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DRPS : Course Catalogue : Edinburgh College of Art : History of Art

Postgraduate Course: The Creative City in Theory and Practice (HIAR11084)

Course Outline
SchoolEdinburgh College of Art CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis is an urban theory course for art historians focused on the aestheticisation of the city in the latter part of the twentieth century until the present day. The term 'Creative City' was first used in the late-1980s by urbanist Charles Landry to describe an approach to city-building and governance informed by a logic of creativity, and focused on the promotion of culture and the 'creative industries' (advertising, architecture, art, crafts, design, fashion, music, the performing arts, publishing, software, TV and radio, video games etc.). The idea has gained particular currency in relation to post-industrial cities, in which the creative industries have been encouraged to occupy the void left by the collapse of traditional industry. This course examines the theory and practice of the creative city, as formulated by both Landry and Richard Florida, as well as more critical work on the creative and cultural industries (eg. Jamie Peck). The course also covers the devastating effect of the covid-19 pandemic on the understanding of the idea of the creative city.
Course description Indicative topics
1: Introduction ¿ how to read cities ¿ key concepts and theories for students in the humanities
2. The creative city ¿ key concepts
3: Art Institutions and Culture-Led Regeneration
4: Artists' interventions into the City
5: The Post-Industrial City - Loft Living and Gentrification in Manhattan and elesewhere
6: Public Space and the Social Life of Creative Cities
7: The new media city ¿ media cities and the place of the technology sector in the creative city
8: The city of icons ¿ architectural icons and the public definition of the creative city
9: Against the creative city ¿ critical voices ¿ creativity, precarity and inequality
10: The post pandemic city and the future of the creative city
11. Conclusions
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesAvailable to visiting History of Art students with prior approval by course secretary
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Will have aquired an in-depth knowledge of the theory and practice of the creative city, as well as related issues such as the creative industries, regeneration and gentrification.
  2. Will have learned to think critically about the urban environment and culture's role therein.
  3. Will have gained skills to analyse, read and critique the city, and to adapt art-historical methods to the study of the urban environment.
  4. Will have gained an awareness of key developments in urban and cultural policy since the 1980s.
  5. Will have begun to develop the capacity to research, structure and present their own arguments and methodological positions independently.
Reading List
Florida, Richard L. The Rise of the Creative Class: And How It's Transforming Work, Leisure, Community and Everyday Life. New York: Basic Books, 2004.

Hewison, Robert. Cultural Capital: The Rise and Fall of Creative Britain. London: Verso, 2014.

Jacobs, Jane. The Death and Life of Great American Cities. London: Pimlico, 2000.

Landry, Charles. The Creative City: A Toolkit for Urban Innovators. London: Earthscan, 2000.

Lees, Loretta, Tom Slater, and Elvin K. Wyly, eds. The Gentrification Reader. London: Routledge, 2010.

LeGates, Richard T., and Frederic Stout. The City Reader. 5th edition. London: Routledge, 2011.

Miles, Malcolm, Iain Borden, and Tim Hall. The City Cultures Reader. London: Routledge, 2000.

Zukin, Sharon. Loft Living: Culture and Capital in Urban Change. Baltimore; London: John Hopkins University Press, 1982.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Writing, verbal presentation
Additional Class Delivery Information The class will be taught through weekly 2-hour seminars, some of which will involve fieldwork around Edinburgh.
KeywordsCreative Industries,City,Culture,Urban,Regeneration
Course organiserProf Richard Williams
Tel: (0131 6)51 6792
Course secretaryMrs Anna Johns
Tel: (0131 6)51 5740
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