D&D satellite: What is the point of Creative Placemaking?

Fri 9 Dec 2022 10:30 AM - 4:00 PM GMT

Guildhall School of Music and Drama (Milton Court), EC2Y 9BH

Join us for a conversation about Creative Placemaking ... 

Devoted & Disgruntled (D&D) event series is an opportunity for everyone passionate about the arts — from audiences to artists, CEOs to FOH staff, grassroots groups to seasoned professionals — to get together and focus on the questions or issues they want to work on. Anyone and everyone is invited to take part, no matter how "experienced" you are. This session is focused on "What is the point of Creative Placemaking?" and it's hosted by the RSC, Guildhall, Arts Connect and Improbable.

Book your free place here! Bursary places are also available for travel below.

"What is the point of Creative Placemaking?" - invitation from Erica Whyman

I have been a leader in a range of cultural institutions of different sizes and for me the most rewarding moments and endeavours have been when we put people at the heart of our thinking, and I have seen creative placemaking, when it is done well, make a real and lasting difference to the identity and confidence of a community or multiple communities who share a space.

However I still find myself battling with at least two opposing forces; first that work which centres communities is not regarded as ‘real’ creative work, it is, as recently observed, considered ‘subordinate’ to professional work onstage. It is certainly not afforded the same critical attention or resources. In order to consistently succeed it also needs to dismantle or dissolve institutional hierarchies in which a singular creative mind decides what will be created and by whom – sometimes whilst professing that the outcomes will be ‘good for’ a community or group.

I also know that these contradictions live in my own practice and my choices – the need for box office income, insufficient time set aside to develop work co-creatively, and the desire to exercise my or other artists’ skill in making new meaning in the world, can weigh against always starting with place and with people. And I am aware I am currently leading an institution with Shakespeare - an excellent but nonetheless dead, white, male, figurehead - at its heart.

Placemaking is a term that is being increasingly used by councils and funders and we have seen organisations adopting ‘placemaking strategies’. It is often a way to gentrify areas, pushing people experiencing structural disadvantage to the margins and bringing in expensive cafes, restaurants and shops that proclaim themselves to be at the heart of the experience economy.

What do I mean by creative placemaking? I mean taking a people-centred approach to remaking or re-imagining spaces through creative opportunity. It brings artists and communities together to make decisions. It isn’t driven by profit but by value. It also links to co-creation practice and much of the thinking at the heart of the Arts Council of England’s current strategy Let’s Create.

What I really want to know is how do we really change who is entitled to create an active sense of belonging? Can creative placemaking help us to do that or is it destined to be just another fashionable phase?

Do please join us for a conversation. The people who come are the right people.


The Event

Devoted and Disgruntled events are organised using Open Space Technology (OS). You don't need to know anything about this in advance, we will tell you everything you need to know at the start of the day. OS is a way for a group of people to self-organise, so they spend time working on the stuff they really care about and want to work on as a group in the time we have. 

We will all start the day together in Opening Circle. In this time anyone can 'call a session' (you don't have to) about something they want to talk about and stick it up on the wall. During the day we will work on all of the sessions that are called. At the end of the day we will come back together to reflect and share actions we are taking away. 

If you want to know more about OS before you can read all about it here: https://www.devotedanddisgruntled.com/about-open-space-technology

Where: Guildhall School of Music and Drama, Milton Court, 1 Milton Street, London EC2Y 9BH. Enter through the main entrance (Box Office). Our volunteers will meet you there. 

If you want to check out the building and facilities before your arrival then there is a 360 tour of the spaces here. https://www.gsmd.ac.uk/about-guildhall/visiting-guildhall-school The spaces we are using are in Milton Court and the Opening Circle will be held in Rehearsal Room 3. 

When: Doors open 10.30am | Event 11am - 4pm (with an hour for lunch at approx. 1pm).  

Costs: Tickets are free and you can book them here

We know that the costs do not stop at making this event free. We have a limited budget to cover travel for people from outside London who need financial support to travel to the event up to £150 per person. This is intended for freelancers and small companies who would otherwise be unable to attend. This bursary fund is limited and given on a first-come, first-served basis. Please complete this short form and the team will be in touch. 

Access: We try our hardest to make sure Open Space is accessible for all participants including (but not limited to) d/Deaf, disabled, blind, partially-sighted, and neurodivergent people. If you have access requirements there is space to tell us about what you need on the ticket booking page. We aim to provide tailored access provision so please feel free to get in touch with Kathryn Bilyard on [email protected] or call the office on 0207 240 4556 to discuss any needs you have. 

Getting there: The School is based in the heart of the City of London, and is part of the Barbican complex, next door to the Barbican Centre.  Find Milton Court on Google Maps.

By underground/train: Barbican, Moorgate, Liverpool Street, St Paul’s and Bank stations are all nearby.
By bus: Bus numbers 4, 43, 55, 76, 100 and 153 stop nearby.
By road: The School falls within the Congestion Charge zone. Visit cclondon.com or telephone 0845 900 1234 for further information. Accessible parking for Milton Court is available at Car Park 3

Other things I need to know: We will provide tea, coffee and a light lunch at the event for free. This will include vegetarian and vegan options. There is a cafe on site and several places within a five minute walking distance and onsite staff can give you recommendations if you need them.