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Cursus: ME3V15006
The City As Stage: Critical Interventions in Public Space
Cursus informatie
Studiepunten (EC)7,5
This course aims at training your:
- knowledge of and insight in current debates on art and activism in public spaces at advanced level;
- ability to critically observe, interpret and evaluate interventions and to communicate about the findings at advanced level;
- awareness of the implications and concrete effects of interventions in public space by designing and executing a small-scale intervention in public space (methodological skills) at advanced level.
Priority rules apply to this course. Make sure you register for this course before 15 November 12.00 noon to be considered for enrollment.
The following students are guaranteed a place:
  • BA Media en cultuur/Media and Culture;
  • BA TCS or LAS;
  • students who are registered for the minor Creative Cities;
  • pre-master’s students.
Other students will be placed by means of random selection. 

In times of increasing neoliberal privatization, homogenization and control of public urban spaces in today’s cities we witness various artistic and creative attempts to reclaim and reconfigure the city, be it for the moment or for the longer run: street art; urban farming; parkours; flashmobs; guerrilla gardening; pop-up stores and restaurants; occupying abandoned sites for new purposes. These raise interesting questions: Who owns the city, how do we shape the urban landscape? Where and when does the city truly become a ‘public space’? How can we appropriate it in new ways?
You will reflect on these questions not only by discussing texts, but also by going into the city of Utrecht and working through these questions in more experiential and creative manners. This course celebrates the motto: thinking by doing. Furthermore, the course invites you to explore and define your personal and individual engagement with respect to issues of public space and the city. Therefore, this course requires a genuine interest in the topics of the course, and an open and curious attitude.
The course focuses on cultural and artistic interventions in urban space and how they actively re-think and reconfigure the city. It investigates how cities can be used as platforms where new notions of citizenship, community and public sphere are being performed. Using concepts and theories from performance studies, urban studies and public sphere theory we will discuss how power relations are performed in cities on a daily basis, how these can be critically revealed and (temporarily) disturbed through artistic interventions in public space. Next to discussing a variety of specific cases of public space intervention in class, you will design and execute a small-scale intervention in public space yourself in a small group of fellow students.
You will work on a series of assignments that lead you step by step to the actual execution of your intervention. You will receive regular feedback during the process, allowing you to improve your work during the course. Next to this, you will write a paper in which you discuss and contextualize a particular strategy of intervention that you believe is a meaningful in the light of a critical engagement with the urban. You will receive feedback on a draft for this paper. Together these assignments form a portfolio that will be graded as a whole.
This course is part of the advanced trajectory Participatory Cultures: Civic Engagement in Media and Performance and the minor Creative Cities.

LAS and TCS students who follow this course as part of the core curriculum of their major, need to complete a compulsory preparation course/assignment. See for more information:
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