Throughout 2016

New Spaces for Culture

New Spaces for Culture is one of TM’s two core themes for 2016, focussing on the development of cultural infrastructure in cities around the world.

The design and planning of these spaces raise critical questions. Do new spaces for display support the making of new art? How will they create openness and public access without compromising the enclosure and vulnerability artists need in order to experiment and challenge cultural forms? What kinds of encounter are proposed between artists and audiences, and how do these shape the politics of cultural production in the city?

This theme started in 2015 with a series of public debates about the future of libraries and a symposium exploring approaches to cultural space in London and Hamburg. In 2016, New Spaces for Culture moved to Venice, the ultimate city of display, to ask how culture can strengthen urban life beyond the framework of economics and visitor numbers, bringing together case studies from that city, London, Barcelona, and Cardiff. In London, in the context of the Mayor’s plans to develop a Cultural Infrastructure strategy, we will also ask “can we design the conditions for culture?” in a series of expert round tables focusing on the infrastructures for different modes of artistic expression: performance, making, and writing. 

This focus consolidates TM’s ongoing concern for the politics of spaces for culture and the ways their conception, design and relationship to the city shapes the art forms through which collective social values are imagined and performed. 

– Who gets to create and witness these cultures?
– What inequalities are encoded, from institutional structures to the spatial and mediated relationships between audiences and artists?
– What is the role of experimentation and risk, and their relationship to urban and architectural conditions such as porosity, transparency, enclosure, privacy and the public?
– What do these questions around cultural space tell us about the design of the city more generally?

Previous events and projects exploring these issues include: