WEBINAR – Pleasure in Crisis? Resilience of public entertainment and festivity in the past and present (VIDEO)

Posted: 1 March, 2021

Recording of ”Pleasure in Crisis? Resilience of public entertainment and festivity in the past and present’

Our first seminar ‘Pleasure in Crisis? Resilience of public entertainment and festivity in the past and present’ took place on 16th March.

The digital round table assembles representatives of the three HERA projects PLEASURESCAPES, FESTSPACE, and FESTIVERSITIES to discuss the resilience of public entertainment and festivity during the crisis.

The party is over. Covid-19 has disrupted public and collective practices of entertainment, leisure and festivity in an overpowering and yet unimaginable way. Joint pleasures in public space represent all that is now most dangerous in light of the pandemic: physical closeness or direct contact with multitudes of strangers – anonymously, unregistered, and nonbinding. Consequently, the European cultural, event, club and gastronomy scenes have suffered particularly hard from the pandemic restrictions. What seemed to be crisis-proof industries were among the first to close down when the virus struck, and most have been unable to re-open. However, alternative practices of pandemic-compliant leisure and festivity quickly evolved, as did illegal leisure practices with deliberate disregard of Covid-19 measures.

The pandemic shines a new light on the relevance and resilience of pleasure cultures and their various meanings for society. Are collective public pleasures important human needs, or even more so, outlets for societal forces? How fundamental or dispensable are pleasures – for individuals and for the many? Do public crises restrict or catalyze pleasure cultures and why? How do public and private stakeholders in pleasure-related industries react to the pandemic? Is the Covid-crisis a completely new case or are there other pleasure in crisis comparators, historically?

This webinar discussion addresses these questions from the past and present to gain a deeper understanding of pleasure cultures as a driving societal force. Two short film documentaries serve as points of departure: Heiligengeistfeld. Urban open space in time of pandemic-compliant pleasures, by Laurenz Gottstein and Jacob Scholz and Barcelona and its celebrations. The social reaction of an empty city in full swing, by Alba Colombo.


Prof Lisa Kosok, Pleasurescapes, HafenCity University Hamburg

Prof Paul van de Laar, Pleasurescapes, Erasmus University Rotterdam

Prof David McGillivray, Festspace, University of the West of Scotland

Dr Alba Colombo, Festspace, Open University of Catalonia

Prof Ian Woodward, Festiversities, University of Southern Denmark

Britt Swartjes, PhD Candidate, Festiversities, Erasmus University Rotterdam

Laurenz Gottstein, Filmmaker, Pleasurescapes, HafenCity University Hamburg

Dr Alina L. Just, Pleasurescapes, HafenCity University Hamburg (moderator)

16 March webinar poster: Pleasure in Crisis?

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