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Urban cultural policy and policy mobilities: Results from Stockholm, Manchester and Gdańsk
Thomas Borén, Associate Professor Department of Human Geography Stockholm University

The seminar presentation will be based on the results of a recently concluded VR-funded project (Creativity from Below, 2015-00910) on urban cultural policy and policy mobilities. The project was comparative with field studies in Stockholm, Manchester and Gdańsk, and contribute knowledge and conceptual development in the fields of the organization and politics of cultural policy-making; the functioning of policy mobilities; and the spatialising of cultural policy-making. Part of the presentation will focus on the most recent output:

Spatializing authoritarian neoliberalism by way of cultural politics: City, nation and the European Union in Gdansk’s politics of cultural policy formation (T. Borén, P. Grzyś and C. Young, in Environment and Planning C: Politics and Space, forthc. 2020)

This paper develops perspectives which seek to spatialize authoritarian neoliberalism through arguing for greater engagement with the politics of urban cultural policy formation in the neglected context of post-socialist East and Central Europe. Through analyzing the politics of urban cultural policy-making in Gdańsk, Poland, the paper spatializes authoritarian neoliberalism by exploring how relations between the urban and the national, and between the urban and the supranational, shape urban cultural policy, drawing upon literatures on political economy, policy mobilities, cultural policy research, and the concepts of authoritarian neoliberalism and the relational-territorial nexus. Gdańsk is a liberally run city, strongly aligned with the European Union (EU), opposed to the authoritarian neoliberal national level politics in Poland. The paper analyses urban-national tensions and relationships between Gdańsk and the EU to unpack the contested spatial nature of authoritarian neoliberalism.