Project

ATLAS Event Experiences Project

Goal: The ATLAS Events Special Interest Group was established in 2010, with a broad remit to act as a focus for events research and scholarship among ATLAS members. The group has already been active in organising specialist meetings on event themes, and has coordinated the production of the research monographs Exploring the Social Impact of Events (Routledge, 2013) and Event Design: Social perspectives and practices (Routledge, 2015). Following previous meetings in Breda, Peniche and Sheffield, the following meeting will be held in Salento, Italy on the theme of Creating and Bidding for Events in May 2015.
Subsequent discussions with members identified a need to undertake comparative research to facilitate the identification of trends and developments in events internationally. At present many members are undertaking individual research projects, the findings of which are hard to compare across borders or over time. By developing a common core to their event research, the members of the project hope to undertake comparative analyses that will aid our understanding of event processes and outcomes.
Aims
The aims of the project are:
• To provide a platform for comparative research on events worldwide
• To improve our knowledge of events, their visitors and their impacts
• To develop a database as a research resource and benchmarking tool for cultural and sporting events
• To produce case studies of best practice in events development, marketing and research
To date, data have been collected from events in a number of different countries, including Portugal, Finland, Russia, the UK and Cyprus. These data have already revealed some interesting differences in the basic patterns of event attendance and experience. However, we have not yet explored the event experience in too much detail. The development of the Event Experience Scale (EES) is a good opportunity to analyse the differences in the nature of event experiences.
As the next stage in the development of the project we are therefore inviting a small group of universities to undertake research with the EES to compare the experience of events in different countries, cultures and types of events. The aim is to develop a series of publications that address these issues in an international comparative context.
The research partners will use the same basic questionnaire including the EES items and questions relating to event visitation. The basic questionnaire can also be adjusted to include event-specific questions or questions related to specific student projects.
The basic research questions to be addressed include:
• What is the relationship between event experiences and event type (sports, culture, business, etc.)?
• How are event experiences affected by event content?
• How do event experiences relate to event location (country, region, urban, rural, etc)?
• How do different visitor types experience events??
By undertaking data collection together, the partners will be able to generate sufficient data to test a number of hypotheses related to the nature of event experiences with the use of a wide range of different statistical methods.
Research Instrument
The research will be based largely on the use of surveys implemented at or after events. The questionnaires will focus on a number of key areas, including:

• Reasons for attending
• Information sources
• Previous visits
• Overall evaluation of event and satisfaction
• Different aspects of event experience (EES scale)
• Expenditure
• Socio-demographic profile (age, education, occupation, media use)

The EES items
The 18 EES questions measure 4 underlying dimensions of festival and event experiences:
• affective engagement (questions 1 t/m 6),
• cognitive engagement (questions 7 t/m 12),
• physical engagement (questions 13 t/m 15)
• experience newness/novelty (questions 16 t/m 18)

More details of the project can be found on:

https://independent.academia.edu/gregrichards/ATLAS-Events-Group

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Greg Richards
added 6 research items
This chapter reviews the past thrity years of research on events and festivals from the perspective of the ATLAS Events Group, including the work of the ATLAS Event Experiences project.
This special issue of Event Management, on ‘Events as platforms, networks and communities’ presents a selection of papers from the Association for Tourism and Leisure Research and Education (ATLAS) conference in Copenhagen in 2018. We are aware that networks in particular are a frequent subject of events research (e.g., Getz, Andersson & Larson, 2006; Misener & Mason, 2006; Todd, Leask & Ensor, 2017), but many of these studies rest on a common assumption that events by their very nature as gathering spaces automatically create network, platform or community effects. What this special issue seeks to examine is how these processes work, and the ways in which events support and in turn are shaped by networks, platforms and communities. In this special issue we seek to go beyond casual observations of the existence of networks and platforms to examine their type and function, and how they are linked to different offline and online communities.
Greg Richards
added a research item
The ATLAS Events Group has been involved in the development of the Event Management Languages Project, which aims to examine the literature produced in languages other than English. One of the challenges for researchers working in English as a second language is the lack of leading academic journals in other languages. Even so, an initial analysis by Richards (2021) uncovered many papers in other languages, which also reflect the cultural richness of the events field. As Richards pointed out, Scopus and other abstracting systems are predominantly geared towards English language publications, and this bias is strengthened by the pressure to published in ranked journals, which also tend to publish in English. However, there is also a wealth of scholarship published in other languages, which does not become visible because of these language barriers. Even if texts in other languages can now be machine-translated, unless scholars are aware of sources in other languages these will not be used.
Greg Richards
added an update
In a recent review of publications in the Scandinavian Journal of Hospitality and Tourism over the past 20 years, Trude Furunes reports that the most downloaded(4162) publication in the area of of festivals and events is “Conceptualisation and Operationalisation of Event and Festival Experiences: Creation of an Event Experience Scale” written by Sjanett DeGeus, Greg Richards and Vera Toepoel, published in 2016. This paper launched the Event Experience Scale (EES) subsequently used by a large number of researchers in the ATLAS Events group to measure event experiences. This paper can be found here:
If you are interested in having the full list of scale items for research purposes, please contact Greg Richards (richards.g@buas.nl)
 
