Viva magazine column - Birds and Beasts

My Built Brighton column in Viva magazine this month focused on the many varied animals that can be found on the buildigs around Brighton and Hove.

It was a joy to write and also the chance to come full circle with my Brighton Look Up project, started some four years ago, as it was a chance to bring together all those dogs, cats, birds, insects, and a flamingo, that can be found 'living' amongst us in the city. 

Read the feature here - go to the back page and work back to page 97. 

TEDxIndianapolis talk now online

This April, I was part of TEDxIndianaplis, talking on the scale of placemaking from the bottom-up, the placemaking and civic agency of local people and of artists. 

The talk is now online and can be viewed here

It was an honour to be asked to participate and to be on that stage, shared with so many great speakers that day, as it felt like a home-from-home homecoming. The place and the people of Indy, not least those of Big Car, have had such an important and inspirational role in my PhD research and since, I was able to give something back to them in this tribute. 

 

 

Cheltenham Literary Festival

Delighted to be asked to join a panel at the Chelthenham Literary Festival, on 11th October, to talk The Archers, with a very esteemed guest alongside! 

Tickets will be on sale in due course, but in the meantime, this to whet your appetite: 

'Charting the ups and downs in the lives of residents of rural Ambridge, The Archers has captured record numbers of listeners for over 60 years. So what is the secret behind its enduring success? Cara Courage, co-founder of The Academic Archers conference, and Tim Bentinck, best known for his role as David Archer in the drama, speak to Paddy O’Connell about the world’s longest-running radio soap and its influence upon our contemporary culture.'

Arts in Place - free for the next 60 days!

In collaboration with Readcube, my Arts in Place book on my research into social practice placemaking and case studies in London, Dublin and Indianpailos, published with Routledge, is available for free download for the next 60 days. 

Its in PDF form and can be downloaded here

 

Academic Archers - book 2

Dr Nicola Headlam and myself are delighted to be working with Emerald to publish the second  Academic Archers book, out in the Autumn. 

Custard, Culverts and Cake: Academics of life in The Archers is the collected volume of papers from the 2017 Academic Archers conference, a sometimes serious and most often wry look at the people of Ambridge, and each chapter satirically peer-reviewed by one of those residents.

The book comes out of the 2017 Academic Archers conference that featured leading scholars in their fields that merged their love of The Archers with their specialist subjects, from aspects of the Helen and Rob story, through to food, geography, social media and faith.

The book blurs the line between The Archers being fictitious and Ambridge being a real place in a county called Borsetshire, deliberately obscuring boundaries between fact and fiction. It gives the reader a fuller understanding of the real life issues covered in the programme, a deeper insight into the residents of Ambridge, and the validation that their hours of listening to The Archers is indeed academic research.

To keep up to date with all things Academic Archers, head over to its website and sign up to its newsletter. 

IJAMCP paper

I have a paper published in Volume 4 of the Irish Journal of Arts Management and Cultural Policy. The paper focuses on my Dublin case study research as part of my PhD, Art Tunnel Smithfield, and is concerned with art practice, process, and new urbanism in Dublin. 

The journal is open access and the paper available to download

 

Abstract

This paper presents research with Art Tunnel Smithfield (ATS), Dublin, positioning it in Dublin-wide placemaking practices, and situating it within the city’s tracts of vacant land and Dublin’s bespoke new urbanism. It focuses on the project as a form of social arts practice, giving examples of arts activities and agencies in the space, and locating the work within placemaking typology as ‘social practice placemaking’ (SPPM). SPPM is conceptualised as an extension of participatory public/new genre public art (Lacy, 2008) to a ‘new situationism’ (Doherty, 2004). This perspective views the co-production of art as constructive of new spatial configurations and emergent relations between users and space. Locating this work in the socio-politics of urban life, SPPM has to be understood as an art form that dematerializes the built object and is concerned with creative and social processes and outcomes.

Creative Placemaking and Beyond book

I am delighted to say that Dr Anita McKeown and I will be publishing a book of papers from our conference sessions at Royal Geographic Society and American Association of Geographers, Creative Placemaking and Beyond. The book will be out Spring 2018, published by Routledge. 

The arts-driven placemaking sector has reached a moment in both maturity and diversity where it demands a critique and deeper understanding of practice. Specifically focusing on notions of creative placemaking (Markusen & Gadwa, 2010) and Social Practice Placemaking (Courage, 2016) towards arts-led resilient practices (McKeown, 2015 ), this book addresses the vital need for theorists to be in dialogue with practitioners to create dynamic feedback loops that inform theory and practice .

This book curates a range of scholars and artist-scholars to present socially practiced, co-produced and citizen-led placemakings as a response to a bottom-up need or desire rather than a top-down imposition, with artists, participants and a range of creatives and other professions form ecologies of practice. If Creative Placemaking is to contribute to places-in-the-making (Silberberg, 2013) and encourage citizen-led agency new conceptual frameworks and practical methodologies will be required, advocating transdisciplinary, resilient processes and new models of theory and practice.  

 

USA book, conference and TEDx tour

I am currently in the US, travelling on a conference, research, book and talks tour. 

Starting in Boston, with a session at American Association of Geographers annual conference, and a session co-chaired with Dr Anita McKeown, Metrics of place: measuring and evaluating placemaking, we were honoured to be joined by Sunil Iyengar, National Endowment for the Arts, and Vinita Goyal. 

