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Regenerationism: artists as gentrifiers?
Are artists being used by policy makers as regeneration box-tickers? The following brief conversation is one that was held over a couple of days between Staffordshire based creative network Blurb, NAN and Chris Brown on Twitter, in which Blurbs Mark Brereton coined the term regenerationism. It raises points and questions to the current influx of artists use in regeneration across the UK cities.
NAN: Researching artists' networks and preparing the NAN paper for the Creative Regions seminar: Are artists' groups key to regeneration?
Blurb: Yes! They are, they always have been, although, the artist needs to be valued more, and not only used for surface decoration.
NAN: Thanks! You're right. Artists should not be just seen by governments as regeneration box tickers and to gentrify neighbourhoods
NAN: The question is: Can artists stay in the neighbourhood they helped gentrify? In other words: Does society value artists in the long term?
Blurb: Does this or has this created a new movement within the arts? If so, I’ll be the first to coin the phrase, Regenerationism.
Blurb: Regenerationism - A movement within the arts where creativity is used to give life and use to land or communities.
NAN: Regenerationism: good term. Must distinguish though, between public policy and conscious involvement in regeneration by artists.
Blurb: Yes, absolutely right. If ‘Regenerationism’ is a forced movement without any understanding of what is actually needed, then the artists are at a loss once again.
NAN: Yes "Regenerationism" requires artists to be aware of the entrepreneurial side of their practice,and their own value in society
Chris Brown: I'm not convinced by the artist gentrification theory. Isn't it that artists are just able to act faster than developers?
NAN: Yes artists act faster than developers. Public policy also has a habit of being five years behind once it gets past bureaucracy.
The Regenerationism debate is being hosted by Blurb. What are your thoughts?
Take part in the debate here:
First published: a-n.co.uk August 2009
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