Greg Richards
added a research item
In 2021, just as in 2020, the ATLAS Events Group will be staging its events online. Like communities around the world, our group will need to adjust to the new reality of online and hybrid events. What effects will these developments have for events in the future, and what impact will these have on the communities that shape and are shaped by events? This meeting of the ATLAS Events Group will examine the development of offline and online communities through and in events.
Lenia Marques
added a research item
Experience has been widely recognized as an essential part of an event’s success, but few studies have analyzed the processes underlying the event as social experience. This article contributes to a better understanding of the social processes that make an event a social interaction platform. The social interaction processes that shape the event’s social experience is examined using a framework that brings together cocreation practices, group socialization, and interaction ritual chains. This exploratory study investigates the social interaction processes that shape the event’s social experience by developing a quantitative tool, the Event Social Interaction Scale (ESIS), which measures different social dimensions of the event experience. The ESIS was applied at a popular culture event, the festivities of São João in Northeast Brazil, and 625 survey responses were collected in 2016 and 2017. Findings suggest that multiple interaction rituals occur. People who are more directly and actively engaged in the event are more likely to be open for contact with unknown others. The event becomes a multidimensional platform where different types of social interaction are not only possible but fostered. The ESIS contributes to charting the footprint of the event as social experience, revealing a similar experience footprint across different years of the study. The ESIS and the implications of its processes for the event can be useful for academics, practitioners, and policymakers interested in understanding and facilitating more engaging event social experiences.
Greg Richards
added a research item
A special issue of the Journal of Policy Research in Tourism, Leisure and Events on the measurement of event experiences. Papers are free to download until the end of 2020.
Greg Richards
added 6 research items
Popular festivities and traditional events are important moments in which symbolic content, deep emotions and community solidarity are developed. However, there has been little research on the relationship between such events and their social networks and the power relations within these networks. This paper explores the ability of community events and networks to reflect and strengthen social context. Rather than observing the capacity of the event to generate a network, we focus on identifying how the event network is constructed, and how it creates relationships between the different groups, or nodes, within broader social networks. The case analysed is the Correfoc de la Mercè, a traditional firework event in Barcelona involving the Colles de diables, or Catalan popular fire culture groups. Our findings show that there is a bidirectional link or a mutual dependence between the groups (or nodes) and the event, which also support the development of shared social and symbolic capital.
In dark tourism affects are generated in a relational manner by the tourists and the locations visited by them. Exploring affective meanings of Banksy’s Dismaland via socio-spatial theories of emotion and affect is a way to contribute to the understanding of dystopian tourism. The dystopian touristic experience of Dismaland evolves from the interaction of a dystopian atmosphere, a displacement strategy and productive negative intensities. Whilst the affects produced vary according to the artist’s intentions, through innovative and politicised forms of dystopian dark tourism, Banksy creates atmospheres where productive negative intensities are able to be developed. In spite of the shades of dystopia and darkness in the artist’s work, a hopeful form of tourism could be generated. The implications are that affect in the dark tourism context has different layers of meaning where the materialising dystopian experiences, as simulacra, range from pure attraction to social change. Dismaland’s dark tourism experience reveals the role that political and ethical matters play in socio-affective encounters as exemplified by the commodification of the tourism industry, the Mediterranean refugee crisis and the glorified/sorrowful death of Diana, princess of Wales.
Greg Richards
added a research item
A report on the activities of the ATLAS Events Group over the past 12 months. including conferences, meetings and publications.
Greg Richards
added a research item
This paper provides an introduction to Special Issue on 'Event Experiences: Measurement and Meaning'. It reviews the research conducted by the ATLAS Event Group over the past decade, and highlights the interplay between qualititative and quantitative research on events during this period. Major research themes related to the event experience are analysed, including the social dimension of events, event design, visitor engagement, eventful cities and event networks and platforms. The different quantative and qualitative contributions to the issue are introduced and compared.
Greg Richards
added a research item
This paper applies the Event Experiences Scale (EES) to seven cultural events in different countries with the aim of identifying generic dimensions of event experience. Exploratory Factor Analysis indicated the presence of four experience dimensions: cognitive engagement, affective engagement, physical engagement and novelty. These broadly reflect the four dimensions found in the original EES study (de Geus, Richards and Toepoel, 2016). In the cultural events analysed here, the cognitive dimension is strongest, followed by affective engagement, novelty and finally physcal engagement. The experience dimensions are shown to vary significantly between visitor groups (particularly in terms of age) and by event location or context. Analysis of social media use shows that experiences also vary significantly through the stages of the ‘event journey’, with affective engagement being particularly prominent during and after the event.
Greg Richards
added a research item
This chapter reviews the field of event experience research, identifying major trends and setting out research directions for the future. Experiences are often viewed as the core of events and are therefore a key concern for event management and design. Much research has therefore focussed on the way in which experiences are produced and consumed within events, which are often viewed as special setting outside of everyday life. Recent research has extended to the complete visitor journey, considering what happens before and after the event as well. Future directions for event experience research suggested here include the development of improved measurement tools, examining the linkages between different elements of the event experience, the co-creation of value through event experiences, the development of 'event careers' among visitors and the application of new technologies to event experience research.
Greg Richards
added a research item
Report of the ATLAS Event SIG meeting at the ATLAS Annual Conference in Girona, September 2019.
Greg Richards
added an update
Daniel Barrera Fernández, Marco Hernández-Escampa, Martha Aranza Hernández and Gomez Jesús Morales Basaldú from the University of Oaxaca have completed further research using the EES following their previous work on the Festival Internacional Cervantino. They surveyed visitors to the Guelaguetza festival in Oaxaca, which attracted 160,000 visitors in 2017. As well as using the EES to measure experiences, they also looked at different elements of the image of the city among visitors.
 
