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Public art, docile bodies and the 'post-conflict' city

Conference paper
Authors Daniel Jewesbury
Published in Heritage, Borders, Marginality: Heritage, city and identity - Gentrification and Resistance
Publisher Gothenburg University / Swedish National Heritage Board
Place of publication Gothenburg / Stockholm
Publication year 2018
Published at Valand Academy
Language en
Keywords Belfast, public art, Northern Ireland, Peace process, Good Friday Agreement, gentrification, regeneration, heritage, urbanism, urban development, neoliberal city
Subject categories Research on Europe, Social Sciences Interdisciplinary, Cultural Studies, Visual Arts, Political Science, Social and Economic Geography


Heritage discourses are routinely used to legitimise regeneration and gentrification projects, typically through the branding of redeveloping urban quarters. Large-scale public art commissions are often especially important tools in these branding and ‘placemaking’ processes. This paper examines the particular ways in which these discourses and technologies converge in the spatial planning of ‘post-conflict’ Belfast, a city where primitive accumulation and private development have been given a moral dimension, as guarantors of ‘peace’. The paper also suggests other ways in which to imagine art, as a critical discourse capable of interrupting prevalent urban practices, and of producing critical urban publics.

Page Manager: Webmaster|Last update: 9/11/2012

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