage field, the findings around increased self-esteem and curiosity are particularly strong.
When looking at transferable skills, temporary staff are more likely to be motivated by professional skills enhancement, and to develop employability skills during the course of their involvement with the Festivals than volunteers. This is likely to be a factor of the profile of volunteers and temporary staff included in the sample. The age profile of volunteers is older than that of temporary staff, hence career aims and 4 development are of greater interest to the younger temporary staff cohort, and older volunteers already have a higher level of skills prior to their involvement (hence any further improvements are modest).
Our research shows that the Festivals contribute to volunteers and temporary staff further building their social capital: many of them become involved with the Festivals because of the opportunities that are offered to build new social networks. The research also confirms what is known from other cultural sector volunteering: many of the Festival volunteers have volunteered in the past and they are likely to volunteer again in the future, including in other areas of civic life. In contrast, temporary staff are less inclined to go on to volunteering, certainly outside the cultural sector.
Economic impact: support the wider economy in Edinburgh and Scotland The study also confirms and further strengthens the key message from the earlier Edinburgh Festivals Economic Impact Study: the Festivals are a major contributor to both the local Edinburgh economy and the national Scottish economy. This economic impact spreads far beyond the immediate cultural economy. In fact, the biggest beneficiary businesses in Edinburgh and Scotland are those in the tourism, hospitality, and leisure sectors.
The economic impact was assessed according to the principles of the Scottish Government and HM Treasury’s Green Book, which means that only the economic contribution which is genuinely additional has been considered. The overall factors that generate the economic impact of the Festivals are not markedly different from the previous SQW study: The main difference, then, is that the overall economic contribution of the Festivals has considerably increased since the last study, and this occurred despite the cohort of Festivals being smaller within this year’s research than in 2004/5.
Edinburgh Festivals Impact Study www. bop. co. uk Provide a marketing platform for sponsors and stakeholders The findings in this section suggest that brand association is the most important benefit that sponsors draw from the Festivals (however, not necessarily association with the cultural brand), in addition to reaching specific, local audiences. This means that sponsors mainly support the Festivals for ‘what they are’ (high quality, innovative, creative) and ‘whom they attract’ (local residents) rather than ‘what they offer’ (corporate hospitality, discounted tickets, etc. ).
This also means that Festivals compete not just with other cultural events and organisations, but also with other major events such as sporting events. Having a highquality offer and being innovative thus stand out as key criteria for attracting sponsorship support – which re-iterates the Thundering Hooves report’s emphasis on the importance of innovation and quality in maintaining the competitive advantage of Festivals. Environmental impact: climate change and resource depletion • Audience expenditure is dominated by staying visitors, as they spend more, stay for longer, and their expenditure is more likely to be genuinely additional.
The final impact area considered as part of the research is the most challenging for the Festivals, as it consists of assessing the impacts on the environment. Attempting to tackle this issue is a laudable and brave undertaking. The Festivals have already shown leadership in their development of a cross-Festival Environment Strategy. The strategy aims to build awareness and capacity within the Festivals, as well as identify and develop approaches and practice (such as the Green Venue accreditation scheme) to tackle their environmental footprint.
Nevertheless, the process of measuring the negative environmental contribution is still difficult and has inherent challenges for organisations’ communication agendas. • The large proportion of the overall economic impact is generated by just a small number of the Festivals. The Festivals – and the cultural and tourism sectors more generally – are still at an early stage in terms of their thinking around • The economic impact is driven by audience expenditure, but performers and delegates and attending journalists also make significant contributions in absolute terms.5 environmental sustainability. This year’s research has therefore concentrated on ways of assessing and monitoring the current level of impact (rather than measuring a process of change, as in the other impact areas). It must be recognised that there are still significant gaps in the Festivals’ data (including the impact of most Festival venues, performers and production crew) which means that the figures presented in the report are a considerable underestimate of the overall carbon footprint of the Festivals.
From what is known to-date, audiences (and in particular staying visitors) account for the biggest proportion of the impact, but further work is needed in this area. Sustainability of the Festivals Ensuring that the Festivals can deliver the full range of outcomes and impacts as outlined above requires thinking about their processes from the viewpoint of sustainability. This means taking a broad look not just at environmental issues (as described above), but also at the economic and social sustainability of their operations.
There is substantial public sector investment in all the Festivals, whether directly as core funding or indirectly through infrastructure investments in venues. However, from a sustainability point of view, it is important to assess whether the Festivals have other sources of income. When looking across the twelve Festivals, figures suggest that they do have a sound financial base. This is certainly true for the proportion of earned income out of their total income, which is considerably higher than the average for the cultural sector.
