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 Centre for the GeoHumanities. Supported by 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 work on the creative city by analysing the governance practices and everyday experiences of culture-led regeneration within the UK City of Culture competition, ran by the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) since 2009. It looks at my home city of Coventry as it applies creative placemaking strategies, further supported by its successful bid to become UKCofC2021. It uses previous studies and critiques to examine the application of global/creative city regeneration practices through the lens of an ‘ordinary’, middle-sized city – and, through the case study of Coventry, the impacts that these processes have within a city impacted by post-industrial decline, territorial stigma and spatial denigration. 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.

Building on my position as a Coventry resident, I am more interested in the everyday experiences of local communities throughout this journey. Using ethnographic methods, I aim to build a wider picture of the lived experiences of local ‘creatives’ in the city: the individuals and groups that are hoped to benefit from the City of Culture activities and are expected to host events and activities throughout 2021. This study focused on local arts/cultural organisations that had been involved in the bidding process and/or the build-up period. By collecting data throughout 2019 and during the build-up to 2021, I hope to provide insight into the experiences of on-the-ground cultural players during a temporal period that is often overshadowed by the both year of celebration and the subsequent post-megaevent evaluation. The data documents the opportunities and obstacles faced by these organisations, and reflections on their involvement within the UKCofC process in Coventry.  Through this research, I hope to highlight the importance of truly inclusive community engagement in this relatively recent national competition – an intrinsic element of 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. In 2020, I am undertaking a UKRI Policy Internship within the DCMS.

View all (3) »

View all (9) »

ID: 28684877