Partner: National Trust

Base: Falmouth University, Creative Connected Communities

Mentors: Dr Niamh Downing; Dr David Prior


Many rural areas in the UK benefit enormously from tourism, and the exponential growth of outdoor festivals over the last ten years has made a valuable contribution to the economy and culture of these regions. There is a growing awareness amongst festival organisers of the ecological impact (on local community, infrastructure, transport, built and natural environment) of large numbers of visitors arriving at a single location. Many festivals also specifically encourage audience engagement with the local environment and ecology of rural sites.


This fellowship explores the ecological impacts of outdoor festivals over the last decade to ascertain how these impacts could be lessened or augmented through the use of new digital technologies such as AR that might enable organisers to extend the scope of activities that they offer. From modest interventions such as enhanced smart signage to visitor experiences that can be undertaken completely off-site, this project will explore a range of possibilities for the ways in which sites may be understood differently through the lens of burgeoning video and audio technologies.


This is an opportunity for a post-doctoral fellow to shape their own project, working alongside an established heritage organisation to explore the ecological impact of festivals through practice-based work. The fellowship draws on Falmouth University’s centres of expertise in rural environments, sustainability and creative connected communities, and builds directly on recent collaborations with the National Trust. The fellow will be expected to create a piece of artistic work for the National Trust’s Outdoor South West Outdoor Festival in 2018, using their practice as a vehicle to explore the research themes outlined above.


Contact: Niamh Downing –