However, there are large differences across the Festivals, partly related to art forms . Another element in ensuring the continued economic success of the Festivals is their competitiveness and attractiveness within a global Festivals ‘marketplace’. Innovation is a key factor to keeping Edinburgh’s competitive edge and this year’s study provides an initial benchmark of the significant financial investments that the Festivals make in the innovation of their programming.
Pursuing a social sustainability agenda – in particular through audience engagement in the Festival delivery and strategic direction – is widely recognised as a way of empowering people, a central tenet of the current UK coalition government’s Big Society concept. Although not all Festivals could report figures on such engagement, they provide evidence that audience members or community representatives were engaged in discussions about programming and their Festival experience.
More formally, the Festivals clearly draw on locally based staff, but there is less evidence that the Festivals have a particularly diverse workforce. Edinburgh Festivals Impact Study www. bop. co. uk Going forward The Festivals will have wider effects than the short term impacts outlined in this report. While looking into these longer term impacts was beyond the scope of the current research, the areas below may provide valuable further insights for the Festivals and strengthen the case with funders and stakeholders. These include:
• Festival engagement of local residents, particularly ‘non-users’ • Year-round cultural participation in Edinburgh • Labour pool effects of the Festivals in Edinburgh In order to ensure that the Festivals are able to repeat the methodology and impact assessment in future years, the study also makes a set of detailed recommendations relating to the evaluation process, the evaluation framework and the data capture tools. Key recommendations are to: • Exclude from the economic impact assessment those smaller Festivals that attract a predominately local audience.
• Consider running some of the impact themes on alternate years. • Extend media monitoring by making use of the new tools to track social media activity, and pursue cost-effective means for capturing broadcast content through partners and stakeholders. 6 2. Introduction BOP Consulting was commissioned by the Festivals Forum 1 to conduct an impact assessment study for Edinburgh’s Festivals. The study was managed by, and commissioned in partnership with: • Festivals Edinburgh • Scottish Enterprise • City of Edinburgh Council
• EventScotland (also representing VisitScotland) • The Scottish Government • Scottish Arts Council (now Creative Scotland) The research started in February 2010 and covered a full year of Edinburgh’s Festival programme. In total, more than 15,000 Festival audience members and stakeholders were involved in the research. This report presents the aggregate findings of the impact assessment study for all Festivals. 2. 1 Background Edinburgh is internationally renowned for the annual Festival programme which it hosts.
Starting with the Edinburgh International Festival in 1947, it has developed a year round sequence of Festivals which is crucial to the cultural, economic and social life of Edinburgh, of the wider city-region, and to a greater or lesser degree, of Scotland itself. The Edinburgh Festivals, for the purpose of this study, comprise the twelve Festivals represented by Festivals Edinburgh (see Appendix 9. 1 for a detailed description of each of the Festivals). The Festivals are listed in date order below: Edinburgh Festivals Impact Study
• Edinburgh International Science Festival www. bop. co. uk • Bank of Scotland Imaginate Festival • Edinburgh International Film Festival • Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival. • Edinburgh Art Festival • Edinburgh Mela • Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo • Edinburgh Festival Fringe • Edinburgh International Festival • Edinburgh International Book Festival • Scottish International Storytelling Festival • Edinburgh’s Hogmanay This impact study builds on the Edinburgh Festivals Economic Impact Study conducted by SQW in 2004/05, which assessed
Edinburgh’s Festivals in terms of their collective economic impact. The study estimated that the seventeen Festivals included in the study generated around ? 170 million of output per annum at the Edinburgh level and ? 184 million at the Scottish level. Since that time the Festivals have continued to grow and there have been some significant changes in the Festival ‘landscape’. In particular, the Thundering Hooves report (2006) put in place the strategic framework for partnership action to ensure that the competitive edge of Edinburgh’s Festivals was maintained.
In line with this, Festivals Edinburgh was created in 2007 by the directors of the city’s twelve major Festivals to take the lead on their joint strategic development. More recent developments include the 1 The Festivals Forum was established by the City of Edinburgh Council, Scottish Government, Scottish Arts Council/Scottish Screen, Event Scotland, Visit Scotland, Scottish Enterprise and Festivals Edinburgh in March 2007. It is a high-level, strategic commission bringing together representatives of those with a stake in maintaining the global comptetitive advantage of all Edinburgh’s Festivals.