Alumni News: Gentrification Festival

3 Apr

VAMA alumnus Roel Griffioen is among the organizers of a programme of lectures, workshops and film screenings on gentrification, If There’s Something Strange in Your Neighborhood… Art, Gentrification, and Housing Politics, which will take place at M4gastatelier and Dijktheater on April 14 and 15.

flyer klein

With the recent surge of artistic activity in the urban periphery, the word ‘neighborhood’ has made an unexpected comeback as a trope in the contemporary art world. Artists, or more generally speaking, creatives, nowadays take in a central place in policy-friendly models for urban growth (Richard Florida; Charles Landy), and their site within this paradigm is, well, the local. Urban planning departments, policy-makers, and housing corporations are keen on inviting artists and social designers to the table when planning neighbourhood redevelopment. Simultaneously, the new and much-debated funding program: The Art of Impact further officialises such projects by focusing on art that has – to cite the website – a “clear social impact”.

Rather than applauding or reproaching specific art and social design practices, we want to explore this “local turn” in relation to other questions as well. Namely, how is art’s spatial shift from the urban centre to the periphery tied together with city branding policies? How is this shift linked to the drastic neoliberal restructuring of the Dutch housing system and to the privatization of social housing? What kind of art practices does the ever-expanding Creative City frontline foster? What is art’s social or economic dividend in processes of neighborhood development and can this be converted into sustainable change to the benefit of the entire local community? And is solidarity desirable, or even possible, between the parachuted–in members of the footloose, de-territorialized art precariat and the postfordist blue-collar back markers who are “doomed to be local”, to paraphrase Zygmunt Bauman?

For full programme and regular updates see


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