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How can arts and culture make a place?

Lucy Buzacott invites comment for her enquiry into the value of local place-making for stronger communities…

Place-making is a people-focused approach to public spaces that focuses on the community’s ongoing engagement in that place or space through cultural, economic and social activities. Place-making activities connect people through projects and events that encourage individual and community interaction with a particular place or space. This results in cultural and community development and artistic and cultural engagement.

Place-making shares its focus on local and community engagement with the Arts for all Queenslanders Strategy and is therefore a key priority for Arts Queensland. As a participant in the Queensland PhD Employment Experience Program I have selected the task of examining successful past and present place making initiatives.  I was drawn to the program and to this project particularly by my strong interest in the arts and my desire to explore the value of artistic and creative activities to communities in the Queensland context. My project explores the potential for a place-making initiative to strengthen and grow arts and cultural connections in local communities in Queensland.

Creative place-making should focus on local spaces and deal with issues, concerns, and experiences unique to the local community. Successful initiatives therefore have the potential to engage and revitalise communities through artistic and cultural activities.

My research considers the value of place-making activities for communities and involves the development of a body of knowledge around the factors that make these activities successful and how they can effectively engage with local communities. I want to understand how place-making activities affect people and communities; the critical success factors in place-making and community engagement through arts activities; how these kinds of programs contribute to the community; and the value of these kinds of programs to both communities and individuals.

I am looking for input from you that will help us to understand the landscape of arts and culture in Queensland and alert me to any effective and dynamic place-making activities that have taken place, or are currently taking place. To this end, I am asking you to contribute your ideas or experiences around the idea of place-making and how it has affected your local community and what you think might be key to the success of place-making initiatives in your local context.

I am interested in hearing from you:

What are some great examples of places activated by arts and culture in your local community?

Let me know by commenting on this blog, Facebook or Instagram or by emailing me: Your input will help to develop a body of research around the effectiveness of arts and culture in revitalising spaces and engaging with communities.

Photo of Lucy Buzacott

Lucy Buzacott is a PhD student at the University of Queensland in the School of English, Media Studies, and Art History. Her thesis considers race and gender in the American South through representations of mammy and belle figures in the novels of William Faulkner.