I then travelled to Charlottesville to workshop the draft of my creative placemaking metrics report to colleagues from Thriving Cities and University of Virginia and from the county creative and place sector. 

Now in Indianapolis, coming up is a talk on my research in Indianapolis with Big Car to the Strong Indianapolis cohort, part of the USA-wide Strong Towns group, and a TEDxIndianapolis talk on placemaking and its social role in healing divisions around place identity. 

CfP RFS 2017: Decolonising placemaking knowledges: considering global placemaking

Convenors: Dr Cara Courage, and Dr Anita McKeown

Paper/panel session at Royal Geographical Society 2017 Annual International Conference, London, Tuesday 29 August to Friday 1 September 2017.

Placemaking as a practice and philosophy has been written about extensively since the 1970s, in the main by US, UK and European scholars and practitioners. This session aims to open the consideration of placemaking from a global perspective, through papers from global practitioners and projects from the non-Western, non-Northern hemisphere.

Attempts to humanise the process of spatial planning and design (Healey, 2011, 2010) has evolved with the re-emergence of the importance of place (Casey, 1998) and post-colonial discourse. The potential to engage creative, collaborative and ecological practices within placemaking’s processes (Schneekloth and Shibley, 1995; Silberberg, 2013; Wright, 2005) become necessities if we are to combat the negative impacts of planetary urbanisation, anthropocentric climate change and social justice and cohesion.

Broader philosophical definitions such as ‘retrospective world-building’ (Basso, 1996:5) the creation of a meaningful humanly authored world (Tuan, 1976), ‘daily acts of renovating, maintaining, and representing the places that sustain us" (Schneekloth and Shibley, 1995:274) and ‘to create a sense of belonging through place’ (Silberberg, 2013) further complicate the relationship between professionals, residents and the practice of placemaking.

From this perspective what placemaking knowledges have yet to be integrated into current practices and thinking? How might global placemaking, in particular practices and processes of placemaking from non-Western/non-Northern hemisphere countries, Indigenous practices, feminist practices and more expand the current discourse?

The session forms a panel/paper session from a broad range of fields and perspectives presenting short provocations that explore and share the concerns of such practices and how these practices can lead thinking on issues in placemaking faced in US/UK/Europe today. The panel/papers will be followed by world café breakout sessions to discuss the issues raised by the panellists with the sessions attendees.

If you are interested in joining the panel/submitting a paper, please submit an abstract for consideration, of no more than 250 words, with a short biog, by Friday, 10th February, to cara@caracourage.net and anita@smartlab-ie.com.

Successful applicants will be informed by 13th February, to confirm attendance by 16th February. Regretfully, particularly in light of the topic, no funding is available to support national or international travel so those interested should only submit an abstract if they are able to self/institution/organisation fund. 

Academic Archers 2017 conference

February 2017 sees the second Academic Archers conference, this time held over two days and including a field trip, and hosted by University of Lincoln, with thirty-two academics from all fields and across the UK, gathering to talk on a subject that crosses their discipline boundaries, Radio 4’s The Archers.

The Archers in fact and fiction: Academic analyses of life in rural Borsetshire takes an academic perspective on life in Ambridge and Borsetshire, with papers from across academic disciplines, from social media, education, religion, the negative aspects of competing at Flower and Produce shows, birdwatching, class and masculinity in Ambridge, eating disorders and dietary health, flood resilience, social status and perceptions of physicality, and family dysfunctionality.

Unsurprisingly, the conference is dedicating a whole strand to the Helen and Rob story line, with papers covering coercive and controlling relationships, the disablement of Rob Titchener, nurturing traditional gender roles in The Archers, music and the ‘soundtrack to a stabbing’ and forensic Blood Pattern Analysis (BPA) at Blossom Hill Cottage. This sits alongside strands on Genteel country hobbies?, Educating Ambridge, The geography of Ambridge, Power relationships, Bereavement and spirituality and Ambridge online.

Taking place over Friday 17th to Saturday 18th of February 2017, the Friday evening sees a field trip to one of the places considered to be an Ambridge birth place, Rippingale, for a film, talk and meal at The Bull Inn. 

The full programme can be found here and listed below. The book of papers from the first conference, with reviews by The Archers characters can be found in bookshops and online

To register to attend the conference please go to the University of Lincoln shop page at http://lncn.eu/AA2017

Conference Fee – £50. This rate includes entry to all of the conference presentations as well as refreshments throughout the conference and lunch on both days. If the conference is over- subscribed a waiting list system will be available. Friday evening trip to Rippingale including conference dinner - £30 (including return travel, talk and a film on how the village inspired the programme, and The Archers-themed menu at The Bull Inn). 

Accommodation is NOT included in the conference fee, but a wide range of accommodation to suit all requirements and budgets is available in the city of Lincoln at http://www.visitlincoln.com/stay

The University of Lincoln has secured a preferential rate for Academic Archers conference delegates with the Holiday Inn Express Lincoln City Centre http://www.expresslincoln.co.uk/ for the night of Friday 17th February 2017. This is very close to the conference venue, and 50 rooms are available at £70.00 per room, per night on a first-come-first-served basis. This rate includes breakfast, WiFi and VAT. Car parking, if required, is £5.00 per vehicle, per night, payable on arrival at reception. Lincoln is a lovely city and if you decided to make a weekend of it and stay Saturday night as well, there are also 20 rooms available at £95 per room per night for Saturday 18th February, also on a first-come- first-served basis.

