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Curating Cities: The Social and Ecological Potential of Public Art Practice

Rebar, Parkcycle and prototype parklet, San Francisco. Courtesy of the artists.


Curating Cities
COFA Talks: Curating Cities
Jill Bennett, Richard Goodwin and Margaret Farmer discuss the multifaceted ARC project, Curating Cities.

Curating Cities: The Social and Ecological Potential of Public Art Practice

Curating Cities explores both the current and potential contribution of public art to eco-sustainable urban development. Directed at examining the world’s leading practices and their possible benefits to Sydney, but in principle - to cities everywhere, this project looks at the ways that art can generate environmentally beneficial behavioural change. Project events have included workshops, international conferences and exhibitions, placing creative disciplines at the heart of the sustainability agenda. Premised upon a radical reworking of the concept of curatorship, the Curating Cities project proposes that curatorial practices move beyond typical exhibition models and learn to curate - literally “care for” - the spaces we inhabit; fostering the development of green infrastructure and lifestyle. The project advances an ambitious research plan for aesthetic practice while re-envisioning curation as a methodology for cultivating and experimenting with practical possibilities of sustainable living.

The project was inaugurated with twin events: the experimental public lab and exhibition, Try This At Home and the Curating Cities: Sydney-Copenhagen exhibitions, conference and workshop at Customs House, Sydney. Since its inception, the Curating Cities program has produced a series of public events, forums, workshops and satellite exhibitions that have featured both local and internationally developed projects all characterised by interdisciplinary collaboration. One of the major and lasting outcomes of the Curating Cities project is a peer-reviewed database of eco-sustainable art projects realised all over the globe. The project is accessible to artists, curators, producers, planners and the public. 

This project has been developed in partnership with Carbon Arts, the City of Sydney and Object: Australian Centre for Design.

Curating Cities is supported by the Australian Research Council’s Linkage Projects funding scheme (LP110200247)