2nd September 2016, Annual International Conference of the Royal Geographical Society, 2016
Aim of the sessions
Despite the complex and multi-faceted dimensions of place making and development, critical engagements often focus on large metropolitan centres, whilst practice is informed by predominantly Western, metropolitan and professional experiences, suggesting an implicit tension arising through the privileging of social and cultural positions of both the observers and observed. Overlooked, perhaps, is the ordinary, everyday and banal sites of lived experience – the vernacular realm, neighbourhoods, small towns, the rural and informal settlement (Bell & Jayne, 2006; Edensor et al, 2010; Jones et al, 2012, Lombard, 2014). These three related sessions present inter-disciplinary research that focuses on ordinary place making, to reveal multiple, nuanced and diverse practices emergent through the lived experiences of communities engaged with attempts to inscribe place identity within their localities, exploring interconnections and conflicts arising within the nexus of professional/non-professional practices. In the first session, the tensions and disconnections between place making imaginaries, policy rhetoric and lived experience are explored through place-based case studies. The second session foregrounds critical enquiry and methodology applied to the context of everyday spaces within ordinary places, including adaptations that extend beyond physicality/materiality to generate atmosphere and engagement with multiple sensory experiences of place-making. The third session explores creative place making strategy and tactics to reveal affordances of arts and creativity as a source of inscribing place identity. Continue reading “Ordinary Place Making: Special Sessions at the Royal Geographical Society”→
The research community within the IPM is constantly challenging how we think about place and what place means. I am concerned about people (and even their non-human companions!) in places. I have long struggled, as many academics have, with the idea of place-making and the queasy notion of wading into communities and suggesting that these places can be ‘better’. My own PhD research examined communities how they shape their own identities through drawing or resisting place-imaging projects. By spending time with community groups and undertaking participant observation at official and unofficial Liverpool Capital of Culture events (both during and after 2008) I was able to understand how local people performed identities which related to their sense of belonging to their neighbourhoods and the wider city. It considered the balance between creative improvisation and the constraints of social and cultural norms in forming identities.
Join us for another IPM study trip – this time to Athens, Greece.
This 3-day accredited educational trip to Athens is a combination of site visits, lectures & workshops as well as meetings with local place managers (local partnerships, markets, town centre revewal, local initiatives, local tourism etc.). Athens is a particularly interesting case study as Place Management here takes place in an extended economic crisis with the voluntary sector often taking over the role of both state and private sector.
Dr Steve Millington is a Senior Lecturer in Human Geography at Manchester Metropolitan University. He is co-editor ofSpaces of Vernacular Creativity: Rethinking the Cultural Economy and Cosmopolitan Urbanism. Steve’s research focuses on ordinary and everyday place making, drawing on empirical work concerning the habitual and routine practices of football fans, household Christmas light displays and light festivals such as Blackpool Illuminations. This research reveals contestations regarding class, taste and aesthetics, to challenge how creativity is deployed as a mechanism for revitalising declining communities and considers alternative approaches to cultural policy. Steve is also a director of the Institute of Place Management, working directly with town and cities to help transform communities into sustainable and liveable places. He has recently completed an ESRC project, High Street UK2020, involving 10 local centres across the UK, and is about to start a Technology Strategy Board project involving retailers, the property industry, local authorities, and trade associations, to enable these practitioners to make individual and collective decisions designed to optimise stakeholder performance and customer experience in retail centres. Continue reading “Meet the IPM: Interview with Dr Steve Millington”→
Sidewalk cafés are generally a delight. They liven up public space, they become meeting places and places of exchange – indeed, they seem the quintessence of urbanity. Nevertheless, the anarchic invasion of public spaces by tables and chairs can be the exact opposite: they may be taking much needed space from pedestrians, reducing pavements into narrow strips where a person on foot (let alone a wheel-chair or a pram) can hardly pass through. How do we reconcile the two, then? Lisbon may be showing the way.Continue reading “Kiosks and Public Squares in Lisbon”→