To book at this rate, call 0871 902 1617 option 5 which will bring you straight through to the Holiday Inn Express Lincoln City Centre Team. When booking your room please let them know that you are booking as part of The Academic Archers Conference. Payment will be taken in full at the time of booking and is non-refundable once paid. This rate cannot be booked via the website, any third party or via the central reservations team. You can book at this rate up to and including the day of Monday 23rd January 2017. Please remember that accommodation is not included in the conference fee and needs to be paid for separately.

2017 Schedule: 

Session 1 – Genteel country hobbies? – Chair Dr Cara Courage

Daniels & Maddison Warren: “My parsnips are bigger than your parsnips”: The negative aspects of competing at Flower and Produce shows.

Dobson: ‘Big telephoto lens, small ticklist’: birdwatching, class and masculinity in Ambridge.

Michael: The Ambridge Paradox: inverse correlations between cake consumption and incidence of metabolic disorders in a defined rural population.

Session 2 – Educating Ambridge – Chair Professor Carenza Lewis

Lefebvrere: Ambridge as Metaphor: Sharing the mission and Values of a 21st century library.

Turner & Bage: We Don’t Need No Education - the absence of primary education in the Archers.

Macdonald-Smith: Phoebe goes to Oxford.

 

Session 3 – The Geography of Ambridge – Chair Professor Carenza Lewis

Connelly: ‘I’m an Archer, get me out of here!’: assessing Ambridge’s flood resilience.

Gleed: After the Flood: how can Ambridge residents develop resilience to future flooding.

Nicholls: Placing Ambridge in the West Midlands – Geography, Identity and Culture (pre-field trip think-piece).

Field Trip and dinner (optional)

 Latham: Rippingale and the Origin of The Archers, followed by dinner at The Bull Inn, Rippingale.

Session 4 – Helen ’n’ Rob - Chair Dr Cara Courage

     Runswick-Cole & Wood: Bag of the devil: the disablement of Rob Titchener.

     Medland: Culinary Coercion; nurturing traditional gender roles in Ambridge.

      Campion: Coercive and controlling relationships: the case of Helen and Rob.

     Jarman & Baker: Soundtrack to a stabbing: what Rob’s choice of music over dinner tells us about why he          ended up spilling the custard.  

      O’Connor: – Forensic blood pattern analysis at Blossom Hill Cottage

     Taylor: Dietary provision for pregnancy and lactation in women’s prisons: an illustration from the case of Helen Archer

      Keynote : Brown: A legal perspective on ‘Helen & Rob’

 

Session 5 – Power relationships - Chair Dr Peter Matthews

 Goode & Courage: Does personal and social status affect perceptions of physicality? Or, The Archers and big willies.

Gillies & Burrows: Ambridge – a case study in using genograms to assess family dysfunctionality.

Headlam: The Small Worlds of Ambridge: Power, Networks & Actants.

Session 6 – Bereavement and spirituality – Chair Dr Nicola Headlam

 Hustler: “God in Ambridge” – The Archers as Rural Theology.

Janssen & Heilbronn: Freddie Pargiter - underachiever?.

Meyer: The Archers as lieux de memoire of the Great War in Britain.

 

Session 7 – Ambridge Online - Chair - Dr Cara Courage

 Coles-Kemp and Ashenden: ‘An everyday story of country folk’ online? The marginalisation of the Internet and social media in The Archers.

Vandyk: ‘An everyday story of country folk’ online? The marginalisation of social media in The Archers

Turner: Being @borsetpolice: proposing an (auto)ethnographic understanding of Archers fan fiction on Twitter

 

 

Academic Archers book out!

The Archers in fact and fiction: Academic analyses of life in rural Borsetshire, edited by Cara Courage, Nicola Headlam and Peter Matthews, is published today by Peter Lang.

Academic Archers front cover.jpg

The book takes an academic perspective on BBC Radio 4’s The Archers and life in Ambridge and Borsetshire and comes from the Academic Archers conference held in February this year. Each chapter is based on one of the conference papers, reaching across academic disciplines and topics from analyses of rural accents and archelogy, through to back pain and the ergonomics of the tractor, a Shakespearian understanding of character Rob Titchener, and issues of social care and class.

In a twist to the academic peer review, each chapter closes with a peer review from the character that is its focus or that is closest to the topic, responses ranging from praising, the humble brag to the indignant and confused.

Cara comments: ‘It’s been to joy to work on this book and thank you to everyone that has been a part of it. As with everything Academic Archers it’s been a fun process, the peer reviews in particular have brought tears of laugher.’

We are doing this out of a love for the programme, and of our subjects, the day intended to join the two to illuminate and explain life in Ambridge and using the programme to talk about wider social issues too.’

Nicola continues: ‘We always knew that there were a lot of Archers fans out there in academia, Academic Archers has formed a place for us and all fans of the programme to talk about the issues it raises in more depth’.

Peter also comments: ‘The response from Archers listeners has been overwhelmingly positive and we’re looking forward to the responses to this book and to the next conference.’

