Creative hubs and urban policy: A symposium and a book launch on creative work and the city

On Tuesday 14th May Dr Cecilia Dinardi, ICCE, participated of an event organised by the Network: QMUL’s Centre for the Creative and Cultural Economy, Queen Mary University of London in partnership with the Stour Space in Hackney Wick to discuss creative hubs and urban policy:

View from Hackney Wick

Creative hubs and clusters are essential sites of cultural and creative production and consumption. These now global sites very much represent the urban regional growth promise of the creative and culture sector. In East London there are multiple manifestations of this activity – much of it under threat. This said new initiatives like the Mayor of London’s Creative Enterprise Zone have the potential to ameliorate some of the pressure already inherent in the creative and cultural sector but made even more so by certain market forces. Globally many cities face similar problems – how to best support creative and cultural production as a mechanism of regional growth and renewal.

Cecilia was part of a panel discussion on planning policy and its effect on creative hubs in the UK and Latin America, examining issues such as the formal/informal in the cultural and creative sector, the relationship between planning and development in view of the housing crisis and gentrification, trying to identify global lessons, tangible successes and discuss the most pressing challenges for future policy for the creative economy. Other panellists were Elyssa Livergant (Queen Mary University of London), Gudrun Andrews (London Legacy Development Corporation), Blossom Young (Poplar HARCA) and Charles Armstrong (The Trampery).

Cecilia participating at the panel. Photo by Jenny Mbaye

The event also included the launch of the new book Creative Hubs in Question: Place, Space and Work in the Creative Economy, published by Palgrave Macmillan, and edited by Professor Rosalind Gill, Professor Andy Pratt and Tarek Virani. The book includes a chapter by Cecilia Dinardi: ‘Grassroots Creative Hubs: Urban Regeneration, Recovered Industrial Factories and Cultural Production in Buenos Aires and Rio de Janeiro’.

There was also a panel discussion on Creative Enterprise Zones and Creative Hubs with Mathieu Rogers (London Borough of Hackney), Neil McDonald (Stour Space), Aida Esposito (Tottenham Creative Enterprise Zone), and another panel on creative hubs from South East Asia with the British Council: Roxana Apostol (Creative Economy Programme Director, British Council London), Simon Soon (Senior Lecturer Cultural Centre University of Malaya), Rosalina Ismail (Cultural Centre University of Malaya), and Daniel Donnelly (British Council Singapore).

An[0]ther {AI} in Art Decolonizing Artificial Intelligence {AI} and the Future of Art Making

Dr Oonagh Murphy was invited to participate in an interdisciplinary research summit at New Museum in New York at the end of April. The summit, which was organised by Columbia University and funded by the Knight Foundation brought together a range of global leaders in art, technology and curatorial practice to imagine new ways of thinking and working in the age of AI.

‘Artificial Intelligence promises drastic changes in every corner of our world. The art world is no different. There’s a massive gap between high-level conversations about the potential to merge art and technology, and what’s actually happening on the ground. Major challenges abound on all sides.’

As part of the summit Dr Murphy introduced her current research on Museums, AI and Ethics and launched the website for the Museums + AI Network. A partnership between Goldsmiths, The National Gallery, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, American Museum of Natural History and Pratt Institute. The Network is funded through an AHRC Network Grant.


ICCE at Venice Biennale

The Venice Biennale opens this week, and two students from ICCE will be working at the heart of this major international art event as British Council Venice Fellows. In this role Bartolomeo Poggi, from BA Arts Management and Luna Salazar Gadea, MA Arts Administration and Cultural Policy will spend a month working at the Cathy Wilkes’ exhibition at the British Pavilion.

Cathy Wilkes’ a Northern Ireland born, Scottish based artist was selected to represent Great Britain at the Biennale Arte 2019 by the British Council. The British Council describe her work as ‘experiments with all kinds of media and materials, and collects treasures and ingredients. Production – or what we see in the end – is the accumulation of all of these constituent parts. Her work recalls inchoate visions of interiors and places of loss, and meditates on the nature of love and the coexistence of life and death.’

