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The University of Southampton
Geography and Environmental Science

Pride, Place and Policy Seminar

27 January 2022
Via Teams

Event details

Geography & Environmental Science Seminar

The Levelling Up agenda has driven civic pride to the fore of local and national policy discourse. The emotion is increasingly present within the policies and evaluation frameworks of local governments, which are seeking new ways to re-animate declining high streets, attract inward economic investment and boost their tourist industries, often through the incorporation of celebratory cultural programming. Indeed, the ‘Levelling Up’ prospectus suggested that for many people ‘the most powerful barometer of economic success is the positive change they see and the pride they feel in the places they call home’. Despite such prominence, civic pride can be under-theorised or uncritically appraised. In this talk I bring together two recent research projects to take a critical look at the mechanics and the politics of civic pride: how does it work through a large scale cultural initiative such as UK City of Culture, why is it so sought after by policymakers and how might it influence political and cultural behaviour?

Speaker Information

Dr Michael Howcroft

Michael completed his PhD in Human Geography at the University of Hull in the Autumn of 2021. Titled Pride, shame and the civic imaginary, it explores the intersections of cultural and political behaviour in his home city of Kingston Upon Hull. Through 2021, he was Research Associate on the Towns and the Cultural Economies of Recovery project with the Southampton Institute of Arts and Humanities which investigated how local communities and local governments understood culture and heritage within the emerging Levelling Up agenda. Michael is currently PDRA on Spaces of HOPE with the University of Sheffield, which, working with creative methodologies, looks at hidden histories and the role of affect in Community Led Planning. 

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