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15 | 2017
Arts in Cities - Cities in Arts

Editor's notes


The presence of cities in the arts and the presence of the arts in cities are two fields often studied separately, be it contrasting different disciplines (art history versus geography) or within a single discipline (cultural geography versus urban geography). Nevertheless, the increasing presence and visibility of culture in general, and art in particular, in cities since the end of the 20th century tend to challenge this strict separation. Indeed, the arts aremore and more understood as integral parts of the urban fabric in a post-industrial era. Not only are the spaces and places of arts in the city being redefined, but so are their functions and relationships to the urban environment Consequently, one can wonder to what extent arts are urbanized in that process and the degrees to which cities are aestheticized or “artialized”.

This line of inquiry explains why the arts are becoming subjects as well as objects for geographers, and more specifically for urban geographers. But of course, the spatial and urban approach to the arts is not exempt from methodological issues. How should geographers study not only art in cities but also cities in the arts? Are there specific tools the geographer might use to do so? To what extent can urban geography of the arts be distinguishable from others search fields such as art history or sociology of art? What are its contributions from an epistemological, theoretical and empirical point of view?  And what lessons can a geographical analysis of the arts bring to the understanding of cities? These questions need to be carefully examined, especially since studies dealing with the relations between the arts and cities are still fragmented,either according to geographical areas (primarily North America, Europe, East Asia and secondarily Middle East, Africa, etc.) or artistic media (public art, visual art, music, dance, films, literature, poetry, etc.). By bringing together innovative and original research that investigate different urban contexts – both from the global North and South – and various arts, this thematic journal issue proposes to overcome this fragmentation by building bridges between cities and the arts. With this in mind, its purpose is to raise epistemological and methodological issues in order to participate in strengthening the thoughts on a spatial and urban approach of arts.

To do so, the issue will include articles examining and comparing diverse types of arts (contemporary art, graffiti, cinema, music, literature) in various urban contexts (Paris, Lyon, Toulouse, Berlin, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Jerusalem, Rio). In each article, the capacity of art(s) to participate in, to transform, to contest or to reveal the way cities are produced will be analyzed.  

This issue iscoordinated by Dr. Pauline Guinard, Associate Professor at Ecole normale supérieure de Paris (France), UMR Lavue-Mosaiques, UMR IHMC (associated) and Géraldine Molina, Researcher at the Institut de Recherche en Sciences et Technique de la Ville, FR CNRS 2488, École Centrale de Nantes (France)and will be published in 2017

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