Emic perspectives on quality of life: the case of the Danish Wadden Sea Festival

J.J. Liburd, P.H.M. Derkzen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


This paper sets out to probe how a cultural festival can enhance quality of life (QoL) and identifies possible drivers in the process. The Wadden Sea Festival in Denmark is based on the idea of integrating the coastal environment in the presentation of contemporary art. Specifically, unique tidal differences are utilised to stage a range of performances. The Wadden Sea Festival was designed to create regional, national and international liaisons between artists and cultural institutions and to enhance local residents' sense of place and collective identity while also attracting visitors to the region. Recognising the articulated aims of the festival, we explore how a cultural festival, and more specifically contemporary art, may positively influence the QoL of participants, residents and visitors alike. Participant-observation and in-depth interviews formed the basis for this exploratory research. We elicit and illustrate how the festival generated feelings of positive energy and integrity among individual artists and discuss these elements in relation to theoretical conceptualisations of QoL. Adopting a highly contextualised and qualitative approach, we argue that emic perspectives are needed to understand the immaterial elements of QoL. Further, an emic approach allows for deep narratives and opens up for multidimensional perspectives that could be applied in different cultural settings
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)132-146
JournalTourism and Hospitality Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2009

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