Public art, community and urban redevelopment Essay


“The incorporation of major public art undertakings into regeneration strategies has become a cardinal factor in rebranding a metropolis ‘s image”

( Sharp et al, 2005:1012. )

Public art is the same of any other piece of graphics. It is inclusionary and exclusionary and has a political, societal and economic importance ( Sharp et al, 2005 ) . Harmonizing to Sharp et Al, “Public art is non merely art placed outside” it can be found in art galleries where the graphics is put on show for the public and community to see and besides within the media on the cyberspace, telecasting programmes and docudramas and besides in natural landscapes ( 2005: 1003 ) . Topographic points such as Gateshead and Newcastle have used public art as a manner of transforming their metropoliss by utilizing it as regeneration strategies and have created big statues such as the Angel of the North ( 1998 ) created by Anthony Gormley. Harmonizing Miles, 1997 “in 1993, 40 per centum of local governments in the UK have adopted a public art policy ‘ ( Miles, 1997:96 quoted in Sharp et Al, 2005: 1004 ) . Gateshead is a premier illustration of a metropolis that has transformed into a “cultural city“ from a “post industrial“ one and has attracted many tourers to see the graphics of the Angel of the North, Millennium Bridge ( Sharp et al, 2005:1012 ) .

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Academicians such as Sharp et Al, 2005 agree with the thought that Public art contributes to a City culturally, socially and economically. They believe that it gives the City a sense of topographic point and individuality and belonging as they have their ain hallmark such as The Big Ben in London. This in bend increases the economic system of a City as it introduces cultural touristry and boosts the local economic system and helps people socially as it creates more employment for many locals in the country and helps to cut down hooliganism as it increases the aesthetics of the country ( Sharp et al, 2005:1004 ) . Harmonizing to Selwood, 1995 public art besides gives “an aura of quality” by doing a topographic point really typical and different from anyplace else ( Selwood: 21 quoted in Hall and Robertson, 2001:7 and Hall and Robertson, 2001 ) . Although there are many inclusionary facets that surround public art, there are besides some exclusionary 1s.

As suggested by Sassen and Madanipour et Al “When a topographic point needs renewing or restructuring, that topographic point is frequently one of many socio economic inequalities” ( Sassen, 2001 ; and Madanipour et Al, 1998 quoted in Sharp et Al, 2005: 1005 ) . There are many dissensions with the fact that public art is supposed to be more symbolic nevertheless becomes more material ( Selwood, 1995: quoted in Sharp et Al, 2005:1006 ) . Community engagement within Public art is really of import and harmonizing to Young, the definition of inclusion is “a democratic determination ( being ) normatively legitimate merely if those affected by it are included in the procedure of treatment and determination making” ( Young, 2000:22 quoted in Sharp et Al, 2005:1006 ) . The Angel of the North in Gateshead was really inclusive within community engagement, over 1400 school kids and 30 schools were involved ( Sharp et al, 2005 ) .

Vandalism of public art was a signifier of opposition by community and as suggested by Luna, 1995 “graffiti gives people a voice who do n’t have the capital and edifices upon which hoardings are mounted” ( Luna, 1995 quoted in Sharp et Al, 2005:1015 ) . Public art became a signifier of regeneration ; this meant that the art was supposed to undertake the “problems of unemployment and disaffection in the county ‘s interior metropoliss, every bit good as lending to the creative activity of a classless and tolerant society” ( Department of National Heritage, 1993 quoted in Hall and Robertson, 2001:6 ) . However, non every one in the community is traveling to be happy. For illustration, an article on the BBC web site describes critic ‘s positions of the statue of a bare handicapped pregnant adult female in Trafalgar square, the creative person wanted to stand for a handicapped individual as they are frequently ignored in art work. Many people were overwhelmed by this statue and saw it as a signifier of power and looked to this adult female as a diacetylmorphine nevertheless many people found it violative and one critic described it as “ugly” ( BBC intelligence, 2005: online ) .

The Arts council, 1990 “policy in Britain stated that a per centum of costs for new developments was devoted to the proviso of public art” ( The humanistic disciplines council, 1990, quoted in Hall and Robertson, 2001:6 ) .

Some faculty members argue that Public art can be really damaging to the environment and do even more economic and societal jobs. Darke, 1995 and Miles 1997, 1998 give illustrations of negative impacts of public art, for illustration a bombardment placed in the signifier of public art in the Cardiff Bay Development Area has created damaging impacts to the wetland ecology ( Hall and Robertson, 2001 ) . This is bend has a bad consequence on the environment and socioeconomics of the country.

Art is a typical manner to animate an economically worsening and socially excluded country, it is a manner of socially reconstituting an country by making a sense of community ( Hall and Robertson, 2001 ) . Pat Benincasa describes her graphics as “community edifice, non merely constructing something for community” which is what graphics is to many other creative persons ( Skarjune,1993:19 quoted in Hall and Robertson, 2001:10 ) . As discussed before by Sharp et Al, 2005 art gives people a “sense of individuality and community” as it usually reflects a topographic point ‘s history is shared by many in a peculiar infinite, it hence forms a common individuality for the local community ( Hall and Robertson, 2001:10 ) .