Greg Richards
added an update
The deadline for abstracts for the ATLAS Events meeting in Girona in September has been extended to May 1st.
 
Greg Richards
added a research item
Call for Papers for the Special Track of the ATLAS Annual Conference, Girona, September 2019 on Transformation through Innovation and Creativity in Events
Greg Richards
added a research item
Experiences are central to leisure consumption, and events and festivals are rapidly becoming one of the most widespread forms of experience production. Event managers and designers work hard to ensure that the consumer will enjoy the event experience, and as a result have more fun, spend more money and come back in the future. The major challenge facing the events industry, however, is understanding exactly what the visitor experiences at an event, and what elements of the experience trigger them to visit the event in the first place and to have a memorable visit. To understand the way in which event experience work, it is important to have a tool that can measure the experience of different visitors at different events. This can enable us to analyse the effect of individual visitor characteristics on the experience, as well as the event setting (event type, location), as well as giving the possibility of exploring the experience at different stages in the visitor journey. This paper describes the development and application of the Event Experience Scale (EES) to compare the 'experience footprint' of different types of events, including arts Festivals, Jazz Festivals and Carnival in Brazil.
Greg Richards
added a research item
A summary of the event experience research conducted by Vern Biaett and his team at the John Coltrane Jazz Festival in 2016. Data for this survey was collected and compiled by faculty and students at High Point University as part of a worldwide research project hosted by the School of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Tilburg University, The Netherlands. The survey instrument provided was employed without changes. A copy of the study guidelines and survey instrument are included at the end of this report. The purpose of the international study is to determine if a quantitative scale can be created to study the behavior of attendees at festivals and events.
Greg Richards
added a research item
Longitudinal research on visitor experiences during Carnival and São João celebrations in Brazil.
Lenia Marques
added 2 research items
This paper aims to provide insights into the experience of Carnival in Brazil, using an events studies framework. This paper uses a quantitative approach, drawn from the Event Experience Scale (EES) which was developed as a tool for measuring event experiences (Geus et al. 2015; Richards, 2017). The results are part of an ongoing study in which this tool has been used in different events. Data was collected with an online questionnaire. In total, there were 600 complete responses, 250 for 2016, and 350 for 2017. Findings show that Carnival is a moment of high levels of excitement, and, overall, the results point out to a highly positive experience. Paper in: van Niekerk, Mathilda and Couto, Ubaldino (Dino), "4th International Conference on Events (ICE) Conference Proceedings" (2017). 4th International Conference on Events (ICE) 2017. 11. http://stars.library.ucf.edu/ice2017/2017/tuesday/11
Events are becoming more complex as their range of functions grows, as meeting places, creative spaces, economic catalysts, social drivers, community builders, image makers, business forums and network nodes. Effective design can produce more successful business models that can help to sustain cultural and sporting activities even in difficult economic times. This process requires creative imagination, and a design methodology or in other words ‘imagineering’. This book brings together a wide range of international experts in the fields of events, design and imagineering to examine the event design process. It explores the entire event experience from conception and production to consumption and