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Artists and creative city policy: Resistance, the mundane and engagement in Stockholm, Sweden

Borén, T and Young, C (2016) Artists and creative city policy: Resistance, the mundane and engagement in Stockholm, Sweden. City, Culture and Society. ISSN 1877-9166


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Much of the literature around notions of the ’creative class’ and the ‘creative city’ has placed artists as a central, typical creative group. However, that literature has often placed artists in a conceptual dichotomy - either they are seen as uncritical champions of creative city policy (because it boosts their profile and markets) or they are placed in radical opposition to it. This paper explores the attitudes of a sample of artists in Stockholm, Sweden to open this dichotomy up to a more nuanced critique. The analysis considers the diversity of views, attitudes and perceptions of these artists towards creative city policy. While opposition and resistance to the application of creative city policy can certainly be found, the paper seeks to move beyond this to examine how the lack of accord between creative producers and policy-makers can be the outcome of more mundane, everyday practices. In addition, artists join together in specific projects and loose, ephemeral networks to address the issues surrounding the implementation of creative city policy in ways which oppose it but also seek alternatives through engaging planners and the public. Overall the paper calls for an understanding of artists which goes beyond the enthusiast/opponent dichotomy towards developing an understanding of the diverse range of artist responses and engagement with creative city policy.

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