‘You feel you’re not alone’: How multicultural festivals foster social sustainability through multiple psychological sense of community

Journal Article
Recognizing the limited research on social aspects of sustainability in event studies, this paper seeks to understand how multicultural festivals promote and deliver social sustainability through the facilitation of multiple psychological sense of community for attendees. By considering refugees and ethnic minority immigrants, it also addresses the gap at the nexus of events and marginalization for under-researched groups in critical event studies. Focusing on the New Beginnings Festival, an arts and culture festival for migrant communities in Sydney, Australia, we sought to gain a better understanding by addressing this knowledge gap. A qualitative research approach was applied with data collected through participant observation, in-the-moment conversations, and semi-structured interviews. Applying the theoretical framework of Psychological Sense of Community as well as the concept of Multiple Psychological Sense of Community, we present the Festival Multiple Psychological Sense of Community (FMPSOC) model with three interconnected levels of community facilitated by the festival: Ethnic, Migrant and Mainstream. The model enables critical event scholars, event organizers and local governments alike to understand how multicultural festivals contribute to the social sustainability of their communities. It also provides a basis for evaluating this contribution and identifying areas for improvement.
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