co-creation. By doing so it offers insight into effective strategies for coping with the shift in value creation away from transactional economic value towards social and relational value which benefit a range of stakeholders from the community to policy makers. Mega-events, small community events, business events and festivals in eight different countries are examined providing an international view of social issues in event design. A wide selection of current research perspectives is employed, integrating both theoretical and applied contributions. The multidisciplinary nature of the material means that it will appeal to a broad academic audience, such as art and design, cultural studies, tourism, events studies, sociology and hospitality. © 2015 selection and editorial matter, Greg Richards, Lénia Marques and Karen Mein.
Greg Richards
added an update
@Daniel Barrera Fernández and his collaborators in Mexico have produced a new publication on their research on event experiences at the Festival Internacional Cervantino in Guanajuato.
 
Greg Richards
added an update
Latest updates from the ATLAS Event Experiences Project, including a paper from Lenia Marques and Carla Borba.
 
Greg Richards
added an update
Special Track of the ATLAS Conference 2018
Copenhagen, 26-29 September 2018, organized by the ATLAS Events Group
Events increasingly act as occasions that bring people together, on a local, national and global scale. Events are usually thought of as moments of shared physical co-presence, but increasingly the addition of online elements to events to extend the range and reach of physical events also means that events become virtual communities as well. This topic has been touched upon by the ATLAS Events Group in some previous meetings, and the growing role of ritual in supporting communities has been a common theme in previous publications (Richards, de Brito and Wilks, 2013, Richards, Marques and Mein, 2014).
In this special track we would like to link to a major theme of the 2018 ATLAS Conference in Copenhagen conference by examining the role of events as platforms, networks and communities. Because of their power as temporal markers and social catalysts, events are increasingly being used by places as a means to attract attention, form networks and build communities. This is of importance not just in terms of developing social cohesion in the contemporary network society, but also for the value creation activities of enterprises and the place promotion campaigns of public authorities.
Events can arguably become a key element of ‘city as platform’ strategies that provide opportunities for residents, businesses and visitors to link themselves to place, co-create value and kick-start innovation. The potential development of platforms can include IT based applications to gather information and distribute knowledge, but they can also arise out of the temporary clusters provided by events themselves. Examples include the development of ‘field configuring events’ such as international forums and global cultural festivals. These in turn link to global and local networks and the dispersed communities that cluster around themes of mutual interest. We are particularly interested in examining how events can act as the drivers for the development of such networks and communities, both as moments of physical co-presence during events, but also as dispersed communities created and supported by events elsewhere.
Potential themes include:
Online/offline communities
Co-creation processes in events
Events as animators of city or place-based platforms
Events as place ritual
The development of ‘event careers’ as a means to support communities
The use of events to support (global) business development
Field configuring events and their associated networks and communities
Abstract submission
Abstracts should be submitted through the ATLAS conference home page:
The deadline for abstract submission is March 1st 2018.
For more information on the ATLAS Events Group see: https://independent.academia.edu/gregrichards/ATLAS-Events-Group
 
