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School of Environment, Education and Development

Student in The Atrium at The University of Manchester
BA Geography
Tailor your course and gain valuable experience inside and outside the classroom.

BA Geography

Year of entry: 2018

Course unit details:
Creative Geographies

Unit code GEOG21311
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 2
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Offered by Geography
Available as a free choice unit? Yes

Overview

Creativity has been defined as ‘the capacity to make, do or become something fresh and valuable with respect to others as well as ourselves’ (Pope 2005: xvi). Social, cultural, urban and economic geographers are concerned with the spatial dynamics of creativity, and how they shape our work, life, recreation and built environment. Creativity is also a central theme in research and knowledge-making, and creative processes inform how we learn about, question and re-imagine the world. Creative Geographies is a vibrant field at the intersections of the arts and humanities and social sciences, which encompasses critical thinking and experimental methods that push forward understanding of imagination, interpretation and representation.

 

The course explores several intersecting discourses and practices around creativity in a range of geographical settings. Creativity is an emblem of late capitalist economic restructuring.  Its largely positive associations have supported its adoption and integration in urban, rural and coastal regeneration strategies internationally. From the branding of global creative cities to new clusters of cultural production to shifting patterns of work, creativity is mobilised in processes of urban and economic change. Moving beyond the ‘buzz’, creativity also reveals itself in everyday, marginal or alternative practices, which are often at odds with these processes. It has long been employed as a source of alternative expression, as a means of resistance, of escape or simply getting-by. Finally, we find creativity in the common grounds of geography and art. Tracing artistic practice and its impacts through places, bodies and materials enables a different way of understanding the role of creativity in how we perceive and shape the world. The course will touch on each of these areas, investigating their spatial and temporal patterns, their experiences, politics and impacts.

 

Alongside these themes, the course will introduce the idea and practice of creative knowledge-making. During lectures and seminars, we will analyse examples of how geographers employ creative approaches in their research, and how these methods shape the knowledge that is created. Supported by guest lectures from art practitioners, we will consider the potential of working across disciplines, and during the field day we will experiment hands-on with playful technology in field research. In addition to gaining an understanding of academic ways of thinking about and researching creative geographies, the course encourages experimentation, exchange and reflexivity on your own creative citizenship.

Aims

·      Providing critical and empirical ways of understanding the spatial dynamics and economies of creative geographies

·      Analysing and critically discussing diverse creative practices, their contexts and impacts through a range of contemporary case studies

·      Developing knowledge on the relationship between geography and artistic practice, and how their ideas inform each other

·      Encouraging an interdisciplinary approach and familiarising students with different modes of creative knowledge-making

·      Discussing and enabling experimentation with creative methods   

Learning outcomes

By the end of this module you should:

·      Be able to critically engage with creative geographies as a field of geographical research

·      Understand the place of creative geographies within human geography including key theoretical, methodological and empirical approaches

·      Understand how creative practices shape places and people’s lives

·      Appreciate how social difference informs understanding of creative geographies

·      Have developed an appreciation of creative methods and their application in research settings

·      Have developed skills in researching and writing about creative practices and places

·      Be able to analyse and reflect upon the impact of creative geographies on the world, including your own role as both producer and consumer

Syllabus

Week1

Introducing Creative Geographies: Key concepts and debates

Week 2

Creative Cities: economy, policy and the urban environment

Week 3

(Real) Creative class: labour, precarity and the struggle for space

Week 4

Practicing alternatives: community, participation and creativity of the everyday

Week 5

Playfields field trip

Week 6

Study Week

Week 7

Creative methods and experimental geographies

Week 8

Ludic Geography: the practice and power of play

Week 9

Study Week

* hand in coursework essay

Week 10

Creativity and diversity (guest lecture)

Week 11

Creativity and interdisciplinarity (guest lecture)

Week 12

Conclusion: recap, revision and Q&A

 

Teaching and learning methods

You will be assessed by one piece of individual coursework, a 2500 word essay (60%), and a 2 hour exam paper (worth 40%).

 

Coursework assignment: submission – by midday Thursday Week 9.