While in Venice each fellow will complete an independent research project that responds to the work on show, research that is supported by the British Council and Dr Oonagh Murphy, Lecturer in Arts Management at Goldsmiths.

‘I have always been fascinated with the way art is observed and understood, and by the ways social media and a work of art can interact and enhance the viewer’s experience. My research project at the Biennale will be focused on gathering information from the visitors that digitally record their experience to understand the reasons that bring audience members to share their experience digitally and to discover what it adds to the visitor’s experience.’ Bartolomeo Poggi

‘I’ll be in Venice in November, just after my MA in Arts Administration and Cultural Policy programme finishes. My research will look at the participation of women in the Venice Biennale. Which I think is very in tune with the current debate about women around the world. Because “We live a very interesting time as women”. Also, I hope that some kind of event will be possible with the collaboration and participation of my group when we are there.’ Luna Salazar Gadea

In a recent interview with My Art Guides, Dr Zoe Whitely, Curator of the British Pavilion reflected on how working with fellows is a key part her role as curator of this year’s exhibition. ‘The format for invigilating the Pavilion involves British Council fellows, young students from all over the country, many of whom are actually coming to Venice for the first time, so empowering them to feel ownership over the building and the work as well as inviting other people to engage in the work.’

Filmed Entertainment Economics Conference – Short Film

The team behind 2018’s Mallen Scholars and Practitioners Conference in Filmed Entertainment Economics recently released a short film, Mallen20 Conference – Celebrating Movie Art and Science, about the event at which ICCE’s Michael Franklin was an invited participant.

by Michael Franklin

Over three days at the Film University Babelsberg Konrad Wolf in Potsdam Germany, multiple teams comprised of academics from the EU, America, Australia and China worked alongside industry professionals including many from MPAA Studios and global SVOD players. The teams worked to address key practical challenges using collaborative research best practice. Michael worked with colleagues at universities in Germany, France, Spain and the US, including Mallen Award winner Prof, Natasha Foutz and UFA producer Ulrike Leibfried (Deutchland ‘83 & ‘86) to develop research on leveraging data analytics for producers’ decision support.

The team benefited from an excellent business model presentation by President / CEO Charlie Woebcke at his Studio Babelsberg, which both hosts inward investment productions (Isle of Dogs – Fox Searchlight; Charlie’s Angels – SONY) and co-produces Cannes competition titles (Terrence Malick’s Hidden Life). The lot also houses a state-of-the-art Volumetric capture studio.

Michael works with his colleagues on leveraging analytics from the film producer’s perspective  which was presented at FilmTech MeetUp Berlin at Mindspace Krausenstrasse. The project allows for application of postdoctoral research findings regarding the way data can be used to manage risk, and the importance of new technology to this creative field.

City and data: organic constructions of cultural dynamics – Cecilia Dinardi at the United Cities and Local Governments Cultural Summit in Buenos Aires

Photo by Cecilia Dinardi


The third global summit of the United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) took place in Buenos Aires between 3rd-5th April at the converted power plant Usina del Arte in the neighbourhood of La Boca. The summit gathered 700 participants from across the world working in and on the cultural sector, specifically representatives from local governments, national governments, civil society organisations and international organisations to discuss the current position of culture in global agendas.

Dr Cecilia Dinardi, ICCE, was at a panel moderated by Dr Beatriz García (University of Liverpool) on City and data: organic constructions of cultural dynamics where she discussed the potential of ethnographic approaches to understanding the social life of cultural infrastructures, as well as the need to triangulate data to complement mapping exercises, cultural indicators and other statistics on cultural consumption. The panel consisted of presentations by the Head of Data Cultura from the Government of the

UCLG panel at Usina del Arte

City of Buenos Aires, the Director of SINCA – the national system of cultural information of Argentina –, the Director of the Cultural Observatory from the Economics Faculty of the Universidad de Buenos Aires, and a representative from Wikimedia Argentina.

