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The Politics of Public Space

Volume Four



Publication date : 2021/12/31
ISBN 9780648770237
300 pages, 16.5 x 10.4 cm

This is the fourth volume in OFFICE’s collection of lectures addressing the issue of public space, delivered in and around Melbourne and online. Many of the texts in this volume are interviews with the speakers from the lecture series, reflecting on how their research has been altered by the events of the past year. While past volumes asked many questions, this collection of interviews and talks puts forward strategies for addressing some of the perceived inequities in the public domain.

Nigel Bertram and Kim Dovey’s texts explore forms of protest, preservation and civil disobedience within urban spaces. Protest continues to be intrinsic to public discourse and by consequence, how the city is preserved and developed. In contrast, these modes of resistance have their counterpart in discussions about policy-making and planning. For Lynda Roberts this is through revealing the political motivations behind the procurement of cultural artifacts and their deployment throughout the arts precinct. Crystal Legacy outlines ideas of agonism and consensus planning in large scale infrastructure projects. Marcus Westbury reflects on new forms of tenure in creating and running a public cultural institute and Elizabeth Taylor unpacks the political, social and commercial motivations behind car parking.

What is clear is that each of these texts draws the attention of the series back to questions of how we experience cities. As we have found in past volumes, the city privileges certain demographics and bodies over others. Simona Castricum reflects on the diverse experiences of gender non-conforming, trans and gender diverse people in public space. And the final text, an interview with Sophia Pearce and Jock Gilbert, puts forward their understanding of Country, and strategies for Indigenous and non-indigenous people to work in collaboration. Unpacking concepts of Story and deep listening and how they shape their projects.

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