This paper has now been published online in the journal Space and Culture and is co-authored with Prof Dominic Medway. It is based on the work I have been doing on the Whit Walks and examines how they can be used as a lens to understand how urban placemaking functions neither from the top-down or bottom-up but from the middle! Click here for the paper but please do just get in touch and I am happy to send a PDF file if you do not have institutional access.
This paper offers a critical analysis of how urban placemaking as a top-down or bottom-up action, involving organizational intervention or facilitation, is typified by problematic angles of approach. Instead, we evidence a flat ontological perspective, entering into urban assemblages to feel the chaotic and ever-changing forces that make places. Specifically, we use the Deleuzoguattarian lens of the refrain to employ a transversal analysis of the placemaking inherent within an urban event—the Manchester and Salford Whit Walks, a Church of England procession that has been iterated for over 200 years. This reveals the importance of always-becoming place, characterized by ongoing repetition with difference, and embodied in the notion of Sometimes. . . Sometimes. . . Sometimes. . .. We conclude that urban placemaking is not something that can be simply started through organizational intervention, or facilitation of community-led approaches, but a process that needs to be engaged with from the middle.