In a year that mirrored a well-written dystopic fiction, the world was brought to a standstill by a pandemic. But while the COVID-19 crisis threatened to push pause on everything, many in the world of arts stuck to the old adage of "the show must go on." This was true of numerous literary festivals around the globe who confronted the challenges posed by the pandemic and expeditiously adapted to deliver their content in a digital format. And with this perseverance a new festival model was designed to suit the needs of the hour, which in turn helped many arts organizations realize their long overdue dream of moving towards more accessible and inclusive offerings. With a primary focus on the Vancouver Writers Fest, this project will look at how literary festivals across Canada strove to build community and dialogue in these times of isolation, all designed to be consumed from the comfort of one's home, for free. The aim is to understand the various nuances of shifting a traditionally in-person festival to a digital space with all its benefits and drawbacks. The report will also be exploring how this phenomenon might usher in a new era of spatially and financially unrestricted festivals, made accessible to a more diverse range of audience, across borders.
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Thesis advisor: Steedman, Scott
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