The book is available in bookshops and online

For more on Academic Archers, please visit its Facebook page - https://www.facebook.com/groups/AcademicArchers/ - and join in the conversation there and via #AcademicArchers. 

 

Book chapters

Cara Courage, Nicola Headlam and Peter Matthews - Introduction to Academic Archers: The Birth of a New Academic Community

Lyn Thomas - The Archers and its Listeners in the Twenty-First Century: Drama, Nostalgia and the Rural Everyday

William Barras - Rural Voices: What Can Borsetshire Tell Us about Accent Change?

Neil Mansfield and Lauren Morgan - Tony Archer the Farmer: The Toll of Life as an Agricultural Worker and Changing Technology in Modern Farming

Abi Pattenden - Seeming, Seeming: Othello, The Archers and Rob Titchener

Helen M. Burrows - An Everyday Story of Dysfunctional Families: Using The Archers in Social Work Education

Carenza Lewis and Clemency Cooper - Dig The Archers: What Community Archaeological Excavations Can Achieve in Places like Ambridge

Philippa Byrne - The Medieval World of The Archers, William Morris and the Problem with Class Struggle

Chris Perkins - Mapping Ambridge

Peter Matthews - Lynda Snell, Class Warrior: Social Class and Community Activism in Rural Borsetshire

Jo Moriarty - The Death of Heather Pritchard: An Everyday Story of Inadequate Social Care

Deborah Bowman - From Dr Locke’s Boundaries to Carol’s Confession: On Medical Ethics in The Archers

Samantha Walton - Cider with Grundy: On the Community Orchard in Ambridge

Katherine Runswick-Cole - The Dis/appearance of Disability in The Archers … or Why Bethany had to go to Birmingham

Nicola Headlam, with Cara Courage and Peter Matthews - Conclusion: Academic Archers as a Fine-Detailed, Open, Cross-Disciplinary Space

 

Creative Placemaking metrics research with UVA

This month I start a new research role, with University of Virginia, Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture and the Thriving Cities Project, a three-phased project that is looking at the scope of creative placemaking.

Over the past several years, the rise of creative placemaking (CPM) within community development has captured the attention of artists, cities, and community activists. However, as CPM has gained popularity, questions over the definition and effectiveness of CPM have grown. At this point in time, there is a need within the fields of the arts and community development to draw the various scholarly and popular definitions and assessments of Creative Placemaking (CPM) into one place. The scope of this project is provide the foundational work for collecting and examining the different approaches and designations of CPM into one place.

The first phase of the project is a mapping CPM field. That is, what are the main uses and major theoretical camps of CPM and how is CPM often deployed in practice and by whom? What too are the determinants of success (i.e. what metrics are used in evaluation) that accompany the different variations of CPM?

The second phase will identify gaps in the field, what CPM as a whole often misses in relation to art and community development, its unchallenged assumptions, and known deficits. This phase will then go on to signpost emerging frontiers of research, practice, and assessment that are either aiming to fill the gaps articulated or that are happening in response to other developments.

The third and final phase will offer interpretations and recommendations. The interpretation will be of the conceptualization and corresponding quantitative and qualitative assessment of CPM. The recommendations will offer a slate of 10-15 best metrics (along with rationales) for evaluating CPM projects in particular and cultural vitality in general.

The research questions are as follows:

1.       How is creative placemaking defined? What, if any, are the main theoretical camps in these definitions?

2.       What claims are made of creative placemaking outcomes and outputs?

3.       How is creative placemaking measured? What are the metrics applied? What are the gaps or anomalies in this activity?

4.       What creative placemaking projects represent best practice in outcomes/outputs and evaluations/metrics?

If you would like to contribute to this research, by way of sources, definitions, project examples, metric examples (either in placemaking or from another sector that would be a source of learning) or opinion for example, please get in touch. Please also share this post with colleagues far and wide.

The research project will be completed by January 2017.

If you would like to be part of this project, please contact Cara via this website or email me via clc5ee@virginia.edu. 

Placemaking and heritage

This week I was part of a panel brought together by RSA Brighton and Hove, to talk at its Are we making the most of our heritage assets in the south east? event, held at The Royal Pavilion, Brighton.

The panel was comprised of Gareth Maeer, Head of Research, the Heritage Lottery Fund; Janita Bagshawe, Head of Royal Pavilion and Museums Brighton; Jonathan Schifferes, Associate Director, Public Services and Communities, the RSA; Isilda Almeida-Harvey, Outreach and Learning Officer, East Sussex Record Office at The Keep; and myself.

Questions of the evening were: what will heritage look like in 50 years’ time?; how can we connect our heritage to place-based growth?; how do we leverage heritage assets for the best economic, as well as social, outcomes?; what type of dividend is it reasonable to expect from our heritage assets?; and how will we preserve the long-term future of our assets?

My response to this focused on cultural activities and placemaking, my short speech given below, starting with an introduction to a current placemaking and heritage project of mine, Modern Brighton and Hove map. 

________

 

Modern Brighton and Hove is in its material form a map of architecture of note from the last 100 years in the city. It’s a project that I am working on with Paul Zara from Conran&Partners, fellow RSA Fellow, placemaker Richard Wolfstrome, and Brighton-based architectural photographer, Jim Stephenson.