Community engagement is a cardinal facet in the societal development of public art. This can run from creative persons acquiring thoughts and sentiments from the populace, to the public being involved in the production of the graphics itself ( Hall and Robertson, 2001 ) . The engagement that the community entails allows them to experience a sense of individuality, ownership and duty for the art work. This in bend means that it is less likely to acquire vandalised as the community has a certain sum of ownership of the public art ( Hall and Robertson, 2001 ) .

Harmonizing to Hall and Robertson art besides works to make a “sense of place” by rekindling a topographic point with its yesteryear or traditions and history ( 2001:12 ) . For illustration Nelson ‘s column situated in Trafalgar Square in London is at that place to honor the hero Horatio Nelson after his decease in the Battle of Trafalgar, this for illustration gives us Londoners a sense of topographic point as there is a history and background to the topographic point that we live in ( Wikipedia subscribers, 2010 ) .

Another manner of making a sense of topographic point is by doing a topographic point aesthetically distinguishable and alone like the lodging strategy that we will research in Ballymun, Dublin ( Hall and Robertson, 2001 ) .

Some faculty members have argued “that public art can lend to turn toing public demands of a community by assisting communities understand their jobs and giving them a solution” ( Duffin, 1993 ; Public Art Consultancy Team, 1990:30, Clarke, 1990:18 quoted in Hall and Robertson, 2001:14 ) . It besides a manner of undertaking societal want by affecting the people who do n’t hold a voice within community and who have been socially alienated because of different grounds ( Hall and Robertson, 2001 ) and harmonizing to Blaney, “Art can be a stimulation for anomic people and can function as the first measure in the ladder towards their full engagement in society” nevertheless this is contested by other faculty members ( 1989:3 quoted in Hall and Robertson, 2001:15 ) . Local people who provide guided Tourss of public art trails such as in Ballymun, besides have a sense of ownership and pride for the art and this once more reduces the opportunities of hooliganism or exclusionary jobs ( Sharp et al, 2005 ) . Public art besides contributes to the addition in educational values to communities for illustration postings and runs can raise issues of certain things. For illustration there are many media runs for smoke, domestic maltreatment and ways of cut downing burglary in your place ( Hall and Robertson, 2001 ) .

The reviews of public art are that public sentiment is seemed to be ignored in public art research. Many creative persons describe their public art by excepting the personal sentiments of the populace or local community which are the people who have to confront these things on a twenty-four hours to twenty-four hours footing ( Hall and Robertson, 2001 ) . Many people are still “marginalized” in community engagement for illustration the London Docklands development undertaking, made land private and wiped out coevalss of history from this freshly developed “virgin site” ( Smith, 1993 and Sharp et Al, 2005:1015 ) . We will be looking at the regeneration undertakings and public art trail of a topographic point in the North of Dublin called Ballymun.


Ballymun is situated on the far north side of Dublin. Harmonizing to the 2006 nose count Ballymun has a population of 22,109 people. Harmonizing to Somerville-Woodward, 2002, in 1966, Ballymun ‘s first high raised tower block was built to work out the job of the deficiency of lodging and the immense demand for 100,000 new houses. This new lodging strategy aimed to supply local comfortss such as stores, green infinites and leisure activities for the local community in order to avoid societal exclusion for the aged and households with immature kids. This tower block lodging strategy was being to a great extent avoided in the UK and in Europe as they were seen as “vertical slums” and were the consequence of societal isolation for aged and those with disablements who found it difficult to utilize the stepss of flats as many of the lifts suffered from malfunctions ( Somerville-Woodward, 2002:38 ) . It appeared that Ballymun ‘s lodging strategies were an heroic failure. The people of Ballymun frequently went on rent work stoppages due to that fact that the lifts in the flats had a series of mistakes on a frequent juncture which was due to “tenant abuse and vandalism” ( Somerville-Woodward,2002:47 ) . Ballymun suffered from poorness and societal exclusion and this was made worse by the economic downswing in the seventiess. Harmonizing to Kintrea and Muir, 2009 Ballymun was known as a topographic point that had suffered and failed in consequence of its lodging strategies. In order to travel Ballymun off from this old individuality, a program was implemented to do Ballymun a modern town, nevertheless this besides failed every bit good harmonizing to the Government as they had a higher outlook of betterments to the country ( Kintrea and Muir, 2009: online ) .

Interrupting Land

Ballymun Regeneration Limited is the Dublin City Council ; their purpose is to work with the community in order to renew the country of Ballymun ( Somerville-Woodward,2002 ) . Harmonizing to Breaking Ground ‘s official web site, In the twelvemonth 2000, Ballymun Regeneration Limited ( BRL ) set up a per cent for art undertaking in Ballymun in Dublin which is called Breaking Ground. Breaking Ground has introduced a big figure of public art work into Ireland such as Andrew Clancy ‘s Cathode / Anode to larger undertakings such as Seamus Nolan ‘s Hotel in Ballymun. Breaking land integrates with the community by working with many organisations such as locals, schools, community groups and local concerns ( Interrupting land: Online ) . The cardinal purposes of Breaking Ground are shown below.

