Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2017 Impact Report


Reporting and Evaluation

This study, by KPMG in India, was conducted after the third edition of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale in 2017. It looks at the socio-cultural impact of the visual arts festival on various stakeholders that either directly or indirectly participate in the event.

Key Findings

  • Socio-cultural impact: The Kochi-Muziris Biennale (KMB) has provided immense encouragement to the local talent in Kerala and opened international doors for budding artists. It has also been successful at triggering the interest of multiple Indian as well as global artists in Kochi, helping position it as a cultural centre in the country. The biennale has led to a spurt of domestic as well as international tourists in Kerala. Venues hosting events have been re-energised as a consequence. Apart from the programmes of the Kochi Biennale Foundation, the KMB has hosted many groups of students from schools and colleges around the world.
  • Economic Impact: According to an independent survey conducted by the KMB, over 70 per cent of the artists had a crew size greater than one for the production of artworks, many also collaborating with local artists. There were also volunteers who found jobs as a result of the biennale. The survey showed that around 62 per cent of the international tourists attending the KMB were visiting Kerala for the first time. The rise in tourist arrivals in the state has directly benefitted operators of various modes of transportation such as airways, railways, roadways, auto-rickshaws and ferries. Of the total number of homestays in Kerala, 35 per cent have been opened in the last five years. The KMB has also benefitted other business services such as general stores, tour operators and clothes and souvenir shops.
  • Impact on physical form of the city: Morphological dimension, visual dimension and perceptual dimension are the three discernible dimensions of the impact of the KMB on the physical form of the city. The morphological dimension begins with the venues for the event. The Aspinwall House, David Hall, Pepper House and Durbar Hall were identified in Fort Kochi and transformed into venues for art, with support from the government, private patrons and local businesses. These restorations not only translated into economic benefits for the construction industry but also led to an appreciation of the old. A change in physical form, by default, results in a makeover for the visual dimension of a city. In Fort Kochi, a resurgence of heritage architecture, possibly inspired by the biennale venue restorations, has been increasing over the years. The other more direct consequence is in the casual infusion of art in public spaces. Under the perceptual dimension, the KMB adds more layers to create unique content for the city while Kochi continues to draw its identity from its historic traditions of cultural pluralism. Also, in drawing attention to Muziris, it blurs the boundaries further to create a new urban milieu that is capable of generating exciting responses while connecting with a glorious past.


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