Photo by Ceciliy Chua

Prior to the summit, Cecilia was invited by the London-based NGO Theatrum Mundi to participate of a workshop on Making Cultural Infrastructure at Centro Cultural Recoleta with representatives from local cultural centres, music venues, festival organisers, artists, academic researchers and the Buenos Aires government teams of cultural statistics and urban planning. The workshop was aimed at understanding and discussing the various conditions that support cultural and artistic production in the city and how cultural policy might better support them. It followed a series of visits to independent theatres, artists workshops and arts districts to document infrastructures of cultural production through observations, interviews and photographs.

Centro Cultural Recoleta

Re-launch of Tourism in South-East Asia

Tourism in Sout-East Asia, Routledge, new cover

Photo by Carla Figueira


On the 3rd April 2019 ‘Tourism in South-East Asia’ was re-launched at ICCE in Goldsmiths, University of London. It was originally published in1993 and was edited by Michael Hitchcock (centre) , Victor T. King and Michael J.G. Parnwell (to the right). Based on conference papers presented at the former Hull Polytechnic in 1991 under the auspices of the Association of South-East Asian Stdudies in the UK (ASEASUK), the conference was hosted by the Centre for South-East Asian Studies at the University of Hull.

Tourism in Sout-East Asia, Routledge, original cover

The research work of the Hull contributors had been supported by the British Academy’s Committee for South-East Asian Studies. Michael Hitchcock explained why this group of papers, originally aired in an obscure northern polytechnic that no longer exists, proved to be so enduring and influential. In particular it was one of the first multi-disciplinary books to treat tourism as a subject for analysis as opposed to a manual on ‘how-to-do’ that has moreover the distinction of being the first work of this kind set in an Asian context.









Cultural Diplomacy and National Branding at Southeast European Futures Festival in London

Photo (c) CoBA

Together with Susan Curtis, Director of Istros Books, and moderated by Dr Ana Russel-Omaljev, on October 5th, 2018 Dr Aleksandar Brkić from ICCE participated on a panel titled “Cultural Diplomacy and National Branding: The Role of Arts, Literature and Creative Industries”. The panel, that opened the Southeast European Future Festival (SEEF), was held at the Embassy of the Republic of Serbia in London, and it was organised by Contemporary Balkan Art (CoBA) from London.

Some of the questions that were being discussed were connected with the possibility of Serbia and other countries from the post-Yugoslav space to reposition themselves through culture; prejudices that the countries from the Balkans are facing on the international cultural stage (market); role of the international festivals such as Belgrade International Theatre Festival (BITEF) in international relations; and other topics related to soft power and cultural diplomacy from the perspective of the Balkans/South East Europe.

A number of diplomats from the South East European countries were present at the event, as well as academic researchers interested in the region.

Japan House, Conversation with Professor YAMANAKA Shunji: Design Futures

The Hall, Japan House London
Saturday 16 March 15:00-17:00

“Design Futures” was initiated by Tomoko Tamari, ICCE, University of London in order to discuss what ‘design’ can do for society. This event was in concert with the exhibition, “Prototyping in Tokyo” and in collaboration with University of Tokyo, Japan House and Goldsmiths University of London.

A lively discussion raised significant topics pertinent to the intersection between technology and art, the integration between prototype and society, and the power of making.

How was world-renowned design engineer Professor YAMANAKA Shunji’s idea of prototyping born? What will a future design engineer look like?

Directed by Professor Yamanaka and featuring cutting-edge prototypes from his University of Tokyo laboratory, the exhibition ‘Prototyping in Tokyo: Illustrating Design-led Innovation’ has been on display at the Japan House Gallery since January and closes on 17 March 2019. Shortly before the exhibition ends, Professor Yamanaka returns to London to give a talk outlining his approaches to prototyping and how design engineers can realize ‘design-led innovation’.

The talk is followed by an interdisciplinary panel discussion featuring leading UK design academics Professor Daniel CHARNY (Kingston University), Professor Mike WALLER (Goldsmiths, University of London), chaired by sociologist Dr TAMARI Tomoko (Goldsmiths, University of London).

Focusing on ‘the power of making’, the panel discussion explores a wide range of topics such as ‘fixing’, ‘the value of mastery’ and the social role of the designer, offering us a glimpse into ‘Design Futures’. The event is followed by a reception with Asahi Super Dry generously provided by Asahi UK.

