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Title: Performing Bristol : towards a cultural politics of creativity
Author: Richardson, Elizabeth Celia Iris
ISNI:       0000 0004 5351 7388
Awarding Body: Durham University
Current Institution: Durham University
Date of Award: 2014
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This thesis examines the role of cultural creativity in urban belonging. It explores some of the people, places and organisations involved in producing and consuming Bristol as a creative city, to show that this performance is a contingent achievement. Drawing on the performance practices of spoken word, scripted theatre and Carnival in Bristol, the thesis argues that this instability of cultural creativity is played out through a dynamic of order and disorder. This is illustrated through the manner in which four elements of creative practice take place in Bristol. Firstly, ‘making’ is shown to occur through an emergent order that produces and maintains unstable spaces for creativity in the city. Secondly, such spaces for creativity are worked through by ‘circulating’ pasts that can be both a constraining and a productive force in contemporary belongings. Thirdly, this ambiguity of attachments is played out through acts of ‘expressing’ that both constitute and upset the subject. Fourthly, the ‘fragmenting’ of cultural activity is shown to be both product and producer of such precarious belonging. Taken together these creative movements point to the way culture is vital to building a social world from an individual one, but this is always a fragile construction. The ongoing necessity to belong, however fleetingly, must be balanced with the creative process of culture that is never straightforwardly affirmative. Culture’s tendency towards disorder might be productive but it also results in uncertainty. Without the stability of roles or the continuity of practices, a recurring implication of the order/disorder tension is the attempt to govern culture, to limit the scope of its creativity. The thesis draws out the potential and the constraints of such contingency to work towards a cultural politics of creativity. The creative tension in culture illustrates how people continue to work to belong, how they maintain attachments in the face of uncertainty.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available