Two days of Newcastle talks and exhibitons as part of our end-of-project PURSI event. Join us!

Questioning the Creative City
Friday 27 – Saturday 28 September 2019



(Both days include lunch!)

DAY 1 – Research symposium

Friday 27 September, 10am – 4pm
Crowne Plaza, Stephenson Quarter Hotel, Newcastle upon Tyne

To book please contact Sue Lewis at Durham University (limited places)

10am – 4pm: Research symposium – presentations of research, including invited speakers

6 – 9pm: Join us at the For Solidarity exhibition launch (separate but closely related event) at The NewBridge Project Gateshead


DAY 2 – Discussions & Workshops

Saturday 28 September, 10am – 5.30pm
The NewBridge Project : Gateshead and Star & Shadow Cinema

Please book a FREE place via Eventbrite

10am – 3.15pm: Programme of talks, discussions and workshops with creative practitioners and grassroots social innovators. This day will be led by artists Andrew Wilson and Laura Yuile, who undertook 2-month residencies at ZK/U (Berlin) for the PUrSI project, alongside Berlin based artists Melissa Harrison, Katharina Mobius and Jan Van Esch.

3.30 – 5.30pm Film screenings (transport will take you to Star & Shadow Cinema)
Films: NASA LIE THE EARTH IS FLAT NO CURVE, Andrew Wilson // Premiere of a new documentary by Ross Domoney, commissioned by the PUrSI project


Questioning the Creative City is a two-day event bringing together artists, researchers and grassroots innovators to debate the role of creative practice and innovation in the life of cities beyond the current obsession with market-oriented growth strategies. How do creative practitioners and grassroots social innovation see their contribution to the city? How can cities support and promote creative practice? Can we envision a city that values creativity for its own sake, rather than as a means to an economic end?

The event marks the culmination of a research project on the Politics of Urban Social Innovation (PUrSI) led by geographers at Durham and Loughborough Universities working partly in collaboration with two artist-led hubs: The NewBridge Project in Newcastle and Gateshead (UK) and ZK/U – Zentrum für Kunst und Urbanistik in Berlin (Germany).

Creativity and innovation have been sold as the solutions to urban ills for more than a quarter of a century, and cities as crucibles of creativity and innovation are widely regarded as the drivers of national economic progress. A vast ‘creativity industry’ has grown up comprising academics, consultants, think-tanks and policy-makers. Creative enterprise zones, cultural quarters, digital and media start-up networks and urban innovation labs jostle for attention and private and public investment. The ‘creative sector’ and the ‘creative economy’ are celebrated and boosted. Yet urban inequality is rising, food banks have multiplied as quickly as artist studios, more and more people live with chronic health conditions, and in much of Europe housing is unaffordable for many city-dwellers. As a result, there is now a backlash ‘against creativity’ (Mould, 2018), with commentators increasingly questioning previously taken-for-granted links between creativity, innovation and urban change. Moreover, in these debates, the voices of creative practitioners – artists, film-makers, writers, story-tellers, grassroots social innovators – have all too often gone unheard.


Photo Credit: Stephen Wilks
Artwork: Laura Yuile, Asset Arrest, ZKU Openhaus, Berlin, June 2019