Unlocking Doors: Decolonising the Design of an Art Exhibition in Zimbabwe

Zigomo, Pamela and Hull, Richard. 2018. Unlocking Doors: Decolonising the Design of an Art Exhibition in Zimbabwe. Event Management, 22(6), pp. 997-1008. ISSN 1525-9951 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

Participatory event design opens up opportunities for the sustainable transformation of a community and can therefore make a valuable contribution to the field of critical event studies. This paper discusses the findings from a participatory action research project developed with a community of visual artists in Zimbabwe. The project explored how participatory event design processes could be applied to the co-creation of an art exhibition which would be used as a platform to challenge the oppressive environment Zimbabwean visual artists are working in. The design of special events in the third sector is usually reliant on the voice of the specialist event designer or organiser who is commissioned by the funding or lead agency to develop an event intervention using risk averse and time efficient methods. This, unfortunately, can result in in the community of interest having a marginalised role in the proceedings and thus they lose a much-needed connection with the event intervention and are not committed to sustaining the desired change. We argue that there is an opportunity for events professionals to increase their skills and develop emancipatory approaches that will decolonise established event design processes and contribute to the sustainable transformation of marginalised communities.

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Additional Information:

In the Special Issue "Critical Event Studies: Issues and Perspectives"


Critical pedagogy; Decolonisation; Participatory event design; Zimbabwe

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Institute for Cultural and Creative Entrepreneurship (ICCE)


26 September 2018Published Online
14 June 2018Accepted

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Date Deposited:

31 Oct 2018 10:15

Last Modified:

29 Apr 2020 16:58

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.



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