Art Precincts and Cultural Participation in Networked Public Space

Nikos Papastergiadis (ed.,). 'Ambient Screens and Transnational Public Spaces'. Hong Kong University Press, 2016

This project investigates new modes of cultural participation in urban public spaces and assesses their contribution to broader agendas of social inclusion, and urban conviviality. Participation in public space is widely recognised as a means for deepening social inclusion and cultural cohesion. However, in the context of multicultural societies it also produces new challenges in the programming of cultural events and the design of public spaces. We argue that the focus of public design needs to shift from the representation of known rituals and monuments of the past and move towards an activity of “interweaving” the diversity of cultures.

This project explicitly addresses three key changes in the relation between urban design and contemporary culture, namely:

  • Growing recognition of art as a means of promoting social engagement, social inclusion and improved urban livability in a context of increased diversity
  • Emergence of mass forms of public participation supported by digital networks
  • A sustained shift towards participatory forms of art that address broader audiences, focus on social interactions and operate outside traditional institutional bounds

Outcomes / activities

  • Annual stakeholder meetings that provide a medium through which academic research can address issues in cultural programming and artistic practices
  • Academic symposia and workshops with leading international, early career scholars and graduate students
  • Publications in art magazines and academic publications
  • Keynote speeches at major art events and biennales


Direct engagement with leading figures in public programming at Federation Square, as well as other major museums in Australia, Singapore and Internationally.