Greg Richards
added an update
Report on the meeting of the ATLAS Events Group at the ATLAS Annual Conference in Viana do Castelo, September 2017
 
Greg Richards
added 4 research items
Abstract •Purpose This paper examines developments in the use of events by places from a predominantly place branding role based on image and economic impacts towards a broader placemaking approach aimed at holistic improvements in place quality. •Design/methodology/approach The research is based on a single case study approach, with the Dutch city of ‘s-Hertogenbosch (Den Bosch) as the focus. Data sources include resident surveys, depth interviews and analysis of policy documents. •Findings The Den Bosch case illustrates the emergence of a more holistic approach to the use of events as a placemaking tool. The city shifted from an ad hoc events policy to the development of a multiannual programme designed to produce economic, image, social cultural and network effects. This approach seems to have been successful in stimulating visitation, increasing visitor spend and raising the international profile of the city. At the same time, the city has developed many activities designed to mobilise local stakeholder groups and increase social cohesion, which provide essential support for the necessary investment. •Research limitations/implications There are indications that sustaining such a programme over the longer term is difficult in the face of political and economic change. Adoption of a holistic approach also requires the mobilisation of a wide range of stakeholders. •Social implications The Den Bosch programme helped to increase social cohesion in the city by involving residents and local cultural groups in different projects. However, this required a differentiated approach based on the needs of each group.
Guest editorial on "Events and Placemaking" special issue covering a diversity of topics on the relationship between events placemaking illustrated by festivals and other events in Australia, Laos, Mexico, New Zealand, and Europe (Spain and the Netherlands).
on factors such as Arousal, Intrinsic satisfaction, Involvement, Mastery, Perceived freedom and Spontaneity (Unger and Kernan, 1983). Many of these elements are related to having a varied life pattern with diverse leisure activities. This paper explores how the development of ‘eventfulness’ can contribute to diverse time qualities, and therefore improve subjective well-being and quality of life. It presents a potential view of an event as a framing of time that enables us to appreciate the different qualities of time, therefore producing different qualities of experience. It draws on previous studies of cultural events of well-being, as well as data from the ATLAS Event Monitoring Project.
Greg Richards
added an update
Latest news from the ATLAS Events Experiences Project, including recent research results and details of the special interest group meeting in Portugal.
 
Greg Richards
added an update
ATLAS Events Group Meeting on Event Experiences - September 2017, Viana do Castelo, Portugal.
See attachment for details.
 
Greg Richards
added 7 research items
Purpose – Cities are increasingly using events as an instrument for economic and social change and cultural and urban regeneration. Major events help cities to distinguish themselves, and attracting event-related tourism generates income and jobs and increases atmosphere and “liveliness”. Many cities have therefore positioned themselves as “eventful cities” or “festival cities” by adopting event-led strategies. The paper aims to discuss these issues. Design/methodology/approach – The effects of the 2007 European Capital of Culture (ECoC) in Sibiu, Romania were evaluated through a decade of longitudinal research including surveys and depth interviews with local residents, stakeholders and tourists to monitor the sustainability of event-related regeneration strategies. Findings – The impacts identified include increased cultural activity, tourism growth, image improvements and increased pride among residents. These impacts have been facilitated by a local growth coalition, and the increased linkage of the city to flows of investment, skills and talent through EU membership. The city has taken some important steps to becoming an “eventful city”, in which events are utilised to sustainably increase the quality of life. However, the momentum of eventfulness developed in 2007 has been difficult to maintain, and there are difficulties in separating the effect of event-related activities from wider cultural, social and economic development factors. Originality/value – The research indicates that the Sibiu ECoC in 2007 and the programme of cultural development leading up to it had substantial impacts on the city both in the short and longer term. The ECoC certainly met most of its short-term aims, as there was a significant economic boost from tourism and an improvement in the external image of the city.
The increasingly multifaceted nature of event impacts makes them even more attractive as a potential solution to a range of urban and regional problems. As a result, competition to stage major cultural and sporting events is intensifying, and the cost of bidding is also rising. Given that such bidding processes only produce one winner, this means that a growing number of disappointed cities have to justify the costs of bidding for major events. In this context, we analyse the bidding process for the European Capital of Culture in the Netherlands (2018) and its impacts on local social structures. In particular the article focuses on the less tangible, non-economic effects of bidding for events, establishing a framework based on network formation, public support for the bidding process and social cohesion. The conclusions point to the key role of sociality and networking for events, which should therefore be developed throughout the bidding process for successful impacts, whether the event is won or not.
The contributions to this volume underline the wealth of different approaches that can be taken to event design and the study of how events are designed. Event design can be approached as far more than a simple physical act of arranging event elements or the look and feel of an event. In particular this volume points to the important role played by the context of events in the design process. Event design needs to involve a wide range of stakeholders and to encompass a wide range of elements before, during and after the event, at the event location but also in other places and virtual spaces. The main issues arising from the volume and some potential directions for future research are outlined in the following sections. The purpose of design As Richards and Palmer (2010) have argued in Eventful Cities, events are designed to serve a range of different purposes, and the effectiveness of events, and therefore event design strategies, should be judged in terms of how well the aims of the event and its different stakeholders are met.
Greg Richards
added an update
Report on the development of event experiences at European festivals. This is a summary of the PhD research conducted by @June Calvo-Soraluze from Deusto University.
 
