By Cara Courage
(Occasional) Thinker in Residence with Big Car
This April, I presented a paper on my Indianapolis case study, Big Car, at the 2015 meeting of the American Association of Geographers in Chicago. View the presentation here.
With 9.5K delegates and sessions that span all forms of geography, the conference was as busy and buzzing as you’d expect. The arts had a healthy presence in the programme and my paper, “Moving beyond creative placemaking: the micropublic of a social practice placemaking project” was presented as part of the Creative Placemaking and its Micropublics. The session was convened by Martin Zebracki, University of Leeds, and Saskia Warren, University of Manchester; fellow speakers were Micheal Rios, University of California, and Annette Koh, University of Hawaii at Manoa.
My time with Big Car had been instrumental in creating the term social practice placemaking – whilst its work had undoubtedly had an economic impact in Indianapolis, its approach is grounded in that of social practice art and its associated ethos, aims and outcomes. Ash Amin’s micropublics of the title was used as a theory to explain the agency of such projects to galvanise people around arts and place and this was framed in the example of my Indianapolis case study, Big Car.
I mention in my paper the new projects Big Car is starting on the southside; and this was made possible by the generosity of Big Car once more in hosting me for a research visit before the AAG conference.