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Title: The role of art and artists in contesting gentrification in London and New York City
Author: Vona, Viktoria
ISNI:       0000 0004 5921 3609
Awarding Body: King's College London
Current Institution: King's College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2016
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Gentrification, the contentious terrain where neo-liberalism meets housing, has been widely explored in urban geography, with few under researched areas remaining. This thesis fills one such gap by focusing on artists - a group who have been historically noted to contribute at all stages of gentrification, from triggering it to ultimately being displaced themselves. With increased consciousness of the process opening up their role in a new direction, artists are also more recently engaging in fervent activism and resistance in trying to control the aggressive spread of gentrification. This study concentrates on artists in situ in two cities with widespread gentrification, the international art hubs: London and New York City. The artists interviewed for this study have been resisting gentrification in non-violent ways, using their art to protest. Complementing in-depth interviews and a critique of art works, analysis is carried out to seek how and why artists are motivated to resist and how they reconcile themselves with the contradictions over their roles in gentrification. This thesis demonstrates the existence of new trajectories for the roles of artists in gentrification, particularly in terms of efforts of stalling, or finding an alternative for the process. Overall, artists are aware of what they represent in the gentrification process and are motivated to mitigate any adverse effects of this. On a broader scale, the study uncovers an incubating social movement: grassroots activism which finds itself colliding head-on with the top-down paradigm of economic value creation over social equality. Although the various individual actors in this struggle are not always connected or even aware of each other; some are organising themselves to fight the tide of gentrification, learning and sharing valuable lessons along the way, which have the potential to be useful to those positioning themselves against gentrification.
Supervisor: Butler, Timothy ; Lees, Loretta Conway Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available