Why have Arts Council England (ACE) published data and a report about how culture can, apparently, help regenerate high streets now? Particularly given that the report does not even consider the devastating effects of COVID-19 on our everyday lives and, of course, our high streets.

The report, produced by social and economic research consultants Wavehill and entitled Arts and Place Shaping: Evidence Review, was written in May 2020 (when COVID-19 was reaching its first peak) but only published a few days ago.

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Street art is an essential part of the Creative Class narrative. Every city has ‘up-and-coming’ areas clad from shop shutters to back alleys, sides of dilapidated buildings to shifty-looking subways, in what has become known as street art. This article argues that the now almost globally ubiquitous street art ‘movement’ has evolved from its roots in class and race conflict and anti-gentrification activism to become a perfect foil for neoliberal capitalism, forming a ‘gritty’ yet colourful backdrop to the Creative City ‘New Bohemias’ that seem to pop-up in every city, everywhere on the planet: a perfect tool in gentrifiers’ artwashing arsenals.READ MORE

This is the transcript from my keynote speech at Nuart Festival in Stavanger on 8th September 2019. It explores nostalgia narratives in Street Art and examines the practice’s links to gentrification. But perhaps we’re all gentrifiers nowadays?

The full article on which this talk was based is available in Nuart Journal III and can be downloaded for free here .READ MORE