Creative Placemaking: Research, Theory and Practice out now

I am delighted to say that my third book, Creative Placemaking: Research, Theory and Practice is out now, and available to buy at online book stores and direct from the publisher in hardback and ebook form.

Co-edited with Dr Anita McKeown the curated book both deconstructs and reconstructs the field of creative placemaking from a global research and practice perspective, including a reflective piece from the people that coined the term, the legendary Anne Markusen and Anne Gadwa Nicodemus.

More information here, including a link to order, and TOC below.

CPM book.JPG

Table of Contents

 

Introduction Curating Research, Theory and Practice (Cara Courage and Anita McKeown)

 

Section One – Evolving Ecologies

1 - Creative Placemaking: Reflections on a 21st Century American Arts Policy Initiative, (Ann Markusen and Anne Gadwa Nicodemus)

2 - Spaces of Vernacular Creativity Reconsidered, (Tim Edensor and Steve Millington)

 

Section Two – Dialogical Ecologies

3 - Turning local interests into local action: Community-Based Art and the case of Wrecked! On The Intertidal Zone, (Dominic Walker)

4 - Arrivals and Departures: Navigating an Emotional Landscape of Belonging and Displacement at Barangaroo in Sydney, Australia (Sarah Barns)

5 - A Case for Human-Scale Social Space in Mumbai (Aditi Nargundkar Pathak)

 

Section Three - Scalable Ecologies

6 - A Rural Case: Beyond Creative Placemaking (Margo Handwerker)

7 - Creative Placemaking in Peri-Urban Gothenburg – Mission Impossible? (Michael Landzelius and Peter Rundqvist)

8 - A Conversation between a Collaborating Artist and Curator: Placemaking, Socially Engaged Art, and Deep Investment in People (Jim Walker and Shauta Marsh)

 

Section 4 – Challenging Ecologies

9 - Temporary Spatial Object/Architecture as a Typology for Placemaking (Torange Khonsari)

10 - Place Guarding: Activist Art against Gentrification (Stephen Pritchard)

11 - Outros Espaços: Apathy and Lack of Engagement in Participatory Processes (Luísa Alpalhão)

 

Section 5 – Extending Ecologies

12 - Towards Beauty and a Civics Of Place: Notes From The Thriving Cities Project, (Anna Marazuela Kim and Joshua J Yates)

13 - From Indicators to Face Validity to Theory—and Back Again: Measuring Outcomes of U.S. Creative Placemaking Projects (Sunil Iyengar)

 

Conclusion Moving into the beyond – what’s next for creative placemaking? (Anita McKeown and Cara Courage)

CoDesRes – Discussant response

I recently had the pleasure of being the Discussant as part of CoDesRes: CoDesigning for resilience in rural development through P2P networks and STEAM place-based learning interventions session, convened by Dr Anita McKeown, at this year’s Royal Geographical Society annual conference in Cardiff.

CoDesRes (co-designing resilience) is a methodology and a project that brings a STEAM practice into the community and environmental justice setting. It’s a two-year Environmental Protection Agency (Ireland) funded project, situated in the Iveragh Peninsula in Ireland, and led by a collaborative and interdisciplinary team of artists, scholars, engineers and marine biologists to iterate and trial the methodology for engaging communities to implement local responses to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals 4,11,14 and 15. The project considers the rural has a role to play in the development of sustainable communities and cities by developing viable realistic alternatives to urban dwelling and supporting positive economic social and environmental links between the urban, peri-urban and rural areas.

The conference session was formed of four presentations from the project leads from University College Dublin, Ireland: CoDesRes: CoDesigning for resilience in rural development through P2P [peer-to-peer] networks and STEAM place-based learning interventions, Dr Anita McKeown; Inclusive design for land stewardship: Community engagement in coastal biodiversity management through p2p networks, Eleanor Turner; Marine Education; influencing youth education through STEAM place-based interventions, Lucy Hunt; and Waste as Resource; embedding circular economies in community contexts through STEAM place-based interventions, Colin Keogh.

Together, the presenters gave a deep-dive 360-degree purview of the project and their own academic, professional, personal and residential place in them. As audience, we couldn’t help but be charmed by the passion and dedication of the team and the community of which they were speaking of, are part of and are serving, by the first hand narrative given to us.

I was asked to respond to the project from my role at Tate Exchange, as a platform with a premise of interrogating how art and society interface and affect each other.

Much of the work of CoDesRes is with those young people in their transition school year. This is a an optional one-year school programme that can be taken in the year after the Junior Certificate in Ireland, and is not led by a formal curriculum. ‘Transition year’ struck me as an apt metaphor for the whole process that the communities of Iveragh are embarked upon through CoDesRes – a time of unscripted exploration, of learning in innovative ways and engaged in a conscious-raising step-change of self and society.

