Spatial practices
: a politics of place-making for performance studies

  • Renata Gaspar

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    This practice-as-research project investigates pluralistic approaches to the construction of place through art-making. I propose ‘place-making’ as a theory of practice which aims to encourage artists and practitioner-researchers to challenge dominant socio-spatial configurations (based on positivist-inspired connotations of fixity, stillness, and closure) and, simultaneously, generate mobile and embodied ones – by critically and creatively exercising a self-reflexive ethical-political form of agency in space. This perspective follows the understanding that place is a temporary product of multiple relations and practices, always in process and under negotiation, upon which its openness to the future can be envisaged (Massey, 2005). Place-making thus refers to a cultural (artistic) approach to the construction of place which can enable a multi-located ‘sense of place’; that is, the emergence of inclusive cartographies of socio-spatial relations. This implies confronting hegemonic ideas of socio-spatial ordering and control (based on exploitation, commodification, and exclusion), and creating new ethical-political modes of engagement with art-making which convey the multiple interrelated, processual, and unpredictable features of the production of place. Therefore, the theoretical model of place-making that I advance critically interrogates aspects of the production, performance, occupation, and transformation of place in relation to processes of art-making. This task is approached by looking at the spatial production of mobile and temporary geographies, the spatial performance of friendship in artistic collaboration, the spatial occupation of cultural resistance through alliance-making, and the spatial transformation of a feminist ethics of translocality, both in my own artistic practice (six artworks) and that of other practitioners (Lina Saneh & Rabih Mroué, Yael Ronen & Ensemble, Ivana Müller & Bojana Kunst, The Freedom Theatre, and Cecilia Parsberg). Based on a situated dialogue between practice and 5 transdisciplinary spatial theory, this project offers an epistemological framework for envisioning and enacting pluralistic futures of belonging in/through art-making.
    Date of Award11 Mar 2019
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • University of Roehampton
    SponsorsFundacao para Ciencia e a Tecnologia, Porto
    SupervisorJennifer Parker-Starbuck (Supervisor) & Sarah Gorman (Supervisor)


    • Performance studies
    • Place-making
    • Space/place
    • Feminism
    • Site-specific
    • Practice-as-research
    • Collaboration
    • Dialogue
    • Radical pedagogy
    • Feminist pedagogy

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