AAG 2015 CFP: Creative Place-Making and Its Micropublics

Association of American Geographers’ (AAG) Annual Meeting

Chicago, USA

21-25 April 2015

Conference website: http://www.aag.org/cs/annualmeeting/about_the_meeting

Creative Place-Making and Its Micropublics


Sponsored by the Cultural Geography Specialty Group of the Association of American Geographers



Dr Martin Zebracki & Dr Saskia Warren

University of Leeds & University of Birmingham


The burgeoning social production and consumption of symbolic goods of cultural value – also known as cultural industries (cf. O’Connor 2000; Power 2002) – across diverse city spaces in the Global North and Global South have engendered an often animated multidisciplinary debate about, most prominently, the role of culture and (public) arts in urban enterprise, branding, growth, regeneration and displacement; the tensions between bureaucrats, artists and residents; translocal hegemonies of cultural expression; and the impact of cultural work across socio-economic groups (cf. Flew 2012; Garnham 1987; Pratt 2005). Particularly lacking in this debate are conceptual and methodological apparatuses to critically discern the social space and ethics of everyday encounters with creative place-making.


Creative place-making implies arts-led activities by – or coalitions between – public, private, non-profit, for-profit and/or grassroots actors who shape the fabric of cultural industries in specific locales within a broader societal context of policies, politics and economies (cf. Bell & Oakley 2015; Markusen & Gadwa 2010). We invite papers that critically address what these creative place-based practices and their main objectives entail in regard to actual or imagined ‘micropublics’ (Amin 2002). Micropublics are considered social formations, whether organised or ad hoc, where people with diverse backgrounds and identities are placed in ‘inter-esse’ (between-being) that can challenge cultural and political dispositions, boundaries and, potentially, the status quo. As such, the session is particularly interested in engaging analytically with social difference in art-audience-place encounters (cf. Warren 2013; Zebracki 2012), including exploring notions of citizenship, identification and alienation.


This session welcomes conceptual and/or methodological accounts as well as detailed empirical illustrations from various geographical contexts. Topics may include, but are not limited to, the following:


•         Social ethics of creative place-making.


•         Critical dialectics between cultural policy and creative place-making.


•         Super-diversity and social difference in creative place-making


•         Homogenisations or heterogenisations in place-making practices along, e.g., sex, gender, ethnicity, race, nationality, sexuality, class, age, religion, and (dis)ability.


•         Social inclusion and exclusion in multi-scalar place-making initiatives


•         Mobilities of creative place-making and their micropublics.


•         Staged cultural authenticities and social alienation.


Please send a max. 100-word bio and max. 200-word abstract in one document to both Martin Zebracki at M.M.Zebracki AT leeds.ac.uk and Saskia Warren at S.Warren AT bham.ac.uk by 10 October 2014.


Selected contributors are expected to submit their abstracts on the conference website by 5 November 2014 at the very latest. All presenters are expected to settle the registration fee before they can submit abstracts.


Please let us know if you have any questions about this CFP.



– Amin A (2002) ‘Ethnicity and the multicultural city: Living with diversity’. Environment and Planning A 34(6): 959-980.

– Bell D & Oakley K (2015) Cultural Policy. New York: Routledge.

– Flew T (2012) Creative Industries: Culture and Policy. London: Sage.

– Garnham N (1987) ‘Concepts of culture: Public policy and the cultural industries’. Cultural Studies 1(1): 23-37.

– Markusen A & Gadwa A (2010) Creative Placemaking (White Paper). Washington, DC: Mayors’ Institute on City Design and the National Endowment for the Arts.

– O’Connor J (2000) ‘The definition of the “cultural industries”’. The European Journal of Arts Education 2(3): 15-27.

– Power D (2002) ‘“Cultural industries” in Sweden: An assessment of their place in the Swedish Economy’. Economic Geography 78(2): 103-127.

– Pratt A (2005) Cultural industries and public policy: An oxymoron? International Journal of Cultural Policy 11(1): 31-44.

– Warren S (2013) ‘Audiencing James Turrell’s Skyspace: Encounters between art and audience at Yorkshire Sculpture Park’. Cultural Geographies 20(1): 83-102.

– Zebracki M (2012) ‘Engaging geographies of public art: Indwellers, the “Butt Plug Gnome” and their locale’. Social & Cultural Geography 13(7): 735-758.