Miss Emily Hopkins

Supervised by

  • Oli Mould First/primary/lead supervisor

    1/10/17 → …

Personal profile

I am a PhD researcher in urban and cultural geographies, based within the Department of Geography and the Centre for the GeoHumanities. Supported by the SEDTC and the ESRC, my thesis is titled ‘Creating the Ordinary City: The Making of Place and Community in Coventry, UK City of Culture 2021’. This aims to build upon previous critiques of the creative city by analysing the governance practices and everyday experiences of culture-led regeneration in a mid-sized UK city. The research focuses upon my home city as it prepares to take the title of DCMS UK City of Culture 2021. By collecting data during the build-up to 2021, I hope to provide insight into a temporal period that is often overshadowed by the both year of celebration and the subsequent post-megaevent evaluation.  

The research acts as a critique of the presumed socioeconomic success that is associated with ‘creative city’ style tactics, as viewed through the lens of an ‘ordinary city’- a place familiar with denigration, territorial stigmatization and marginalization. As more and more cities adopt regenerative policies and strategies tied to the notion of creativity and culture, there is a need to further understand how and why smaller cities are pursuing these placemaking practices – and, importantly, the impact that this can have on the local communities. Using in-depth ethnographic methods, this thesis aims to attend to the people and places that are labelled as being key to Coventry’s creative journey.

Addressing on-the-ground experiences of these people and places through a series of lived ethnographies and dwellings, my research aims to present a narrative of ‘creative Coventry’ that challenges the story presented by the top-down governance structures. Through this process, it will champion the importance of banal practices and community inclusivity, both of which are intrinsic to a truly creative city that champions social justice alongside economic success.  

During my PhD, I have presented my research at the London Festival of Architecture (2018) and the RGS-IBG Annual International Conference (2018, 2019). I have also completed a three-month Overseas Institutional Visit to the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, where I studied cultural tastemaking under the supervision of Dr. Richard Ocejo. 

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