Can culture transform our cities? Can we justify expending precious resources in an age of austerity? Does art transform communities? – Be prepared to be inspired, provoked and challenged by this Talking Cities lecture by Dr Jonathan Vickery, Associate Professor in the Centre for Cultural Policy Studies, University of Warwick.
Beyond the Creative City – Cultural Policy in an age of scarcity
“I will be asking broad questions on the way we think, plan and activate cultural change in urban contexts, particularly in the context of changing the cities we live in. Policy is the realm where theory and practice are put together, and since the 1980s cultural policy has promoted a vision of a ‘creative city’, where the artistic activities of its citizens were key to making distinctive and exciting places to live.
“Throughout the 1990s cultural ‘activity’ was increasingly framed by large capital building projects, and an emphasis on the urban infrastructure and its provision of cultural facilities, or else manoeuvred into social service provision. ‘Urban regeneration’, and the public funding that followed it, is no longer a secure place for our developing cultural aspirations.
“So what and how can we re-think strategic cultural action?
“We know that compelling city environments do not need wealth or grand architecture, as desirable as these are. How can we re-think policy in a time of scarcity? Our established cultural institutions will remain, of course, but can we find broader routes for cultural action through artists, experimental architects, urban interventionists, creative communities and cultural entrepreneurship? What are our options?”
Dr Jonathan Vickery is Associate Professor in the Centre for Cultural Policy Studies, University of Warwick. He has been a Henry Moore research fellow, a director of a research initiative into management and aesthetics called The Aesthesis Project, editor of the journal Aesthesis, and reviews editor and regular contributor to Art & Architecture Journal. He has published articles on urban space, public art, regeneration and art theory: he has co-edited with Diarmuid Costello Art: Key Contemporary Thinkers (Oxford: Berg, 2007) editor and author of FLASH@Hebburn (London: A&AJ). He also works as an art critic. At the moment he is writing a book on art, cultural politics and the public sphere, and developing the Art & Architecture Journal/Press with Jeremy Hunt, involving a new website for urban research and a cultural documentary programme.