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Getting Re(Placed): The Role of Public Art in Hackney’s Gentrification

Part 1 Dissertation 2023
Lucy Boyd
Edinburgh School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture | UK
This paper places gentrification in dialogue with Hackney’s rich history of the public art scene, examining the complex relationship between the two. The thesis evaluates how the power play between gentrification and public fine art may lead to their assistance or resistance to one another. Through interviews, site visits and literature review, the paper explores how public art can be used as an instrument to expose the realities of gentrification and make those affected by the process visible, heard and included. With reference to Richard Florida’s Creative City theory, the paper argues that creativity is embedded within the urban fabric, thus if articulated from the layer below can reinforce existing place-identities as opposed to making new ones, working away from creative place-making and instead towards creative place-guarding. The paper heavily focuses on the unsettling of dominant hegemony to bring about substantial socio-political change, from which three recurring themes were discovered to play a significant role; timing, surveillance and collectivity.

Importantly, I have used these three themes to make my own critical theory toolbox to re-read and reinterpret the Hackney artwork. Hence, the paper offers a new critique of the gentrification and public art relationship through local voices and community narrative.

Lucy Boyd

Tutor(s)
Sepideh Karami
2023
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