Creating Spaces and Spaces of Creation: Artists as Precarious Urban Regenerators in Newcastle upon Tyne

Prescott, Rebecca (2018) Creating Spaces and Spaces of Creation: Artists as Precarious Urban Regenerators in Newcastle upon Tyne. Doctoral thesis, Northumbria University.

Text (Doctoral thesis)
prescott.rebecca_phd.pdf - Submitted Version

Download (3MB) | Preview


The interrelationship between art and urban space organised under the banner of the Creative City requires further critical attention. Framing artistic practice as instrumental in urban regeneration often occludes the multiple, diverse practices that it encompasses, and the numerous urban spaces that are quietly and incrementally in the process of ‘becoming.’

Current research has not yet formulated a specific descriptor for artistic interventions in urban space that is attentive to the multiple diverse practices yet succinctly surmises the phenomena. As a response, this research introduces the concept of the interstitial as both a physical aspect of urban planning, but also a conceptual tool to think about the relationship between self and place.

This thesis explores the interrelationship between art and urban space evident in the experimental practices, materialities and infrastructures of artist-run interstitial spaces; the (often) temporary reclamation of derelict or disregarded urban space for creative ‘meanwhile’ use. Drawing from ethnographic data collected across the artist-run interstitial spaces in East Pilgrim Street, Newcastle upon Tyne, this research demonstrates that artistic practice within interstitial space has the ability to ‘re-write’ the Creative City script through a re-orientation to artistic practice that is not ameliorative to urban ills, but allows for attempts to ‘dwell differently’. However, whilst the interstitial allows for attempts to dwell differently, these attempts are mediated by the literal and metaphorical concretization of the interstitial.

This thesis demonstrates, through the experiences of those living within it, that the interstitial engenders a precarious form of inhabiting the city, an informal set of artistic practices and a makeshift approach to building space. It is mobile and also fixed, ephemeral as well as enduring. It restates that we must explore forms of regeneration that keep cities complex, but incomplete. The gap between the lived city and the city that exists in our imaginations is immense; yet the inventive artistic practice that thrives in the interstices could, and should form the connective tissue between the two.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Uncontrolled Keywords: ethnography, creative city, cultural economy, interstitial space, precarity
Subjects: L700 Human and Social Geography
Department: University Services > Graduate School > Doctor of Philosophy
Faculties > Business and Law > Newcastle Business School
Depositing User: Paul Burns
Date Deposited: 11 Jul 2019 15:51
Last Modified: 31 Jul 2021 21:51

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics