CCI Staff speak at the Association of American Geographers’ (AAG) Annual Meeting in Chicago
CCI staff were busy in the final week of April presenting their work to an international audience at the American Association of Geographer’s annual conference in Chicago. A strange place to present one’s work, but there is an active debate in the geography discipline about cities and the creative economy; moreover, geographers have very porous disciplinary boundaries. So, this was a very good vantage point to access a multi-disciplinary and international audience (this conference tends to be very well attended by international delegates despite the parochial name).
Janet Merkel presented a paper on “Between buzz and project ecologies: Exploring knowledge production in co-working spaces” for a session on “’Places in Processes’: Places as temporary stabilities in dynamic knowledge generating processes” that was organized by Suntje Schmidt (IRS Berlin) and Anna Growe (University of Freiburg). As part of a panel discussion on “Institutionalizing local buzz and global pipelines? The Potential of Innovation Hubs and Labs to Stimulate Creativity and Entrepreneurship” organized by the Oxford Internet Institute she discussed further the role of co-working spaces with international practitioners and scholars. Andy Pratt also presented a paper in this session on work he is doing on Fab Labs in Milan and London with colleagues Dr Marianna D’Ovido, and Dr Eleanor Colleoni entitled ‘Fab lab: The paradoxical death of the maker?’
Jenny Mbaye gave a paper jointly with Andy Pratt in the panel “Thinking Cities from distinctive theorisations” organised by Profs Jennifer Robinson, Fulong Wu and Garth Meyer. She co-presented a paper entitled “Mondialised creative cities: Insights from African contexts”. This paper draws on the Introduction of special issue of the journal IJURR due out sometime soon co-edited by Jenny and Andy.
Cecilia Dinardi presented her on-going research at the AAG in a panel entitled ‘Doing Creative Economies, Social Justice and Transformative Governance’, with presenters from the University of Birmingham, Leeds University, UCL and the National University of Singapore. Cecilia’s paper, Informal creative cities? Southern experiences, grassroots demands, examined whether the creative economy in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, could be understood as co-created with policy makers, creative practitioners and communities, in view of existing local cultural disputes in the context of the organisation of international mega-events in the city. The AAG attracted over 7,000 participants this year: perhaps a mega-event of its own!
Whilst in Chicago the team checked out recent ‘creative spaces’ such as Wicker Park, the subject of the case study by Richard Lloyd in his book Neo-Bohemia, (see pictures of Jenny and Cecilia collecting source material for future lectures!)