This is a copy of my book chapter which was published earlier this year in Creative Placemaking: Research, Theory and Practice (2018). The book is edited by Cara Courage and Anita McKeown and is published by Routledge. It is available to buy here . Thanks to the editors for permitting its reproduction here.READ MORE

I took part in Communalities, urbanities and artistic commonalities – a symposium at Birkbeck School of Arts on 5th June 2018. This is a transcript of my talk. I billed it as the meeting of William Blake and Half Man Half Biscuit via a trip to Trumpton. There’s a video to accompany the talk which I’ll upload soon…

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Loads of Tories waving flags and singing "Jerusalem" at the Last Night of the Proms. A screenshot from the film I made to accompany my talk... Loads of Tories waving flags and singing "Jerusalem" at the Last Night of the Proms. A screenshot from the film I made to accompany my talk...

Loads of Tories waving flags and singing “Jerusalem” at the Last Night of the Proms.

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I believe that there is not enough emphasis placed upon understanding the theoretical and historical perspectives and contexts of ‘participation’ that are, for me, crucially important to both practice and research that engages with people, place, power and politics.  Similarly, I also believe that, whilst this field is situated within ‘the social’, there is not enough emphasis on how practice and research may fit with broader understandings of art and society, nor, for that matter, with wider theoretical from other interrelated disciplines. READ MORE

This is my paper which I presented at the Northumbria-Sunderland AHRC Centre for Doctoral Training Art and Design Research Annual Conference at the BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead on 25th July 2017.  Powerpoint and PDF versions can be downloaded here too…


Artists and arts organisations have always skirted the edges of gentrification.READ MORE

Two new reports were recently released about how the arts and creativity might engage with society and communities in more meaningful ways.  The first was Rethinking Relationships – an enquiry into the civic role of arts organisations commissioned by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation; the second was Towards cultural democracy, commissioned by Kings College London. … READ MORE

ABSTRACT  

This article seeks to reveal the limitations of state-initiated arts and cultural projects as well as spurious notions of ‘empowerment’ by examining them in terms of homogeneity, universality and technocracy.  It focuses on issues of instrumentalism with the arts and explores how state-initiated ‘community engagement’ programmes like Creative People and Places may effectively reproduce state agendas linked to social capital theory and thereby to neoliberalism. … READ MORE

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Celebrating Jane Jacobs, James Gulliver Hancock, 2016 Celebrating Jane Jacobs, James Gulliver Hancock, 2016

Celebrating Jane Jacobs, James Gulliver Hancock, 2016

Creative placemaking, like its predecessors, new public art and collaborative art, is the soft power weapon of choice for many property developers and councils.  Artists are increasingly complicit: willingly enlisted as the pioneers, the missionaries and the “foot soldiers” of gentrification; the harbingers of redundancy, displacement, social cleansing, colonialism and racism. READ MORE

Did Assemble really play such a big part in Granby 4 Streets?  How ‘community-led’ was the project?  What was the role of the Community Land Trust?  How did Assemble come to win the Turner Prize 2015?  Who were the private social investors and what did they do to help make the project happen?READ MORE

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Confidence, Nicole Mollet, 2016 Confidence, Nicole Mollet, 2016

Confidence, Nicole Mollet, 2016

This is part two of a three-part series of posts about Opportunity Areas.  Part one is here.

Part two explores Sarah Butler’s work in a little more detail.  Creative consultations, writing stories for Creative People and Places, advocacy of socially engaged writing as part of regeneration agendas, poetry hoardings ‘covering’ demolished social housing sites whilst new builds spring up and working for the New Deal for Communities. … READ MORE

This is a little part of a draft section of my PhD thesis.  It examines Creative People and Places, particularly, their People, Place, Power: Increasing Arts Engagement conference, suggesting empowerment may not be all it’s cracked up to be, especially when ‘delivered’ by state-sanctioned, instrumentalising arts organisations and artists – the foot soldiers of state social art provision…

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Street Art Heroes , Alex Senna, Cultural Spring, Creative People and Places project in Sunderland and South Tyneside, 2016.  Interestingly, Senna's work adorns gentrified streets in Camden and Shoreditch as well as art fairs and other places around the world...  Another foot soldier of gentrification? Street Art Heroes , Alex Senna, Cultural Spring, Creative People and Places project in Sunderland and South Tyneside, 2016.  Interestingly, Senna's work adorns gentrified streets in Camden and Shoreditch as well as art fairs and other places around the world...  Another foot soldier of gentrification?

Street Art Heroes, Alex Senna, Cultural Spring, Creative People and Places project in Sunderland and South Tyneside, 2016. 

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