Project Lead
Dr Cassandre Balosso-Bardin
Project start date
8th October, 2018
Project end date
3rd May, 2019

Teaching & Learning Innovation

Using Liberating Structures to organise a public-facing music festival

Level three music students were required to organise a two-day public-facing music festival at Lincoln Performing Arts Centre in just seven months. Working as part of a large team can be challenging; it was therefore necessary to help the students understand their collective responsibility in order to create a successful event.

Music lecturer Dr Cassandre Balosso-Bardin adopted the Liberating Structures methodology (Kimball 2012) in order to ‘include, engage… support and spark creative adaptability’ (Lipmanowicz and McCandless, 2014), using activities that were designed to ‘tap into collective intelligence’ (Kimball 2012:4) and lead towards action.

Throughout Autumn 2018, the students workshopped different liberating structures activities, working together to understand the organisation process. In one session, the students worked on ‘TRIZ ’ (Stop Counterproductive Activities and Behaviours to Make Space for Innovation). They listed everything that could go wrong, ranging from physical accidents to no audience turning up, which led them to think about contingency planning, health and safety, marketing and group communication.

Caption: Whiteboard full of worst case scenarios during the TRIZ session.

Over subsequent sessions, the students actively engaged with the planning and organised the Nebula Music Festival, a highly successful event that took place on 3–4 May 2019. The students booked 15 acts from all across Lincolnshire and raised over £1,200 to pay for the musicians. Audience members complimented the students for their professionalism, engagement and public-facing friendliness.

The students themselves were thrilled and felt they had learned a lot from the process:

‘The experience of creating/organizing a festival… is extremely satisfying.’

‘I liked the ability to… operate as a professional individual… and learn about the importance of personal connection, marketing strategies and efficient time management.’

The combination of active learning, personal engagement and creative teamwork allowed the students to fulfil their roles as producers, contributing to the 100% rate of overall student satisfaction in the 2019 NSS and setting the bar high for next year’s festival.

Festival Instagram page:
Festival Facebook page:
Festival Website:

Caption: Year 3 students, part of the 13-strong Nebula Festival 2019 team

Caption: Nebula Festival 2019 poster. Designed by Emily Bourne, illustrations by Oliver Huckle

Caption: Joe Dickinson playing with Ramprasad at Nebula Festival 2018. Photo by Sophie Hillman