Session: Call For Papers. Public Art: Spaces As Sites of “Living Together”

2017 American Association of Geographers Annual Meeting – Boston, April 5–9, 2017

Convenors: Dr. Joni M. Palmer and Dr. Laurent Vernet

Deadline: November 1, 2016

Do works of public art participate in/contribute to the dynamics of public spaces? Through what types of interactions with public art installations do people create places or activate spaces? Through what means can we ascertain whether public art works are/are not integral to creative placemaking? Can the pretences creative placemaking give public artworks actually verified through fieldwork? This session aims to open up a critical debate about public art and the creation and/or activation of public spaces. These issues may be studied in a variety of situations, contemporary and historical; urban, suburban and rural; developed or developing countries; affluent or low-income neighborhoods, etc.

Today the production—and installation—of public artworks is often an attempt to create new urban social dynamics on the sites in which such works are integrated. Urban renewal practitioners see public artworks as possible engines for bringing new clienteles to a site in order to produce a more diverse social mix. Cultural quarters associations, Business Improvement Districts (BIDs), and other urban arts and public art commissions exhibit temporary and ephemeral works to enliven their vicinity and encourage people to come back to visit. These changing art contexts stimulate the development of interactive art practices, often technologically based, to satisfy publics eager for creative or entertaining experiences.

We are interested in interdisciplinary contributions on the possible contribution of public artworks to urban social dynamics as well as creative placemaking, and more specifically in the experience that users have of such artworks in public spaces. Theoretical and empirical studies are both of interest. Urban professionals and artists wanting to share their practice are welcomed.

Please provide send your max. 300 words proposals, accompanied by a max. 100 word biography (including contact info) before October 27 to Please contact us if you have any questions. 

Participants will be notified by November 10, and will have to register directly for the AAG 2017 Annual Meeting by November 17.