About the speakers:
Professor YAMANAKA Shunji is the founder of Leading Edge Design and Professor at the University of Tokyo; he is one of the most respected design engineers in Japan, with previous works ranging from wristwatches to railway carriages. Recently, Yamanaka’s projects include beautiful prosthetics and life-like robots that re-examine the relationship between humans and machines. Numerous honours include: the 2004 Mainichi Design Award, the iF Design Award, and multiple Good Design Awards (backed by the Japan Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Infrastructure). His 2010 work, Tagtype Garage Kit, is part of the New York Museum of Modern Art’s permanent collection.

Professor Mike WALKER is the Head of Design at Goldsmiths, University of London; he has been in the design discipline and profession for 25 years, designing objects, services, products and new technologies. Mike holds a range of patents from his time in industry and continues to develop design innovation research through Goldsmiths Prospecting and Innovation Studio (Pi Studio), which focuses on innovation research for a wide range of international organisations. He is very interested in helping organisations use design to build capability in both industry and society. With the team in the Pi Studio he has worked with governments on supporting start-ups, and community psychologists on amplifying innovations in communities from the street level to larger scales using design. The studio has run live research projects for Goldsmiths staff and students with the BBC, LG Electronics, Microsoft Research, Kodak, BT Labs and others.

Professor Daniel CHARNY is an internationally recognised creative consultant, curator and educator with an enquiring mind and an entrepreneurial streak. He is co-founder of the creative consultancy From Now On, where clients include the British Council, U+I, Heatherwick Studio and Google. He is also co-founder of the newly formed think-and-do-tank FixEd. Charny is best known as curator of Power of Making, one of the most popular shows in the history of the V&A. His previous curatorial projects include The Aram Gallery which celebrated prototyping and experimentation. In recent years his passion is growing Fixperts, a socially-oriented, problem-solving learning programme taught worldwide. He is Professor of Design at Kingston School of Art Centre for Research Through Design.

Dr TAMARI Tomoko is a lecturer of sociology at the Institute for Creative and Cultural Entrepreneurship, Goldsmiths, University of London. She is managing editor of Body & Society (SAGE). Her long-standing research interests focus on consumer culture and the Japanese new women, which will be discussed in her forthcoming book entitled, Women and Consumer Culture: the Department Store, Modernity and Everyday Life in Early Twentieth Century Japan (Routledge). One of her recent publications is ‘Body Image and Prosthetic Aesthetics’ in Body & Society (2017) Vol.23 (1), which introduces the high-tech prosthesis, Rabbit, designed by Yamanaka Shunji. She is currently working on the following areas: the body image and technology; moving image and human perception; Paralympics, city and architecture.

Alpen-Adria Klagenfurt University, Austria Workshop Body & Society presented by Mike Featherstone and Tomoko Tamari

Mike Featherstone and Tomoko Tamari were invited for the workshop, Body & Society by Institute for Media and Communication, Alpen-Adria Klagenfurt University on Wednesday 20 March 2019. The audience consisted of faculty members, from Philosophy, Psychology, Sociology, Art, Gender Studies, and Media and Communication Studies. Following the two lectures, a lively discussion ensured possible future research relationships were discussed.

The Body in Consumer Culture: Image, Transformation and Affect

Mike Featherstone, Goldsmiths, University of London

The body is accorded a central status within consumer culture. There is a constant proliferation of images of youth, fitness and beauty combined with a more general ‘if you look good you feel good’ philosophy. The benefits of active body maintenance, slimming and fitness regimes are presented as keys to an overall life transformation. Yet despite the flow of body images, a question mark can be put against the belief that constant attention to appearance and ‘looking good’ actually delivers the anticipated promise. The rationalistic assumptions found in some of the media life transformation publicity television programmes such as ‘Extreme Makeover’ and ‘Look Ten Years Younger,’ can be seen as problematic. There is the assumption that people are constantly preoccupied with their body image and the benefits of reconstructive work. Rather, than dwell on the notion that attention to improving our body image will make us happy, the focus should also be on ‘the body without image,’ the body in motion, the affective body which operates in everyday life. This paper utilizes perspectives developed within the sociology of the body and body studies to investigate the tension between body image and the ‘body without image.’