The double-sided map will feature around 50 buildings from all over the city, from art deco and Modernist of the 30’s to contemporary architecture from this century. It will include images of these buildings, a note on what they are, who the architect was and why the building is considered significant – and significant here does not just mean ‘big’ or ‘obvious’ - and it will have an introduction putting contemporary architecture in architectural context and in the context of the city’s history.

We crowdsourced the longlist of buildings with RIBA members; and gathered a curatorial panel to decide on the final listing. Buildings include anything from residential builds from the 30’s such as Embassy Court and Furze Hill, to the Library, some contentious ones too, such as New England House and Kings West and the Odeon, and the i360, and education and religious builds, from Sussex University to the Reform Synagogue.

But the map is more than its material form. The map is designed to be used as a walking exploration of the city and its heritage built environment through its contemporary architecture.

It will have trails by area and architecture type for people to walk. It will have a public engagement programme running alongside it.

It also tells a different story to the one usually said about Brighton and Hove, that of its more distant Victorian and Regency past. It will include centres of regeneration such as New England House, it will include self-builds and social housing and new builds, and eco houses and the Waste House.

The map then is a heritage activity. And it’s the notion of cultural activity that my response to these questions focuses on.

To be able to know what our heritage of the future will look like, we need to discuss the nature of our past, present and future and our cultural values around this, how they shape what we deem to be heritage. Those were large discussions we had in forming the map, and it’s an aim of the map to generate these questions in those that use it too.

So when I think of heritage, I not only think of building stock, but of cultural activities – and these have a huge part to play in making the city the place that it is, giving it that sense of place that so many are attracted to, and has kept me here for 23 years. Our cultural activities are anything from Pride and Trans Pride and the Children’s Parade to the nudist beach and paddle boarding to the Festival and Fringe, and the numerous community festivals that take place across all the neighbourhoods here, and the city-wide street art gallery.

Heritage can be big and small too. Up the hill from here we have the demolished and replaced Amex buildings. Just further along from them, ‘Rest Awhile On Your Journey’, the orange wavy bench placed at Ashton Rise, in memory of Paul Hooker, who was the Vice Chair of the Tarner Area Partnership, the group specifically dedicated to the needs of the Tarner area. Both big and small, and in equally valid ways, what the Amex and wavy bench heritage represents affects and has affected many thousands of people, economically and socially.

My response to questions on how to work with built heritage as an asset, for social or economic growth, my response is again a cultural one, and in that, using the method of a truly participative placemaking to uncover the meaning of place for people, as well as shape that place with those people too.

Placemaking is both a framework and a hands on tool then for working with place old and new. It addresses not just urban design but the physical, cultural, and social identities that define a place. At its best it’s a collaborative process that joins all stake holders of a place.

Its bespoke too, responding to the heritage and sense of place that is unique to that place.

Placemaking will show you that there is no universal method for working with heritage. It will show you though thousands of examples, of all scales and sites, of all sizes of budgets, from all over the world, that harness creative and community skills and knowledges to work with place and to make it better.

Not all have an economic imperative, and not all should. To have positive social outcomes is valid in its own right. Yet with or without an economic imperative, placemaking – if done properly - can contribute to the health of a place – cultural and community and individual, and as a consequence, an economic benefit too.

Placemaking demands for people not to be satisfied with the first designs that they see; to not be satisfied with ‘anywhere architecture’ that belies the architectural and cultural character of a place; and to demand more by way of consultation than a formal and controlled exercise of CAD images on foam board, on display for certain hours of limited days

It demands that people, get hands on with these issues together, to create and shape the places that people really want to be in, whether that’s to work, play, live or shop in.

Thinking of the situation in the city right now, this city will look very different in five, ten, fifty years’ time. New demands are being made of the heritage assets that we have here and these are pressing to respond to the changing functions we have of the city pertaining to housing, infrastructure, and all types of businesses, as well as the more overarching wellbeing of the city’s residents.

The map is one mechanism for the debate of what the city will look like in the short and long term.

 

Call for Papers - second Academic Archers conference

Call for Papers: The Archers in fact and fiction: Academic analyses of life in rural Borsetshire

Dr Cara Courage, University of Virginia, and Dr Nicola Headlam, University of Oxford, with Prof Carenza Lewis, University of Lincoln, invite the submission of abstracts to a seminar on the subject of BBC Radio 4’s The Archers.

The second Academic Archers seminar will feature a strand on the Helen and Rob storyline alongside papers from any and all other aspects of life in Ambridge and Borsetshire. Submissions are invited from any academic discipline and of the following formats:

·         Keynote (45 minutes, incl. Q+A)

·         Paper (15 minutes with 5 minute Q+A)

·         Quick pitches (5 minutes)

Papers might include but are by no means limited to:

·         Clicktivism and crowd-sourcing philanthropy

·         Archers tribes – ethnographic accounts of a fandom differentiated by online activity

·         The housing crisis in South Borsetshire

·         Route B as “local democracy as usual”

·         Are all educated older women permanently stoned?

·         Rural and village economics, from the village store to agribusiness

·         Divisions of labour on a family farm

·         The implications of coercive control for the legal and penal system

This list is not meant to be exclusive or exhaustive, but is meant to inspire you to think how your academic research, sector professional expertise or listener forensic knowledge of The Archers can illuminate and explain life in Ambridge and Borsetshire. The day is intended to give fans of The Archers a platform to exercise their love of the programme and their subject area.

