Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures

School of Media and Communication


Research Seminar: Susan Luckman – Popping Up Everywhere: Urban creative economies, social media and accelerated cultures of urban experiential consumption

Clothworkers’ Building North, Lecture Theatre G.12, All Welcome

For several decades now, creativity-led urban regeneration strategies have become established mainstays of governmental policy. Originally focused on attracting and keeping the desirable knowledge workers seen as essential to economic growth in the new economy, this wave of interest now embraces the arts and creativity as drivers of urban economies. The need to innovate, and renovate, in this way has been felt especially strongly in cities, regions and suburbs hit hard by the move of manufacturing to offshore locations – such as Adelaide and Leeds. Such cities have embraced the festivalisation of public space and the nurturing of creative micro-enterprise as the ‘shock troops’ of urban renewal. More recently, the figure of the ‘pop-up’ event or venue has entered into this space. Fitting in well alongside renewed interest in localised economies around food (farmers markets) and the handmade (maker’s fairs), the ‘pop-up’ has emerged as a specific cultural phenomenon made possible by the confluence of the kinds of urban planning flagged above, and the promotional network socialities of social media. Somehow differentiating the stylised retro gourmet burger caravan from a local kebab demountable, the idea of the ‘pop-up’ is resonant with markers of cultural value. This paper will argue that pop-up practices and economies represent the logic of an accelerated post-Fordist consumer marketplace constantly in search of the new, preferably while it’s still ‘fresh’. It will consider what is at stake here and, importantly, is it culturally, economically or politically sustainable?

Susan Luckman is Professor of Cultural Studies at the University of South Australia and 2017-2018 Cheney Fellow at the University of Leeds. She is an interdisciplinary cultural studies scholar whose work is concerned with the intersections of culture, place and creativity. Susan is the author of the books Craft and the Creative Economy (Palgrave Macmillan 2015) and Locating Cultural Work: The Politics and Poetics of Rural, Regional and Remote Creativity (Palgrave Macmillan 2012), co-editor of The ‘New Normal’ of Working Lives: Critical Studies in Contemporary Work and Employment (Dynamics of Virtual Work Series, Palgrave 2018), Craft Economies (Bloomsbury 2017), Craft Communities (Bloomsbury 2018), and Sonic Synergies: Music, Identity, Technology and Community (Ashgate 2008),
and author of numerous book chapters, peer-reviewed
journal articles and government reports on cultural work,
creative industries and creative micro-entrepreneurialism.

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