REF 2021 Impact Case Study: DarkFest: Connecting Communities and Enhancing Creative Cultures in Portsmouth


Description of impact

Since 2016 DarkFest has established itself as one of Portsmouth’s main creative festivals. Karl Bell’s historical research into the urban supernatural directly informed and shaped the initial activities that created this event. Bell’s ongoing support has enabled local creatives to take increasing ownership of the festival. Its growth has led to the involvement of the city’s major cultural institutions, including its theatres, Southsea Castle, and the Historic Dockyard. DarkFest has helped connect the city’s diverse but fragmented artistic communities, providing them with common themes and a coherent platform through which to annually showcase their talent. This has resulted in them obtaining Arts Council England funding and, more broadly, facilitating new local cultural engagement. With its genesis in Bell’s research, Darkfest has had a transformative impact on Portsmouth’s creative cultures, benefiting a diverse range of practitioners, audiences, and stakeholders.
Impact statusClosed
Impact date20162019


  • REF2021