Here art was being used as a tool – something the funders and stakeholders both might expect and be familiar with – but also as an approach – something that may extend their understanding of the true value and agency of the ‘A’ in STEAM. In CoDesRes, the arts drive its generative, iterative, question-posing and solution-finding, explorative and inter- and trans-disciplinary process. Finding out by doing, playing to everyone’s expert positions – including that of the community being the expert in being the community – is the stuff of socially engaged arts, and at the core of CoDesRes. It was evident that in this, CoDesRes is on a journey with its communities of changing their view on what art is and what role art can play in society, and placing art as a driver in the blue, green and people (education, community development etc.) ecologies of Iveragh. Will this perspective change also be seen with the funders and policy-makers come the end of the project?

I am intrigued too to find out what the exponential outcomes of this project will be, come the end of its tenure. With the concern around rural population decline, it was heartening to see both Eleanor and Lucy returning to the place of their upbringing to share their skills and knowledge and love of place with its future generations and its current ones – Eleanor told a story of how a former teacher of hers, after joining her on a walking reading of the landscape commented that they had never understood the place like this before, even though they has been walking the area for decades. These women are leading by example, what effect will this have on the generation coming up behind them, seeing that they have a potential future there and seeing a different kind of leadership in action, and on the one above them in seeing and conveying that potential to their young people? It took CoDesRes to join together previously disparate projects across the peninsula and join as one its overlapping blue, green and people ecologies into one holistic one. This is one of the keys to success in precipitating pervasive cultural change, in becoming greater than the sum of its parts: change has already started in the first six months of CoDesRes, what will it have set in motion for its legacy at the end of its two years?

As any good conference session should do, it raised more questions than answers for me too, and in no particular order:

·         What is the art practice, specifically?

·         Is art changing the community?

·         Who are the peers in this process? Who are the collaborators needed? What are the gaps? Is there a baseline of collaborators needed to start and maintain a project?

·         How does CoDesRes critically problematize the notion of ‘sustainable development’?

·         What will be made of the autoethnographic methodology?

·         What are the funders stipulations, what do they see as success?

·         Is this methodology applicable to other situations? How could that be made so?

·         Is the duration long enough? What is long enough?

·         How to manage the multiple layers and purviews of this project, from policy, to schools, to local government.

·         Can this rural context talk to the urban one?

·         Is intergenerational conversation happening? Where and how?

·         Has this changed people’s relation to their place?

·         What does P2P practice integrity look like? what is its excellence?

·         What can sibling sectors learn from it? what do they have to change to work with it? would this put them off?

·         Language and definitions – lots of acronyms and layers of info, which is alienating, where is the point of access info this for people?

·         What does the place in 5, 10, 50 years look like? Will it have halted/reversed rural population decline for example?

·         How is the legacy sustained? Mention of a media legacy, how will the public be supported in marinating this? Has consideration been given to the emotional and physical labour required to sustain legacy? What is the expectation of this?

·         How will it affect all those structural/socio-political issues in the area that form its whole ecology? What is this projects role in/plan for that?

·         Work within and beyond the arts/different ways that art has become active over the last 60 years and how artists have changed our understanding of what art can be and what it can do: how can art make a difference to people’s lives and society?

·         How do the projects operate as methods?

·         How is CoDesRes being evaluated?

The presenters went a long way to answer these questions in their presentations and in the dynamic and engaged plenary discussion with the audience after, but as ever in the live setting of a project, I am mindful in my own practice of coming back to core questions as a means of generative development, reflection and evaluation. In CoDesRes I see a project team and methodology that shares that approach and is well on the way to co-creating a project that is changing ways of living and creating a sustainable ecological and community development legacy for the people of the Iveragh Peninsula.

More on CoDesRes can be found here and via Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook.

 

CoDesRes also got me thinking about the grammar of social practice, the subject and object positions of place, its actors and themes, and I will continue to explore this in the coming months.

Creative Placemaking book out soon

I am delighted to say that my third book, Creative Placemaking: Research, Theory and Practice will be out for the start of September.

Co-edited with Dr Anita McKeown the curated book both deconstructs and reconstructs the field of creative placemaking from a global research and practice perspective, including a reflective piece from the people that coined the term, the legendary Anne Markusen and Anne Gadwa Nicodemus. 

