(Re)Creating Post-Pandemic Placemaking for a Just City Symposium

(Re)Creating Post-Pandemic Placemaking for a Just City: What Role Should Universities Play? A Virtual Symposium

February 22nd, 2022, 11AM - 5PM

University of Pittsburgh

Creative placemaking remains an important arena for debate as consequences emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic. Formerly used to describe how the cultural and creative industries could assist in urban regeneration, creative placemaking is criticized for paying too little attention to inequality and too much attention to narrowly prescribed definitions of creativity. The massive upheaval caused by the global pandemic is disrupting presumptions that shaped placemaking and opens space for reconsidering what placemaking is and could be.

This symposium contributes to the emerging debates about creative placemaking by attending to the role and responsibility of universities in shaping place. On the one hand, universities have a significant footprint as land developers, employers, and community partners. In this sense, universities have always leveraged the power of place by marketing their campuses and surrounding cities as attractive lures for students, scholars, and investors. On the other hand, universities are part of a massive two-year global experiment in reconceiving spatiality: physical distancing, online classes, flexible work, and budget models that construct internal markets for campus space are all posing questions about how universities will consume space in the years ahead.

At this crucial juncture when cities are confronting the limits to justice and equity that the pandemic exposed, this symposium asks how universities will position themselves relative to the orthodox economic ideals of creative placemaking. Has the pandemic affected the way universities relate to the places where they are embedded, and will new ethics of equity and justice be enacted by universities and community groups they partner with?

In order to build a working document of best practices, basic concerns, open questions, and opportunities at the juncture between the university and creative placemaking, this symposium brings together voices from community organizations in Pittsburgh, from academic research on creativity and urban policy, and from University of Pittsburgh administration.

This event is sponsored by the University of Pittsburgh's Year of Creativity Initiative


All events will be held in the Humanities Center Zoom.  


Session 1

11:00-11:05: Welcome and Overview of Session 1 from Michael Glass

11:05-11:10: Introductions by David Marshall

11:10-12:10: What is creative placemaking?  Responses from Shoshanah Goldberg-Miller, Christiane Leach, Oli Mould, Henry Reese, janera solomon, David Wilson

12:10-12:20: Writing Prompt 1: How do these accounts of creative placemaking fit with what you imagine creativity to be and with how cities are using creative placemaking?

12:20-12:35: Open Discussion


Lunch Break


Session 2

2:00-2:30: Observations on Writing Prompt 1 from Caitlin Bruce and Kirk Savage and open discussion

2:30-2:35: Welcome and Overview of Session 2 from David Marshall

2:35-3:35: What roles can and should universities play in such creative placemaking?  Responses from Shoshanah Goldberg-Miller, Christiane Leach, Oli Mould, Henry Reese, janera solomon, David Wilson

3:35-3:45: Writing Prompt 2: What opportunities, responsibilities, and/or challenges do you see for universities in creative placemaking?

3:45-4:00: Open Discussion


Coffee Break


Session 3

4:15-5:00: Observations on Writing Prompt 2 from Michael Glass and David Marshall followed by open discussion

Participant Bios

Shoshanah B. D. Goldberg-Miller, PhD is an Associate Professor specializing in arts administration and policy in the Department of Arts Administration, Education and Policy at The Ohio State University. She also holds a courtesy appointment with the City and Regional Planning Section of the Knowlton School of Architecture at OSU. Dr. Goldberg-Miller’s research focuses on: arts & cultural entrepreneurship; creative economic development; national and global cultural policy; leadership in the philanthropic and nonprofit sectors; management and administration of nonprofit organizations; fund development in nonprofit organizations; and media management.
Christiane Leach is an Artist Relations Manager as well as an artist herself. She spends time in-person, on the phone, through social media, and through email providing extensive advice and connecting artists with resources and networks. She provides counsel, coaching, consoling, networking, grant writing assistance, and more to all artists with an intentional eye to serving artists of color, women artists, and artists with disabilities who have traditionally not received as much support.

Oli Mould is a Lecturer in Human Geography at Royal Holloway, University of London. His research focuses on creativity, capitalism and the commons; in a way that reinvigorates the first to critique the second and build the third. His specific research agendas cut across a number of traditional academic themes such as urban politics, creativity, cultural studies and social theory. Mould has published work on the creative practices of cities (both those that contribute to capitalist accumulation and those that try to resist it), architecture, the representation of cities in film and labour in the creative economy. Currently, he is engaged in work on urban politics, creativity and social justice.

Henry Reese is the co-founder and president of City of Asylum, a nonprofit organization based in Pittsburgh that houses writers exiled from their home countries. He is also an entrepreneur and the co-founder/former principal in Reese Brothers and Communications & Commerce. He has served as treasurer for Cave Canem: A Home for Black Poetry, Board International Cities of Refuge Network and as a Pittsburgh Cultural Trust Programming Advisory Committee member.
janera solomon is a writer, cultural strategist, curator, and nonprofit executive based in Pittsburgh. Recognized for her creative energy, janera brings passion and a wide breadth of experience to cultural projects locally, nationally and internationally. A recognized thought leader in cultural planning, janera has an extensive portfolio of projects with visual artists, independent spaces, and museums and performing arts centers.  This includes collaborative projects with Toronto based creative and museum consultants, Lord Cultural Resources, including: Museum of the African Diaspora (San Francisco); Brooklyn Museum of Art; Ministry of Tourism in Ontario; and planning and project management for August Wilson Center for African American History & Culture (Pittsburgh).
David Wilson is Professor of Geography at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. His current research pivots around the political economy of the U.S. and global north city. His research examines the politics of urban growth regimes in these cities, the politics of competing discourses that generate gentrified neighborhoods and poverty communities, and the racializing of the contemporary urban issues of crime and city growth. Professor Wilson has served on the editorial boards of Urban Geography, Professional Geographer, Social and Cultural Geography, Syracuse University Press (Society, Space, and Place Book Series), Inter-Cultural Studies, the International Encyclopedia of Human Geography project and ACME: International Journal for Critical Geography.