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.

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 typology

An artworked version of my placemaking typology, with explanatory text and example projects has been created by Rachel Gillies. This typology has emerged from my PhD research, firstly from my own need in process to classify projects that I see, but then to also aid the sector.

The typology can be found here as well as below. 

Whilst various types of placemaking may share common concerns, essentially the making of place by actors in the urban realm, there is a need for a clear classification of practice in the sector for several reasons, not least the risk of an attenuation of the term and practice of placemaking. Owen (1984) states that community art’s failure to construct its own theoretical framework was reason for its relative devaluing in the art sector. If the placemaking sector does not create its own theoretical framework it risks a similar reduction of a “naïve romanticism” of its claims to outcomes and a side-lining in urban design and planning as a creative, worthy “welfare arts” (ibid., p29) adjunct to be deployed tactically by social service administrations and for city marketing and regeneration, rather than as a meaningful strategy for urban living (Schneekloth and Shibley 2000 p130). This would only be compounded by the cumulative confusion augmented by the competing demands made and expectations of placemaking (Markusen and Gadwa 2012, Fleming 2007).

It is hoped that the sharing of knowledge across types of placemaking will redress exclusory power practices by uncovering the many different types of placemaking undertaken by different ecologies of practice and people and result in the opening up of a continually negotiated border position that Schneekloth and Shibley (2000) advocates.

A placemaking typology then could illuminate nuanced practice for this professional cohort, as well as clearly articulating to those outside of the placemaking sector the variety of and value in these practices.

The typology will appear in my PhD thesis in this form that has a magnification of social practice placemaking as the focus of my research, and also with an equally weighted form.