What If FIRST Film Festival leaves Xining: The Challenges of Culture Event-led Urban Regeneration in Western China
Hui WANG, University of Liverpool, China
More and more cities are looking to cultural capital to promote renewal and regeneration. The inclusion of popular cultures such as music, film, comics, and video games has been common in recent years, renewing the public perception of the creative city. While it is pleasing to see the growing inclusiveness of popular culture, the feasibility of operating these cultural events to stimulate urban vitality remains a question. Despite the contribution of the creative class to urban transformation, the neglect of economic and political baselines of urban construction may also raise concerns about the creation of a regeneration bubble. It is also recognised that the target audience of pop culture is not all the people, or more precisely, the audience is often selected in the process of confirming the cultural events. This research draws on a study of the FIRST Film Festival in Xining, a city on the Tibetan plateau. It explores the paradoxes of the festival’s presence in Xining and the incompatible understandings of the festival between the existing participants and the local population. The analysis reveals that sustainable and integrated urban regeneration is difficult to achieve in a culture event-led regeneration strategy that does not take the local economic, political and community basis into account.
Keywords: film festivals|culture|event-led regeneration|western China