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Логотип CGES

Interdisciplinary Research Workshop “Creative City: Actors and Practices in Russia and Europe”

October 10, 2013

Place / Time: St. Petersburg


Organisation and financing Partners: CGES, research group “Creative City: Reshaping Public Space”, Higher School of Economics, St. Petersburg
Speakers: Matias Zarlenga, University of Barcelona, Nikita Basov (Centre for German and European Studies), Alexandra Nenko (Higher School of Economics at St. Petersburg), Margarita Kuleva (Higher School of Economics at St. Petersburg), Alina Kolycheva (Higher School of Economics at St. Petersburg)
Participants: students and PhD students from universities of St. Petersburg

The Workshop focused on the issues of creativity in the urban context, which have gained great interest among researchers and policy-makers. However, the usual discourses on creativity in the city are tools for positioning and marketing used by government institutions; what has not received due attention is the consideration of urban creativity from the inside – concrete practices of creative actors, networking, place embeddedness, etc. This workshop aimed to fill this gap and takes a bottom-up perspective on the organization of the creative process taking place within artistic communities, creative spaces and creative enterprises. During the workshop, attended by a total of 15 persons, researchers from St. Petersburg and Barcelona gave their presentations and draw comparisons across the contexts. 

Matias Zarlenga from the University of Barcelona in his presentation “Place and Creativity in Visual Arts. A Sociological Analysis of Urban Creativity Processes in the City of Barcelona” provided a sociological explanation of the incidence of place (in its material, social and symbolic dimensions) in social processes of urban cultural creativity. His explanations, using the cases of different artistic communities in the city of Barcelona, were innovative and intensely discussed. Nikita Basov from the CGES, and Alexandra Nenko from the Higher School of Economics at St. Petersburg, in their presentation “Knowledge Shaping Creativity: Semantic Networks of Artistic Communities in St. Petersburg and Barcelona” presented comparative analysis of four diverse artistic communities located in St. Petersburg, Russia and one located in Barcelona, Spain. Network- and ego-level metrics of semantic structures of the communities were used to characterize their knowledge fields as well as to describe particular elements of their knowledge structures. Margarita Kuleva and Alina Kolycheva from the Higher School of Economics at St. Petersburg, in their presentation entitled “How to Organize the Unorganizable, or Cultural Production as Labor: Meaning of Working Time, Space and Division of Labor” highlighted the specific features of how work is organised in cultural production collectives/companies, in comparison with other industries. The presentation focused on issues of (power) relationships and hierarchies in more than 30 creative organizations, from street-artists or other guerilla projects to top-down projects, the speakers analyzed meaning of working time and space, as well as the role of social networks in the organization of working processes.

The Workshop stimulated the work of research teams of CGES, St. Petersburg State University and Higher School of Economics, resulting in new CGES working papers (e.g., paper by Matias Zarlenga (University of Barcelona) “Place and Creativity in Visual Arts. A sociological analysis of urban creativity processes in the city of Barcelona”) including papers in collaboration between research teams participants. The Workshop also contributed to further development of collaboration between CGES research team, creative spaces research team at the faculty of Sociology at St. Petersburg State University and research group “Creative City: Reshaping Public Space” at Higher School of Economics, St. Petersburg (resulting, e.g., in the paper by Alexandra Nenko and Nikita Basov), as well as between St Petersburg teams and research groups of Barcelona including research group at University of Barcelona headed by Prof. Dr. Arturo Rodríguez Morató and QUIT group at Autonomous University of Barcelona. All five groups are involved in the new CGES research project “Dynamics of Knowledge and Communication Structures of Creative Collectives in European Cultural Capitals” in the research areas 1 and 2 as well as resulting in a CGES working paper by Dr. Dafne Muntanyola-Saura (Autonomous University of Barcelona). The workshop also created impulses for participating MA SES students to join research activities in CGES research areas 1 and 2.