BATTLE SATELLITE: A Round Table Debate: Cultural Regeneration or Gentrification?
Tuesday, 14 October 2014 from 19:00 to 21:00 (BST)
San Francisco, California
London, United Kingdom
A Round Table Debate: Cultural Regeneration or Gentrification?
As part of the Battle of Ideas, this is a satellite event.
Speakers: Alan Miller, CEO of the Vibe Bar; Feargus O’Sullivan, Journalist at Atlantic Media Magazine Citylab; Emma Dent-Coad, Leader of the Labour Group at London Borough of Kensington and Chelsea as well as academic, and writer; James Stevens, Strategic Planner, Home Builders Federation.
Tickets: Free but booking essential
Cultural policy is seen as essential in helping to regenerate previously unfashionable areas of east London and right across the capital. Every neighbourhood seems keen to emphasise its credentials as a creative, artist-friendly hub and no urban space is complete without short-let ‘pop-up’ shops and restaurants, temporary cinemas or urban beaches. Supporters argue that such playful, small-scale interventions can help ‘citizens take ownership of their city’ and engender a community spirit seen as sorely diminished after the 2011 riots.
Yet others are more sceptical about the merits of such schemes, seeing them as invariably corporate sponsored examples of ‘hipster gentrification’ which undermines rather than bolsters civic engagement, with even the creatives of East London’s Tech City complaining development of the area will change its ‘unique character.’
While many artists claim to be committed to being friendly with residents and helping improve neighbourhoods, the sceptics argue that they are, knowingly or unwittingly, helping gentrification. CityLab online magazine recently called it ‘Artwashing’: getting an area cleaned up before properties are bought up cheap, existing residents removed and flats sold for the highest price possible.
Some hail the rise of artist led cultural initiatives as a radical challenge to both the problems of austerity and the perceived stifling sanitisation of contemporary public life. Are playful, small-scale interventions and urban explorations a challenge to the sanitised city, or merely part of it? To what extent do they provide a means to nurture the urban realm and engender community spirit?
In any case, is gentrification inevitable?
About the Speakers
Alan Miller is a director of The New York Salon, a forum for inter-disciplinary, open debate. He is CEO of The Vibe Bar, London. He is also the co-founder of the Truman Brewery, a 10-acre site in London’s East End. The Truman Brewery now has over 200 companies, ranging from recording studios to art galleries, entertainment spaces, restaurants, bars, cafes, fashion and retail. It has helped regenerate a significant area of London, creating a new cultural quarter. Alan sat on The Arts Council’s London Arts Board for several years. Alan is also a film director and has had his work broadcast internationally and writes and produces with his partners in Argosy Pictures.
He writes on various cultural issues for several publications, including spiked, Culture Wars, The American and the Huffington Post and is a regular contributor on LBC’s Ian Collins Sat night news roundtable and with Nikki Bedi on BBC London. He also has his own show on East London Radio.
Feargus is a journalist covering Europe for the Atlantic Media magazine, Citylab. He has written extensively on gentrification battles across Europe and in a piece about East London’s Balfron Estate, coined the term “artwashing” to describe projects in which the arts are used as a tokenistic tool for urban regeneration.
James Stevens is the Home Builders Federation's Strategic Planner. The bread and butter of his job is engaging with the local plans of the authorities of London, the South East and the East of England regions, and challenging local authorities over their housing numbers and other policies pertaining to house building. Prior to this James was covering the whole of England considering Regional Strategies as well as local plans, and before this he was the HBF's London Regional Planner. James has extensive experience of the Regional Strategy and Local Plan making process and has made representations on numerous plans as well as appearing at over 40 examinations in public all over the country. James speaks at various conferences (including those hosted by organisations such as the NHF and the LGA) on planning matters. James is also the co-founder of the 250 New Towns Club, a gallant but ultimately doomed project, that sought to free-up planning, to allow people to build their own settlements with a view to deflating the housing bubble.
Emma has spent much of her career as a journalist writing for design and architectural magazines, with a specialism in the Spanish contemporary period. Her MA thesis was on politics and architecture in the early Franco period, and her suspended PhD at the Bartlett School on aspects of social housing. She has written three books and contributed to several others. Since 2006 she has worked on the cliff-face as a local Councillor in Kensington and Chelsea; one of her favourite buildings, Trellick Tower, is in her ward. She has written and lectured extensively on the tower, its local meaning, and its future, and was on the Board of the TMO that manages Council homes for six years. She is now Leader of the Labour Group on RBKC, and sits on Planning and finance committees, as well as maintaining her interest and research in design, architecture and planning.
When & Where
Organised by the Nunnery Gallery Art Programme
The Nunnery Gallery is a public gallery, cafe and artist community hub offering talks, walks, seminars, peer-crit and opportunities for artists.
There is a rolloing exhibition programme which offers a year round series of exhibitions.
The gallery and cafe are open Tuesday - Sunday 10am-4pm.