The Visual Arts in Urban Regeneration. A Tale of Two Cities: A Comparative Analysis of Birmingham and Liverpool

Lead Research Organisation: Birmingham City University
Department Name: ADM Art


I am a current postgraduate researcher at Liverpool John Moores University and a lecturer
at South Cheshire College. Towards my M.Res in Art & Design, my thesis: Documenting the
Dockers: Technological Prosthesis in Site-Specific Art - A Device for Social Action, explores
the creation and curation of technological prosthesis in site-specific art within the urban
environment and how this can be used as a device towards social action. A significant
portion of my research explores the role of cultural institutions and their impact within
social topographies via a comparative analysis of the Liverpool Biennial and Amsterdam
Light Festival. Towards this, my paper Site and the City: Curating Digital and Technological
Art within Urban Landscapes identifies the Biennial Paradox as a means to balance spectacle
with social action and has been delivered at TATE Liverpool; Liverpool School of Art and
Design, and alongside my initial explorations towards composing nomadic encounters within
the Relational Rhizome has received funding to be shared at The Inclusive Museum
conference being held at The University of Manchester in September within the paper Why
Museums? A Proposal for Society's Cultural Attic.

My proposal is to extend my current study to its next logical phase in collaboration with
TATE Liverpool, by investigating the visual arts towards urban regeneration within a
comparative analysis between Liverpool and Birmingham. It takes a methodological
approach that considers quantitative; qualitative and Practice as Research as symbiotic
methods that allows for semi-structured and in-depth interviews and focus groups to occur
from the perspective of the institutions; the artists and the public. This indicates responses
towards current practice, whilst also permitting the development of a new practice
methodology towards the creation and curation of socially active artistic explorations within
a collaborative framework towards urban regeneration enabling the proposal to identify the
impact of agency within cultural engagement. The disparity in research concerning art
towards social action and urban regeneration is marked by the inconsistency between
institutions and academics alike about how this should occur, none address the issue
sufficiently to indicate a model that is appropriate for the contemporary conditions of urban
life in the 21st century.


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