The Paralympian Technologies: Body Image and the Prostheses
Tomoko Tamari, Goldsmiths, University of London

The success of the London 2012 Paralympics opened up not only new public possibilities for the disabled, but also thrusted the debates about the relationship between elite Paralympians and advanced prosthetic technologies into the spotlight. Focusing on the former Paralympian, Oscar Pistorius as a case study, the paper argues that prostheses could be seen to work in two paradoxical ways: they can be an obvious sign of impairment (the visibility of disability), but at the same time, they can conceal the image of the disability (the invisibility of disability).
The paper also explores how the contemporary discourse of prosthesis has shifted from the made-up and camouflaged body to the empowered and exhibited body, to the extent that it is opening up a new social and cultural sensitivity about body image – prosthetic aesthetics. The paper also endeavours to articulate the ambivalent emotions and feelings about prosthetic bodies. Prosthetic aesthetics generates two contradictory sensitivities: attractiveness/’coolness’ which can derive from the image of a perfect human-machine synthetic body, and abjection/uncanny which can be evoked by the actual materiality of the lived body incorporating lifeless body parts.

ICCE in Special Issue of Museum International

ICCE staff Oonagh Murphy and Victoria Alexander have each published articles in a special issue of Museum International. The peer-reviewed special issue was published 26 December 2018, and is entitled “Museums in a Digital World”. Details of the articles are below.


Murphy, Oonagh (2018). “Coworking Spaces, Accelerators and Incubators: Emerging Forms of Museum Practice in an Increasingly Digital World,” Museum International, 70(277–278): 62-75.

Digital technologies have begun to radically disrupt museum business models. The quantity of information available online today has never been so abundant, and easy access to information calls into question the role, purpose and ‘usefulness’ of museums. A century after John Cotton Dana called for a ‘useful’ museum, in‐house start‐up hubs where creative entrepreneurs can work, collaborate and create within the museum are being implemented. In doing so, these museums are reimaging Cotton Dana’s vision for the ‘useful’ museum into one that is fit for purpose in this digital age.

The present article focuses on how three museums are responding to the disruptions provoked by the proliferation of digital technologies and a broader interpretation of the museum’s remit, by redefining their role, purpose and practices. By developing a space for creative entrepreneurs within their museums, Te Papa (New Zealand), New Museum (USA) and ACMI (Australia) are redefining what a museum of the 21st century could be. Through a series of semi‐structured interviews with senior managers at these museums, this article examines the strategic, practical and theoretical implications that these spaces, commonly referred to as ‘start‐up hubs’, have for museum practice. The analysis of an emerging mode of museum practice as a means to support museum professionals and academics who seek to engage critically with digital culture and emerging business models in museums will follow.


Alexander, Victoria D., Grant Blank and Scott A. Hale (2018). ‘TripAdvisor Reviews of London Museums: A New Approach to Understanding Visitors,’ Museum International, 70(277–278): 154-165.

The digital revolution has affected museums in many ways, both directly and indirectly. A major external change is the rise of user‐written reviews; that is, reviews written by museum visitors and posted on the Internet. User‐generated reviews pose challenges to museums, as they are publicly available and largely outside the control of museums. This article discusses research on reviews of accredited museums in London. Our data set consists of all reviews written about 88 London museums that were posted on TripAdvisor during 2014, a total of 22,940 reviews. Using a technique called topic modelling, we describe 19 themes in reviewers’ stories of their visits. We find that museum visitors pay attention to the ancillary aspects of their visit: queues, cost, food service, toilets, and activities for children. They make fewer comments on the cultural side of the museum experience. However, these cultural aspects do matter and are associated with positive reviews. We argue that reviewers consider museums as part of a wider leisure sector. The article concludes with a discussion of the implications of our study for museum management and assesses the usefulness of user‐generated content as a source of data on museum visitors.