More information here, including a link to pre-order, and TOC below. 

book cover.jpg

 

Table of Contents

Introduction Curating Research, Theory and Practice (Cara Courage and Anita McKeown) 

Section One – Evolving Ecologies 

  • 1 Creative Placemaking: Reflections on a 21st Century American Arts Policy Initiative, (Ann Markusen and Anne Gadwa Nicodemus)
  • 2 Spaces of Vernacular Creativity Reconsidered, (Tim Edensor and Steve Millington) 

Section Two – Dialogical Ecologies

  • 3 Turning local interests into local action: Community-Based Art and the case of Wrecked! On The Intertidal Zone, (Dominic Walker)
  • 4 Arrivals and Departures: Navigating an Emotional Landscape of Belonging and Displacement at Barangaroo in Sydney, Australia (Sarah Barns)
  • 5 A Case for Human-Scale Social Space in Mumbai (Aditi Nargundkar Pathak) 

Section Three - Scalable Ecologies 

  • 6 A Rural Case: Beyond Creative Placemaking (Margo Handwerker)
  • 7 Creative Placemaking in Peri-Urban Gothenburg – Mission Impossible? (Michael Landzelius and Peter Rundqvist)
  • 8 A Conversation between a Collaborating Artist and Curator: Placemaking, Socially Engaged Art, and Deep Investment in People (Jim Walker and Shauta Marsh) 

Section 4 – Challenging Ecologies 

  • 9 Temporary Spatial Object/Architecture as a Typology for Placemaking (Torange Khonsari)
  • 10 Place Guarding: Activist Art against Gentrification (Stephen Pritchard)
  • 11 Outros Espaços: Apathy and Lack of Engagement in Participatory Processes (Luísa Alpalhão) 

Section 5 – Extending Ecologies 

  • 12 Towards Beauty and a Civics Of Place: Notes From The Thriving Cities Project, (Anna Marazuela Kim and Joshua J Yates)
  • 13 From Indicators to Face Validity to Theory—and Back Again: Measuring Outcomes of U.S. Creative Placemaking Projects (Sunil Iyengar)

Conclusion Moving into the beyond – what’s next for creative placemaking? (Anita McKeown and Cara Courage)

Starting at Tate Exchange

I am delighted to announce that I am joining Tate as Head of Tate Exchange. I'll be based at Tate Modern, and working across the Tate's sites.

Tate Exchange is both an experimental space and a programme that looks at the role of and the value that art can play in society. It is a space for dialogue and a platform to test new ideas that directly address issues of society; explores artistic practices/processes with the public; and works to create a closer relationship between Tate as an institution, creative collaborators and its many audiences.

I start on 5th February and am incredibly excited to be joining an amazing team and an institution (and that have made me feel so welcome already) I have admired and enjoyed all of my life, and to be playing a part in the story of Tate Exchange. It is a space that I have admired since its inception and this role is everything that my sector and academic career has been leading me towards and I can’t wait to get started.

All the info on Tate Exchange can be found here: http://www.tate.org.uk/visit/tate-modern/tate-exchange.

I’m sad to leave Futurecity - my colleagues there are the most dedicated, professional, creative and inspiring that I have ever worked with. I’m sure its not a final goodbye and I urge anyone involved in placemaking to beat a path to Futurecity’s door.

Theatres Trust keynote - notes

It was an honour and a joy to give the opening keynote at this years Theatres Trust annual conference, on the topic of placemaking. The day was packed full of fascinating, inspiring and useful case studies of projects up and down the country, a great insight into how others are approaching the placemaking challenges in their areas, a very beneficial knowledge exchange.

Thank you to Jon Morgan and team for putting it all together and creating a programme that really got to grips with the subject matter across a diverse cohort of stakeholders. 

The slides and notes from my keynote can be found here, defining what placemaking is, what placemaking means for theatres and theatre practitioners, and challenges for the future. 

 

(c) Alex Brenner, no use without credit, Theatres Trust Conference 2017 (_DSC0034).jpg

AAG 2018 – Call for Papers – Arts research, theory and practice

AAG 2018 – Call for Papers – Arts research, theory and practice

American Association of Geographers annual conference, 10th to 14th April 2018, New Orleans

With the theme of the 2018 AAG conference being Black Geographies and Geographies of Struggle and the Association’s concern with engagement outside of its academy thresholds, we are seeking papers from academics and practitioners from across the geography, arts and community development disciplines and sectors to form a three-part whole-day session on these issues.

Session 1 will focus on practice-based research; Session 2, on theory and its application in this regard; and Session 3, on practice and practitioners.

We are seeking contributions from a global field from all settings; urban, suburban and rural. We are especially interested in contributions from practitioners and ‘non-academics’ and in directly including the community voice in the paper presentations. We aim to include both qualitative and quantitative research and project evaluations, as well as methodologies, and critiques of the same.

