CfP: Curating the city: artistic practices and urban transformations

Call for Papers: Curating the city: artistic practices and urban transformations

The European Journal of Creative Practices in Cities and Landscapes, vol 3, no 1.

Edited by Annalisa Trentin, Anna Rosellini, Amir Djalali
Since the end of the 1970s, exhibitions, museums and artistic events have gained a central role in shaping the transformation of the city. Art, culture and knowledge have become the instruments through which cities have faced the crisis of industrial economy and the rise of new paradigms and values of urban development.
Art has a demonstrated impact in urban regeneration processes. While the presence of artists has been linked to the rise of the financial attractiveness of neighbourhoods, private and public museum institutions are leading actors in urban development, reclaiming former industrial sites and boosting land value in low-income neighbourhoods. At the same time, Biennials, Triennials, summer festivals, concerts and cultural events are seen by city administrators and planners as opportunities to promote investments in the city, attract capitals and visitors, and improving the image of the city.
Cultural events and initiatives are not only instruments in the hands of urban planners, but they are changing the way in which the city is planned and designed. Curatorial practices seem to have become the new paradigm for all the other disciplines traditionally involved in the transformation, design and construction of the city. Architecture and urban planning are more and more becoming curatorial activities, borrowing their methods from artistic and museum practices.
Urban planning is no longer made by systematic decisions and long-term strategies that take in consideration the entire city and its territory, but through occasional interventions in specific areas. Design is more and more the act of selecting, organizing and integrating existing elements, resources and ideas in temporary assemblages, avoiding the definition of a clear political programme for the future. At the same time, the communication of urban transformations becomes often more important than the transformation itself. Moreover, art and culture are powerful tools to mobilise local inhabitant’s consensus over complex and controversial projects of urban transformation, capturing existing local values and relations.
This condition opens up various possibilities in the hand of artists, curators, city administrators and inhabitants. On the one hand, curation becomes the instrument through which planning and architecture can make themselves flexible services for urban financial capitals in the midst of global economic, social and environmental uncertainty. On the other hand, curation can become an open instrument for cities to decide upon their future, according to the original meaning of the word, a way to care for the city and its inhabitants. Most of the times, however, the two aspects go hand-in-hand: artistic practices seem to be able to keep together desires for social justice with economic exploitation, democratic autonomy with financial determinism.
This issue of the European Journal of Creative Practices in Cities and Landscapes explores the role of artistic and curatorial practices in the contemporary forms of city making, as well as the drive towards curation of architecture and city planning. Contributions are welcome on (but not limited to) the following topics:

  • Histories of urban events
  • Curating in a changing world
  • Artists and the city
  • The economy of the event and its discontent
  • Curating as caring

The full call for papers can be accessed here or downloaded.
Papers submission deadline: 15 December 2019.
CPCL accepts full papers, written in English, 6,000 words maximum, including footnotes and bibliography. Manuscripts should be submitted online at CPCL does not accept e-mail submissions.

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