The seminar will take place at University of Lincoln, 17th to 19th February 2017 and will include a field trip.

If you are a fellow Archers fan and/or academic please submit your abstract of 200 words to cara@caracourage.net, headlams@gmail.com and clewis@lincoln.ac.uk by 1st November, indicating the type of presentation you are intending. Programming will be determined by an Academic Archers panel and will be communicated by mid-November.

Further information on Academic Archers can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/AcademicArchers/.

 

AAG 2017 CfP - Metrics of place: measuring and evaluating placemaking

DR Anita McKeown and I will be back at AAG next year and have a call for papers out for that addressing issues of measuring and evaluating placemaking, details below: 

AAG 2017 CfP - Metrics of place: measuring and evaluating placemaking
American Association of Geographers annual conference, 5th to 9th April 2017, Boston

This session asks what metrics of placemaking, and in accordance with the co-convenors particular research interests, creative placemaking, are and how they are being measured.

The ‘creative’ in urban planning is a ‘fuzzy’ ‘buzzword’ (Lilliendahl Larsen, 2014, p.330), one that is used systemically through concepts of vitality and vibrancy to articulate how arts and culture change the qualities of place, such as with the Vitality Indices in the US and UK (Gilmore, 2014, p.20), Arts Council England’s recent metrics, and Vital Signs Evaluative Matrix (McKeown, 2015). In the culturised city (Zukin, 2009), culture and ‘the arts’ become part of the city’s symbolic and fiscal economy. Creativity in the city though is also a site of resistance to culturisation, a ‘call and response among different social groups’ (Zukin, 1995, p.264) to find, create and maintain sites of different cultural value through new city visualisations (Stern, in Lowe and Stern, in Finkelpearl, 2013, p.146). Further, existing paradigms (Scientific/Social Science) and their evaluative aims maybe irrelevant.  Placemaking occurs within a complex dynamic system – with causal relationships difficult to establish and baselines from which to measure impact hard to define within dynamic non-stable contexts existing evaluation aims, creative acts of placemaking may require an entirely new approach. 

The session aims to include both qualitative and quantitative research and project evaluations, as well as methodologies, from researchers and sector professionals, as well as critiques of the same. 

Please submit an abstract for consideration, of no more than 250 words, by 24th October, to cara@caracourage.net and anita@smartlab-ie.com. Successful applicants will be informed by 7th November for their timely registration to AAG 2017.

Please note: all presenter places at the conference will need to be self-funded, with registration fees paid in advance, November 2017. 

RGS 2016

This last week saw Dr Anita McKeown, University College Dublin, and I convene two sessions over four panels at the Royal Geographical Society international conference. These curated sessions looked through two lens into the meeting of arts and geography through theory, research and practice, papers from academics, artists and artist-academics – and presented as both prose, verse, performance and film – and closed with a world café group discussion on issues raised in the day and around this converging of practices in general.

Feedback from participants and audience alike has been overwhelmingly positive and long-lasting connections were made on the day. Anita and I certainly have a lot to think on now about how to progress these ideas further and will be working with the group to do so – watch this space!

The day started with ‘Sensory orientations: transversal practices and dissemination within art and geography’:

·         Breaking the Frame: Spatial Ideology and Resistant Practice-led Research Approaches, Lucy Livingstone (University of Northumbria, UK)

·         Guide74: a mountain recording activity, Luce Choules (Independent Artist)

·         Collaborative Narration –An Artist's Practice, Jane Dudman (Newcastle University, UK)

·         (Re)Art (Re)Geography (Re)Performance, Charlie Rawson (Independent Artist)

The following three panels were under the ‘The Nexus of Art and Geography: practice as research’ session:

·         Art without artists? An experiment in facilitating community-led arts commissioning, Phil Jones (University of Birmingham, UK)

·         A translocal approach to dialogue-based art, Rachelle Knowles (Coventry University, UK)

·         Qualitative representation in the space between arts practice and geography, John Stell (University of Leeds, UK)

·         CRYSTALLINE - The Arctic Circle, Siobhan McDonald (Independent Artist)

·         Interrogating Territory: Borders, fictions and contradictions, Anne Gough (Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden)

·         Brokering Connections: public art as a nexus of knowledge production, Elaine Speight (University of Central Lancashire, UK)

·         Mapping the Scottish Borders: collaborative art practices, Inge Panneels (Northumbria University, UK)

·         Always Outsiders: Map-less Social Practice Art in the Ancient Landscape of a Global Geopark, Stephen Pritchard (Northumbria University)

·         Bodies of Water, Amy Sharrocks (Independent Artist)

·         Visualising Changing Identities, Communities and Labour Practices on Dublins' Docks, Moira Sweeney (Dublin Institute of Technology, Ireland)

·         Expeditions as Art: Impacts of Fieldwork by Artist-Geographers in Our New Ecological Reality, Andrew Ranville (Independent Artist)

·         Breaks, flows, interruptions: Discovering new questions through collaborative research, Sally Labern and Bobby Lloyd (The Drawing Shed)

Walk a Mile in Her Veil

This weekend at the Walking Women festival as part of Somerset House’s Utopia programme, I was given the opportunity to wear a burka, through Yasmeen Sabri and her Walk a Mile in Her Veil project.