Please submit an abstract for consideration, of no more than 250 words, by 20th October, to both cara@caracourage.net and anita@smartlab-ie.com. Successful applicants will be informed by 23rd October for their timely registration to AAG 2017.

We cannot offer funding for attendance at the conference at this time so responses to this CfP should be made on this basis. For all information relating to the conference and its registrations deadlines (25th Oct 2017), please visit: http://annualmeeting.aag.org.

Theatres Trust keynote

In October, I will be giving a keynote at the 2017 Theatre's Trust conference - I am delighted to be talking to such an audience and looking forward to the other speakers and the conversations that will arise throughout the day.

The conference this year focuses on placemaking and theatres and I will be talking about the agency of theatres in place-based work and the role of theatre buildings in placemaking. 

Further information on the conference can be found here and tickets are on sale. 

Musicity Southwark

The weekend of 10th and 11th September saw Musicity come to Southwark - and a huge thank you to all that made it such a success. 

Alongside the compositions in response to the borough's architecture (from Throwing Shade, William Doyle, Hejira, Stick in the Wheel, Moses Boyd, Sean O'Hagan and patten) saw a number of community events with artists and sound and architecture experts, a gig and a talk broadcast live on Resonance FM

My role was to commission artist Sian Hutchings to lead sound walks with member of the public and The Building Exploratory to work with an elders group to explore the local built environment, using the commissioned music. I also I led some urban rambles around the featured sites. 

Musicity seeks to encourage people to explore the city musically, architecturally and experientially by comissioning musicians to compose original tracks in response to a building, site or piece of the city that inspires them.

 

Placemaking isn't...

A keynote I am currently writing has got me thinking on what placemaking isn't, a a way to define what it is.  

Placemaking isn’t...

Putting a sculpture into a square. That’s public art.

Putting a building into a city. That’s architecture.

Putting a procession down a street. That’s live art.

Putting on events outside. That’s a festival.

Putting art on buildings. That’s street art.

Putting a workshop in a community. That’s community art.

Putting a bench on a street. That’s urban design.

Institute of Place Management paper

I recently presented on my placemaking typology and the agency of social practice placemaking at the Institute of Place Management's (based at Manchester Metropolitan University, UK) annual conference, this year focused on inclusove placemaking. 

Thank you to all in the room for the enthusiasm with which this was revived and also for the great questions and conversations that followed. 

Link here to the slidedeck and notes

 
Placemaking typology SPPM Jan 2015.jpg

Placemaking Typology paper at Inclusive Placemaking conference

The Institute of Place Management, based at Manchester Metropolitan University, is holding its fourth International Biennial Conference, this time with the theme of 'inclusive placemaking'. 

I am presenting on the Thursday on the subject of the placemaking typology created as part of my PhD. My paper, Creative placemaking: A typology of placemaking through the prism of arts practices and processes, is part of the 'Arts/Anchors - Placemaking, arts and culture/music' strand, and I will be presenting alongside Jan Brown (Creative placemaking using music: Supporting the development of a community-led approach to music policy in the city of Liverpool, UK) and Justyna Anders and Marta Herezniak (Community-bonding and placemaking function of music in the strategies of creative cities). Keynote speakers are Ethan Kent, from Project for Public Spaces and Phil Prentice from Scotland's Towns Partnership.

Full conference information and its programme can be found here

RSA blog post on Modern Brighton and Hove Map

The RSA funded the series of walking tours of routes of the Modern Brighton and Hove Map that have rolled out this summer, and I blogged for them on the subject - it can be read here

I've been a Fellow of the RSA for some years and its been great to be part of the very active and inspiring Brighton and Hove chapter, and so grateful for its support of the map project. 

Musicity - Southwark, 7th-10th September

7th to 10th of September sees Musicity come to Southwark - four days of specially-commissioned music and sound art inspired by the buildings of and place that is the borough.

Musicians include: Throwing Shade, William Boyd, Hejira, Stick in the Wheel, Moses Boyd, Sean O'Hagan, Patten, and Sooski is doing a live set on the Saturday night; Buildings include: Borough Market, The Shard, Time and Talents; Finnish Church, Canada Water Bus Station, Peckham Library and Elephant and Castle Shopping Centre.

Sound artist, Sian Hutchings, is leading two sound walks around Peckham; The Building Exploratory is working with a group of elders on a sound/place project; and I'll be talking at one of the events and leading a sound map walk.

Musicity is the idea of Nick Luscombe, presenter of BBC Radio 3's Late Junction, and its been a joy to join the team and work on this!

All info and to secure your free tickets here

 
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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.