Greg Richards
added an update
Greg Richards
added an update
Greg Richards
added a project goal
The ATLAS Events Special Interest Group was established in 2010, with a broad remit to act as a focus for events research and scholarship among ATLAS members. The group has already been active in organising specialist meetings on event themes, and has coordinated the production of the research monographs Exploring the Social Impact of Events (Routledge, 2013) and Event Design: Social perspectives and practices (Routledge, 2015). Following previous meetings in Breda, Peniche and Sheffield, the following meeting will be held in Salento, Italy on the theme of Creating and Bidding for Events in May 2015.
Subsequent discussions with members identified a need to undertake comparative research to facilitate the identification of trends and developments in events internationally. At present many members are undertaking individual research projects, the findings of which are hard to compare across borders or over time. By developing a common core to their event research, the members of the project hope to undertake comparative analyses that will aid our understanding of event processes and outcomes.
Aims
The aims of the project are:
• To provide a platform for comparative research on events worldwide
• To improve our knowledge of events, their visitors and their impacts
• To develop a database as a research resource and benchmarking tool for cultural and sporting events
• To produce case studies of best practice in events development, marketing and research
To date, data have been collected from events in a number of different countries, including Portugal, Finland, Russia, the UK and Cyprus. These data have already revealed some interesting differences in the basic patterns of event attendance and experience. However, we have not yet explored the event experience in too much detail. The development of the Event Experience Scale (EES) is a good opportunity to analyse the differences in the nature of event experiences.
As the next stage in the development of the project we are therefore inviting a small group of universities to undertake research with the EES to compare the experience of events in different countries, cultures and types of events. The aim is to develop a series of publications that address these issues in an international comparative context.
The research partners will use the same basic questionnaire including the EES items and questions relating to event visitation. The basic questionnaire can also be adjusted to include event-specific questions or questions related to specific student projects.
The basic research questions to be addressed include:
• What is the relationship between event experiences and event type (sports, culture, business, etc.)?
• How are event experiences affected by event content?
• How do event experiences relate to event location (country, region, urban, rural, etc)?
• How do different visitor types experience events??
By undertaking data collection together, the partners will be able to generate sufficient data to test a number of hypotheses related to the nature of event experiences with the use of a wide range of different statistical methods.
Research Instrument
The research will be based largely on the use of surveys implemented at or after events. The questionnaires will focus on a number of key areas, including:
• Reasons for attending
• Information sources
• Previous visits
• Overall evaluation of event and satisfaction
• Different aspects of event experience (EES scale)
• Expenditure
• Socio-demographic profile (age, education, occupation, media use)
The EES items
The 18 EES questions measure 4 underlying dimensions of festival and event experiences:
• affective engagement (questions 1 t/m 6),
• cognitive engagement (questions 7 t/m 12),
• physical engagement (questions 13 t/m 15)
• experience newness/novelty (questions 16 t/m 18)
More details of the project can be found on: