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The InterACT Disability Arts Festival: creating revolutionary futures?

Trudie Walters (Walters Research and Consulting, Dunedin, New Zealand)

International Journal of Event and Festival Management

ISSN: 1758-2954

Article publication date: 29 November 2022




This exploratory study seeks to understand whether an arts event designed with/by/for disabled people (the InterACT Disability Arts Festival in New Zealand) has the potential to create revolutionary futures, defined as those which help determine new paths, make the future less fearsome and allow more positive outcomes.


A qualitative approach was taken in this study. Interviews were carried out with ten disabled event attendees, two support workers, one family member, four event volunteers, two activity providers and the main event organiser of the 2019 festival. Active participant observation was also used to collect data. Deductive thematic analysis was used to determine themes and subthemes in the material.


The findings suggest the case study arts event does help to create revolutionary futures for disabled attendees through disrupting the narratives of disability, making sense of lives lived and changing lives yet to be lived.

Research limitations/implications

Limited windows of opportunity were available to interact with attendees, and just 17 in-the-moment interviews were conducted. However, the findings still have value as data saturation was reached. A “revolutionary futures” conceptual framework is presented to understand the nexus between disability worlds and events and thus amplify the benefits for attendees.


Research carried out to date has provided much-needed understanding about the challenges facing disabled people at events, but this study turns this deficit approach around to focus on the opportunities provided by event participation.



Funding: This research project was supported by a Leisure Studies Association (UK) grant.


Walters, T. (2022), "The InterACT Disability Arts Festival: creating revolutionary futures?", International Journal of Event and Festival Management, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print.



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