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How does art, design and architecture enable empathetic and inclusive ways of living together? How do these spatial practices effect public exchange and opinion formation in Europe's urban spaces?

The research project

SPACEX is a research project designed to address the problems faced by contemporary urban spaces in Europe, such as:

  • The demise of public spaces and public spheres of opinion formation (including the privatisation of parks)

  • Cultural policy and gentrification practices (art and culture are often employed as key tools in urban and commercial regeneration schemes, which often leads to displacement of poorer segments of the population.

  • The dominance of economic measurements in the assessment of cultural value (cultural institutions are expected to justify their public subsidies by providing evidence-based reports)

  • Lack of archival material and the under-utilisation of archives by secondary audiences. Often documents, photographs and recordings provide the only evidence of the complex range of social relations they generate.

Led by Professor Mel Jordan (Centre for Postdigital Cultures, Coventry University), SPACEX explores how art, design and architecture can instead be used to help combat these issues, and enable empathetic and inclusive ways of living together. SPACEX now has 27 partners in the form of academic and cultural organisations in nine European countries.

The artist

Professor Jordan will collaborate with Coventry artist Duncan Whitley. Duncan works with experimental film-making and sound, synthesising cinema, documentary and spatial sound art, often produced through residencies or extended connections with the places in which he works. He has presented his work in galleries, museums, non-gallery spaces and festivals in the UK, Europe and South America.

Together with Professor Jordan, he will create an experimental moving-image work exploring Coventry City Centre’s built environment in the context of City of Culture 2021, extending from his Coventry Biennial commission entitled Phoenix City 2021. The film’s inaugural screening will take place in January 2022 at the Centre for Postdigital Cultures at Coventry University.

“The new work will feature original music by Abul Mogard, experimental timelapse imagery and a virtual (CGI) model of Coventry’s city centre precinct circa 1953. I’m excited to be working with Professor Mel Jordan to reconfigure these elements in response to a series of exchanges in relation to the SPACEX project, which we hope may also result in a new piece of critical writing.”

Duncan Whitley