Just Placemaking: Arts and Community Development Towards an Equitable City is a free public lecture series co-hosted by the Stanford Human Cities Initiative and the Creative Cities Working Group. The series explores the intersection of social justice and the role of artists, curators, gallery owners, and cultural workers in supporting community efforts towards an equitable and just city. The first talk will feature Susan Moffat, the Project Director of the Global Urban Humanities Initiative at UC Berkeley and her talk “Nature, Art, and Homelessness at a Shoreline Landfill: The Albany Bulb." Creative Cities Fellow 2016-17, Andrew Herscher, will serve as respondent.
Susan Moffat is the Project Director of the Global Urban Humanities Initiative, an interdisciplinary program at UC Berkeley that brings together the environmental design disciplines and the arts and humanities. Her research focuses on issues including perceptions of nature and culture in public space, parks, homelessness, water and landscape, and methods of spatial narratives. As a curator, Susan has mounted exhibitions on cartography and on the San Francisco Bay shoreline. Her oral history and mapping project, Atlas of the Albany Bulb, collects place-based stories from users of wild space at the urban edge, including unhoused people and artists, and was part of the SOMArts Cultural Center exhibition Refuge in Refuse: Homesteading Art and Culture Project. She also served as a consultant on the Detour audio tour of the Albany Bulb. She has organized symposia including Mapping and Its Discontents; Art, Politics, and the City in Mexico and China; and, in collaboration with the Arts Research Center, Reimagining the Urban and Public Art/Housing Publics: Conversations on Art and Social Justice. Susan was a guest co-editor of the Fall 2016 special edition of BOOM: California on urban humanities, which features her article, The Battle of the Bulb: Nature, Culture and Art at a San Francisco Bay Landfill.
The Just Placemaking series highlights efforts to support grassroots and artistic practices that advance an equitable city. We will discuss the arts as potential agents to advance creativity without sacrificing inclusiveness. We will also explore the tensions between the human city as an ideal and as a messy and often contentious process of becoming one. What strategies have been employed in the arts to advance social justice? Who should or will ultimately be served by these artistic creations and processes? What are possible methods of evaluating these outcomes? How is it possible to meet the four pillars of sustainability - defined as environmental protection, economic vitality, social equity, and cultural continuity - and what are the tradeoffs and choices that arise in becoming a “human city” that is inclusive and participatory?