Postdoctoral Researcher Jay Zoë

183100 €

The Eurovisionaries: How Fan Diplomats are Making Europe

Tieteellinen tutkimus / siihen pohjautuva työ | Nelivuotinen

This project offers an innovative, audience-centred approach to understanding cultural diplomacy by recognising fan practices as a form of vernacular, participatory diplomacy. Working with fans and audiences of the Eurovision Song Contest – Europe’s most iconic transnational cultural event – the project aims to explore how fans think about and value the language, symbols, gestures and practices that constitute their interactions with the Contest, its host countries, and each other across transnational borders. It challenges conventional understandings of soft power and cultural diplomacy that portray audiences as passive recipients of content, producing novel empirical data to reveal how fans practice and understand their own forms of cultural diplomacy to shape cultural relations in and beyond Europe. The project uses a co-creative, vernacular approach, collaborating with Eurovision fans to understand how they articulate, value and practice the everyday, participatory politics of cultural diplomacy, both at the Contest and while watching from home. This approach is supported by qualitative, bottom-up methods of semi-structured online interviews with fans living in Finland and Australia, and walking interviews and participant observation with fans at the Eurovision Village and live Contest. The project speaks directly to the Kone Foundation's key focuses by revealing how diplomatic participation is understood and practiced by ‘ordinary’ people in ways that go beyond traditional expectations about who can be included in diplomacy and transnational cultural exchange.