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The Role of Spatiotemporality in Identity Translation Work: A Processual Account



Mengis J.


Lurati F.


Toraldo M. L.


Zamparini A.



The Locarno Festival is an organization having peculiar spatial and temporal properties. It has a cyclical temporality, showing a peak of activity during the ten summer days of the film festival, and almost disappearing for the rest of the year. The Locarno Festival does not own many permanent organizational spaces, and every summer it needs to engage in the building and dismantling of infrastructures, thus creating the Festival’s space and transforming Locarno’s urban landscape. With a three-year longitudinal study, the project aims at examining the implications that this peculiar spatiotemporality has in the development of the organizational practices of the Locarno Festival. 

Aims of the project

The project covers three main areas of research:

  1. The role that the recursive Festival’s space construction and negotiation practices play in the evolution of the identity of the Festival and of the Locarnese territory;
  2. The aesthetic production of the Festival’s space during summer and its experiential implications for visitors and locals;
  3. The role that the specific spatiotemporality of the Locarno Festival plays in the management of relationships with professionals of the cinema industry, and in the positioning within the international film festival circuit. 

Scientific context

The project develops a longitudinal study, integrating various methods of the ethnographic tradition in organization and communication studies, such as qualitative interviews, observation, and visual methods. This way, the study offers a processual appreciation of the relationship developing between cyclical cultural events, the host territory, and the cultural industry these events represent, thus providing an alternative and complementary perspective to traditional economic impact studies.

Additional information

Start date
End date
48 Months
Funding sources
Swiss National Science Foundation / Project Funding / Humanities and social sciences (Division I)