What follows below is a prose piece on the thoughts and emotions I was feeling in the hours after wearing the burka. It is offered not as any definitive position on wearing the veil – that position is not for me to take and nor would I advocate for any such a reductive reasoning. Nor is this offered as any form of ‘dress up’ cultural appropriation or as an act of white, western cultural imperialism. It is offered as an account of the experience from my intersectional self – I had my own conflicted feminist thoughts on the veil and it felt imperative, on being offered the chance to wear one, that I should take this to give me a slight insight into it as an embodied experience at least.

I am aware my terminology for the elements of the burka are clumsy – I have found conflicting terms for the components of the burka online so remain unsure how to navigate around this and have used the words we used in conversation on the day. I also refer to the category of woman in the widest understanding.

I first put on the dress of the burka. Wore it as a smock over my clothes. It was light and roomy. Lots of room in the arms – I didn’t know if I was expecting this or not. It was down to my feet and I walked a few steps, a naturally ‘wading’ motion as it felt so long I was cautious to not step on it.

On putting on the eye veil, the first thing I noticed was its pressing against my eye lashes. It was pressing them down and into my eyes slightly. It felt very close to my skin, very ‘on me’. I adjusted it slightly and it became comfortable. The veil was like gauze. I could still see, but it was a black filter to my vision.

The veil was tied close but not tight to my head. The smock was then pulled up and over my head from its material around my shoulders. I noticed then the layers of the smock and the veil more, how different the textures of the fabrics were. Yasmeen then took strands of the fabric at the head of the smock and moved these under the head covering and behind my ears to tie the strands behind the head covering, again, close but not too tight to my head. We laughed that she was battling against my quiff and worked to hide it. She then moved away and I realised I was dressed.

I walked to the mirror – I emerged into its frame and did not see myself. I was there but I did not recognise myself. I was a black form of my height, my shape, such as it was, beginning from my head in a gentle triangle. I could see my hands holding my phone. But not my wrists or forearms. I could see the toe of one shoe. I could see my eyes in the shadow behind the veil. I found it hard to look at myself then.

I turned to look around. I took some steps. It was easier to walk now. It felt very much that I was ‘looking out’. Sound was slightly muffled. Sight was through the black filter, but not dark or darkened – colour was still bright. No one looked at me – I did not know if this was ‘cos they weren’t looking or weren’t caring, of if the veil made me invisible or if, as this was an ‘activity’ at a conference, they were blind or blasé to me.

I wanted to look at myself again now. It was easier this time. I looked more closely at myself as a figure and at the detailing of the veil. It had sparkles on its hem. I tuned side to side, as I would looking in the mirror when trying any garment on. My feeling then was of an appreciation of this garment. It was comfortable around my body. But it was starting to get hot. I noticed how tired and old my eyes looked –‘even’ under the veil, there was vanity. I found my eyes hard to look at, I was confronting issues of myself by only being able to zone in on them in the gaze I scrutinized on myself.

I recalled how one person I thought would be challenged by the hijab, on eyeing someone wear it, they way to understand it was to say it was no different than their mother wearing a headscarf. I did not know if that was a good or bad way of understanding – it was culturally reductive but also, if it helped them normalise the veil in their purview, was that, in its limited way, a good thing?

Yasmeen told me how some women took food and ate under the veil. Someone next to me asked how people wore glasses and the veil.

I lifted the gauze veil over my head in an effort to get fresh air. This did give some relief. I sat down. A woman next to me in a hijab and I talked about how we felt safe wearing our scarfs and veils. Taking it off felt exposing.

Wearing it felt different, but not odd. I felt separate and abstracted, but the diversion, the break from the male gaze, was welcome and comfortable, I felt safe and protected. I reflected too that whist I no longer felt the individual and direct lascivious male gaze on me in my daily life as an object of desire, I do feel the omnipotent and structural male gaze on me that shames me for my body size and shape. I realised this was just like when I wear my ‘big clothes’ when I am self body shaming. Though I did not think this was a motivation for others necessarily, I wondered if this reprieve from being on show was welcomed in others as it was with me. We talked about how if you wear the veil you can and should be able to wear it as you wish; how telling someone to wear it, or not wear it, was an equal act against a woman’s autonomy. The experience was profound and ambivalent. I felt honoured to have had the experience, to ‘walk a mile in her veil’, and the opportunity for it as a means of cultural understanding. Later, from a sense of weighty and immense connection to my woman self and the women of the world, I wanted to cry. 

Expression of interest - call for artists

Papplewick Green and Annesley Festival of Place and schools workshops: call for artists expressions of interest

 

This document comprises the information to calls for expressions of interest for projects across twos sites in the Ashfield area of Nottinghamshire. Artists are invited to respond to one or both of the opportunities, and if responding to both, indicate how a programme of linked activity could be formed.

 

1 – Festival of Place

Precis

The communities of Papplewick Green and Annesley, Nottinghamshire, are involved in a creative public consultation for public art and placemaking interventions on two new, large-scale housing developments.

