This week I am co-convening a double session at the 2016 Royal Geographical Society conference with fellow placemaking PhD-er Anita McKeown of National College of Art and Design, Ireland.
Our session is entitled 'Creative Placemaking and Beyond' and includes sessions from (in alphabetical order): Aditi Nargundkar Pathak and Prathima Manohar (The Urban Vision, India); Alison Williams (Ravensbourne College, UK) and Derek Jones (The Open University, UK); Anna Marazeula Kim (University of Virginia, USA); and Annie Grundy (Articulture, Machynlleth, Ceredigion, Wales, UK), Deirdre O'Mahony (Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology, Galway, Ireland); Graeme Evans (Middlesex University, UK) and Marie Mahon (National University of Ireland, Galway, Ireland)
The arts-driven placemaking sector has reached a moment in both maturity and diversity where it demands a critique and deeper understanding of practice. This session will expand on discussions at RGS2014 on the role of arts in place and co-production, specifically focusing on notions of creative placemaking (Markusen & Gadwa 2010) and socially-engaged placemaking practices and their potential vis-à-vis the Anthropocene and citizens activity taking the initiative in effecting their lived spacetime (McCormack 2013).
The RSA report ‘A New Agenda on Climate Change (2013) indicates that indicates that ‘about two thirds of the [UK] population intellectually accept the reality of anthropogenic climate change, but ‘deny’ some or all of the commensurate feelings, responsibility and agency that are necessary to deal with it’ (2013:3). 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. There is a vital need for theorists to be in dialogue with practitioners so this session is seeking abstracts from both constituencies, with papers spanning theory and practice and examples of where the two intersect in the academy or in the field.
Positioned within the broader context of Planetary Urbanisation and the Age of the Anthropocene the session will focus on socially practiced, co-produced and citizen-led placemakings. Initiated in response to a bottom-up need or desire rather than a top-down imposition, and where the artist(s) and participants work in a team of ‘urban creatives’ (Klanten and Hübner 2010, though the convenors recognise that not all practices will be urban-located) a critical assessment of creative placemaking and of community driven placemaking (Hou and Rios 2003) and social design across all settlement types is considered.