I study the creative practices of cities, those that contribute to capitalist accumulation, and those that seek to resist it. As Jane Jacobs said all those years ago, urban areas are the engines of innovation and creativity and as such are the crucibles of human endevour. My research therefore seeks to understand human creativity it both it’s economic and ‘non-economic’ forms. This gives me a unique vantage point which mixes the creative industries, urban subcultures, networking and world cities into a narrative that places human ingenuity at the heart of urban development. For the sake of disciplinary clarity, my research coagulates under two (inter-related) themes…
The city is a fascinating entity and is the subject of the majority of my research. The world city is a concept that has engrossed geographers for decades and it is no different for me. They are the socio-physiological centres of our inter-connected world and as a result have a multitude of people, things, processes and institutions to study. I have conducted a PhD on Sydney and studied the creative life of New York, London, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Beijing, Dubai, Tel Aviv and Istanbul in-depth. I am currently involved with researching and writing about subversive urban practices, particularly parkour. I use the Twitter pseudonym ‘Urban Subversion‘ to collate urban stories and ideas of interest. Influences on my work in cities include Guy Debord, Michel de Certeau, Jane Jacobs and Henri Lefebvre. I have also written pieces and been invited to talk on the concept of the ‘Creative City’ which combines my expertise in urban studies with…
…The Creative Economy
My research roles of late have seen me focus on the creative industries (or cultural industries if they are more to your linguistic liking). Which activities are included in the creative industries is constantly debated, but in particular, film, design, TV, radio, architecture, advertising and publishing are the subsectors that have been the focus on my research so far (yet the increased technological and digital literacy of citizens is blurring the sub-sectoral divides). In particular, the film industry for me can be both fascinating and challenging. It’s organisational structure and employment methods are unique and the films that are produced at the end can be works of art. I am currently involved in studying the ‘Media City’ phenomena which enmeshes these two research themes.
I also have a burgeoning interest in the Geographies of Film, that while is born out of my fan-based approach (rather than through academic texts, although I did digest Deleuze’s Cinema books as an undergraduate), is creeping more and more into my work. If you want to know more, you can watch this video that one of my Master’s students put together for one of her assessments, in which I discuss among other things, the archetypal urban film, Bladerunner.