As part of this consultation process, a day of creative and place-based activities will be held at the end of July to engage the communities in the place in which they live. The purpose of these days and activities is to foster and galvanise a sense of place on the new housing developments and to begin conversations about the commissioning of public art/placemaking interventions on these sites. As new housing developments, these are new communities, so these days will offer an opportunity for neighbours to meet, as well as for conversation about the public art commissions to take place.

Site information and indicative images can be found below. The commissioning is taking place through Open Plan and consultants Cara Courage and Richard Wolfstrome, for Ashfield District Council.

Artists commissions

We are seeking socially -orientated arts activities for all ages that will engage residents, though creative activities and interventions, principally in where they live and, more widely, the public art/placemaking commissions (principally, what form they might take, where they might be sited).

These activities can be from any artform and delivered through performance, installation or workshop for example.

Activities will take place during a weekend day (Saturday, 10th September, Annesley; Sunday, 11th September, Papplewick Green) and should be suitable for all ages, in mixed or age-specific groups. There is the potential for a night-time illuminated installation to be left in place at both sites.

In response to this brief, artists are encouraged to propose one or more activities, to work over one or both sites. If you are proposing more than one activity, please however indicate which is your preferred.

Due to the short deadline for these commissions, it is anticipated that responses will be activity that can be easily replicated from an existing portfolio, with simple adaptions to site if required.

Further commissions over the summer and into the start of the school term will be sought in due course: these will be aimed at art interventions that can be left in place to continue place-based conversations, and schools making workshops leading to a children’s procession.

Fee

A daily rate of £150pd of delivery is available, with addition budget lines for materials and travel.

Response requirements

Please submit a response of no more than three A4 pages, with any images (no larger than 300dpi), attached separately. In your response, please indicate:

1.       description of activity and how it meets the brief;

2.       age range(s) aimed at;

3.       duration of activity;

4.       materials and travel budget;

5.       any prior to delivery activity required (on-site or off, but that would involve any element of project management);

6.       artists biography and link to website(s).

Deadline

·         Deadline for expressions of interest: 12 pm, 5th August

·         Commissioning: no later than 12th August

Please send expressions of interest to Cara Courage, cara@caracourage.net.

Site information

Papplewick Green: The daytime activities will be sited on a grassed area on the housing estate, with an option of using the school hall in wet weather. The site also includes a wild grass area and river and links to a community-managed woodland. The night-time installation will be sited on a grassed area.

Annesley: The daytime activities will be sited on a grassed area on the housing estate, with an option of using a nearby new-build parish hall for wet weather option and/or a separate event on the same day (TBC). The night-time installation will be sited on a grassed area.

  

2 – Schools workshops

Precis

The communities of Papplewick Green and Annesley, Nottinghamshire, are involved in a creative public consultation for public art and placemaking interventions on two new, large-scale housing developments.

As part of this consultation process, a series of creative workshops with pupils from a number of local schools are proposed. The schools are both Primary and Secondary schools.

The purpose of the workshops is to engage the pupils in creative activities that will help foster a sense of place and connection to the new housing developments, on which many of them will be resident and on which one of the primary schools is sited, and to garner their ideas towards the creation of a brief for the public art and placemaking commissions.

Site information and indicative images can be found below. The commissioning is taking place through Open Plan and consultants Cara Courage and Richard Wolfstrome, for Ashfield District Council.

Artists commissions

We are seeking an artist, collective of artists or an arts organisation that can run a standalone creative activity, the theme and content of which will engage the pupils in where they live.

The workshops:

·         can be from any artform;

·         will take place over three half-day sessions, in the mid to latter two weeks of September;

·         could take place both in and out of school hours;

·         will take place at both at a school site and community centre location, and close to grassed areas that could be also be used;

·         and the final workshop should include a procession or presentation of the work created to family and the local community.

Due to the short deadline for these commissions, it is anticipated that responses will be activity that can be easily replicated from an existing portfolio, with simple adaptions to site if required.

Fee

A daily rate of £150pd of delivery is available, with addition budget lines for materials and travel.

Response requirements

Please submit a response of no more than three A4 pages, with any images (no larger than 300dpi), attached separately. In your response, please indicate:

7.       description of activity and how it meets the brief;

8.       age range(s) aimed at (Primary, Secondary or both);

9.       materials and travel budget;

10.   any prior to delivery activity required (on-site or off, but that would involve any element of project management);

11.   artists biography and link to website(s).

Deadline

·         Deadline for expressions of interest: 12 pm, 5th August

·         Commissioning: no later than 12th August

Please send expressions of interest to Cara Courage, cara@caracourage.net.

Site information

Papplewick Green: the housing development site comprises of a primary school and two large grassed areas next to the school and nearby- these can be used for delivery. The site also includes a wild grass area and river and links to a community-managed woodland. The workshops may also take place in other school sites.

Annesley: the housing development site comprises a large grassed area, a nearby modern community centre with two adjacent greens, and school sites.  

 

 

Papplewick Green images

 

 

Annesley images

 

 

Placemaking in a new place

I start this month working on a community consultation and engagement project that is using public art as a means to create a sense of place and community in two new housing developments in Nottinghamshire. 

The new town sites are Annesley and Hucknall and the first stage work for over the summer and into the autumn is to create the public art commissioning brief with communities using a creative placemaking framework.

I'm part of a team on this, working with Richard Wolfstrome and Open Plan.