For the coursework you will be required to write up a critical essay drawing upon lecture and seminar materials and wider reading with the option of using original data from fieldwork undertaken during the module. The analytical essay has a 2500 maximum word count.

The assessment has been arranged to enable you time during the course and study weeks to consult the course leader, and to develop your thinking and writing:

·         You will have both study week 6 and most of study week 9 to develop your coursework;

·         To complete the coursework successfully you are expected to have attended the lectures and participated actively in seminars , along with undertaking the fieldtrip (week 5);

·         The course will open up empirical case studies through critical theory, providing an analytic framework for the exam

·         Feedback on your essay will be received in week 12 prior to revising and sitting the exam.

Transferable skills and personal qualities

·      Critical thinking and self-reflexivity

·      Motivation and self-directed learning

·      Awareness of the social and cultural issues facing contemporary societies

·      An ability to plan, deliver and reflect on fieldwork

·      An ability to assess the merits of contrasting theories and approaches

·      An ability to relate theoretical arguments with empirical research and contemporary examples

·      Information handling skills, evaluation and analysis of different kinds of evidence

Assessment methods

You will be assessed by one piece of individual coursework, a 2500 word essay (60%), and a 1 hour exam paper (worth 40%).

 

Coursework assignment: submission – by midday (GMT) Thursday [DATE] (week 10).

For the coursework you will be required to write up a critical essay drawing upon lecture and seminar materials and wider reading with the option of using original data from fieldwork undertaken during the module. The fieldwork will comprise a photographic diary. You will be required to submit both your analytical essay and your photographic diary. The analytical essay with optional fieldwork data will contribute to the 2500 maximum word count (the photographic diary can form a non-assessed appendix).

The assessment has been arranged to enable you time during the course and study weeks to consult the course leader, and to develop your thinking and writing:

·         You will have both study weeks (week 6 and 9) to develop your coursework;

·         To complete the coursework successfully you are expected to have attended the lectures and participated actively in seminars (week 1-5, 7), along with undertaking the fieldtrip (week 8);

·         The course will open up empirical case studies through critical theory, providing an analytic framework for the exam (throughout; and in particular week 10 and 11);

·         Feedback on your essay will be received in week 12 prior to revising and sitting the exam.

Feedback methods

Feedback will be provided in the following ways during this course unit:

·      Extensive verbal feedback through Q&A, discussion and interaction within lectures and seminars;

·      Formative feedback on group presentation and photographic diary;

·      Verbal feedback on any course unit issue through consultation hours;

·      On-going peer feedback through seminar participation;

·      Detailed written feedback on the coursework assignment.

Recommended reading

Creative Geographies are informed by inter-disciplinary debates and cross-sectoral practice. Some of the key texts you should read are:

 

Crang, M. and Cook, I. (2007) Doing Ethnographies. London: Sage.

Edensor, T., Leslie, D., Millington, S. and Rantisi, N., (Eds.) (2009) Spaces of Vernacular Creativity. London: Routledge.

Flew, T. (2012) The Creative Industries: Culture and Policy. London: Sage.

Hawkins, H.  (2013) For Creative Geographies. New York, London: Routledge.

Jackson, P., Crang, P., Dwyer, C. (2004) Transnational spaces. London: Routledge.

Pope, R. (2005) Creativity: Theory, History, Practice. London: Routledge.

Power, D. and Scott, A.J. (2003) Cultural Industries and The Production of Culture London: Routledge.

Rendell, J. (2010) Site-Writing: The Architecture of Art Criticism. London: I.B.Taurus.

Scott, A. (2000)The Cultural Economy of Cities. London: Sage.

Shurmer-Smith, P. (Ed.) (2002) Doing Cultural Geography. London: Sage.

Sicart, M.(2014). Play Matters. London: MIT Press.

Stevens, Q. (2007). The Ludic City: Exploring the Potential of Public Spaces. Abingdon: Routledge.

Warren, S. and Jones, P. (Ed.) (2015) Creative Economies, Creative Communities: Rethinking Place, Policy and Practice. Aldershot: Ashgate.

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Assessment written exam 2
Lectures 20
Seminars 10
Independent study hours
Independent study 168

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Jana Wendler Unit coordinator

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