“To conveying attending nationally and internationally to undertakings organised within Ballymun, and to spread out and enrich the lives of communities through experiences with modern-day art.” ( Interrupting Land: Online )

Tower blocks will be demolished and replaced by 5000 new places in 5 new vicinities all within a assortment of different manners and the community within this can bask the freshly built Parkss, substructure, leisure activities and so on ( Somerville-Woodward,2002 ) .

Research Questions

In order to transport out our research in Ballymun we are traveling to be reexamining the public art trail and will be giving an analysis of cardinal subjects and illustrations.

Our research purpose is: To research the work of Breaking Ground and creative person Mike O’Kelly in making public art in Ballymun.

Below are the three chief inquiries that the undertaking is traveling to turn to followed by a figure of sub inquiries.

  1. What are the enterprises, ethos and policies of Interrupting Ground?
  2. Why/How would their enterprises, ethos and policies help a community like Ballymun which has been capable to a lodging failure? How do they affect the community and seek to include much of the community within their work?

    How have creative persons responded to the undertaking of Breaking Ground in assisting to enrich the lives of the community?

  3. How has the creative person responded to the invitation of working with Breaking Ground?
  4. Does this differ from the old work he has produced and how?

    Did the creative person have to be rather specific in his work when working on an urban regeneration strategy in Ballymun?

    Why he thinks public art is of import in an urban regeneration?

  5. How does the art trail reflect the purposes of Interrupting Ground?
  6. Are the pieces of the art trail geographically site specific?

    Are there any signifiers of opposition in the signifier of graffito etc?

    What are our ideas on the art trail and has public art contributed to advancing a successful community?


In order to reply these research inquiries and to derive a Fuller apprehension of them, we will be transporting out our research on twenty-four hours two of the trip to Dublin, on Tuesday 23rd March. On the eventide before we will be fixing our semi structured interviews so that we are to the full prepared. We will be set abouting qualitative extended and intensive methods by utilizing two in- deepness semi structured interviews. This will take topographic point on the same twenty-four hours with two different people, Paul McAree of Breaking land and the creative person, Mick O’Kelly who has been portion of many regeneration undertakings in Ballymun. These interviews will be to the full recorded by an audio device and because of the deficit of clip we will non be able to transcribe these to the full, alternatively nevertheless four members of the group will take elaborate notes in order to derive a full apprehension of what these interviewees are seting across to us and the other three will set about the interviews, this is so that the interviewees feel to the full engaged whilst note-taking is taking topographic point. We will besides set about a guided circuit of the Public art trail of Dublin to acquire a sense of Ballymun and the undertakings that have been undertaken here for ourselves. We will extensively analyze the art trail and to derive our ain personal sentiments and positions of the peculiar art work that has been done in the country. We will enter our ideas of the public art every bit good as the usher ‘s ideas by utilizing an audio device. We will besides utilize ocular archives as a method and take exposure to stand for what we have seen and to supply it in our research studies in April. We will so intensively analyse these to the full and so will be able to reply our research inquiries.

Of class ethical issues will be taken into consideration. We will to the full brief the interviewees with the purposes of the survey. We will have the consent from the interviewees and tour ushers to take portion in the survey and will guarantee that we have their full consent to enter interviews. All informations will be stored in an anon. signifier and in a secure locked cabinet so that no 1 can acquire keep of any personal information.

We will be following a elaborate research timetable in which we can finish our research within a twenty-four hours. The research timetable is shown below.

Research Timetable

Monday 22nd:

Evening- Free clip to fix interview inquiries

Tuesday 23rd:

9 – 10 am – Make manner to interview in Ballymun

10 – 11 am – Two Interviews will take topographic point

11.30 – 1.30 pm – Public art trail with exposure and recordings of our ain ideas

1.30 – 2.30 autopsy – Lunch

2.00 – 3.00 autopsy – Preparation for Presentation


Sharp J, Pollock V and Paddison R, 2005. Just Art for a Just City: Public Art and Social Inclusion in Urban Regeneration. Urban Studies. 42 ( 5-6 ) 1001-1023

Hall T. and Robertson I, 2001. Public Art and Urban Regeneration: protagonism, claims and critical arguments. Landscape Research. 26 ( 1 ) 5-26.

Somerville-Woodward R, 2002. Ballymun A History. ( 1-2 ) BRL. Dublin. Online. Available at: hypertext transfer protocol: // Date Accessed: 18th March 2010.

Kintrea K and Muir J. 2009. Intergrating Ballymun. P84. Available online at: hypertext transfer protocol: // Date Accessed: 17th March 2010.

Web sites:

Interrupting Land: hypertext transfer protocol: //

Anon. 2005. Square ‘s bare sculpture revealed. BBC News. [ Internet ] 19 September. Available at: hypertext transfer protocol: // Date Accessed: 18th March 2010.

Wikipedia subscribers. 2010. Horatio nelsons Column. Wikipedia, The free encyclopaedia. Online. 15 March. Available at: hypertext transfer protocol: // title=Nelson % 27s_Column & A ; oldid=350062694. Date Accessed: 18th March 2010.


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