Multicultural festivals are more than a form of leisure and entertainment for the general public – they are often used as tools to educate the wider population about the culture of ethnic minority groups, promoting understanding and increasing tolerance of diversity. It has been argued that the ways in which multicultural events are represented in the media may help to resist and/or overcome negative stereotypes. Media narratives both construct and represent society, and in so doing they play a powerful role in shaping societal perceptions. Here we focus on in-depth case studies of two multicultural festivals held in Glasgow, Scotland. We ask: how do media narratives around these events convey and communicate the meanings and values of the ethnic minority communities? We investigate whether the media coverage usefully counters negative stereotypes and assess its potential to transform individuals and society. We conclude the ability of the media to be a platform for disseminating positive messaging and educating their readers is limited. Through the event narratives the media portray a version of Glasgow itself, essentially revealing the city in terms of its people and its place rather than using the festivals as an opportunity to facilitate meaningful conversations about cultural diversity.
- multicultural events
- media narratives