If we think of the public-facing cultural sites largely aimed at national and international tourists and visitors, such as monuments, museums, galleries and theatres, where culture is consumed and displayed as the ‘urban stage’, then its behind-the-scenes counterpart is the ‘urban backstage’, which includes both the hidden spaces where cultural production, experimentation and rehearsals take place and the underlying conditions that underpin these activities. The urban backstage is made up of invisible networks, relationships and labour that exist out of public view in our cities, producing ‘everyday cultures’ which are vital in fostering and cultivating a shared cultural identity and belonging in our urban spaces.
Reaching across four different cities, London, Glasgow, Paris and Marseille, this collection of essays and drawings aims to amplify the voices, stories and experiences of artists, performers, makers, designers, craftspeople, fabricators, cafe owners and those running small businesses that support cultural production locally. We present these as seeds of ideas towards making and sustaining shared forms of cultural life where the image of the city emerges from the activity and cultural expressions of its inhabitants rather than being imposed by national, regional, citywide, or local policies and plans developed by public and private bodies and authorities.
Edited by Cecily Chua, Labeja Kodua Okullu and Marta Michalowska
Contributors: Andrea Cetrulo/ Cecily Chua/ Elahe Karimnia/ Fani Kostourou/ John Bingham-Hall/ Richard Sennett.
Published by Theatrum Mundi, 120 pgs, 30 × 18 cm, Softcover, 2023, 978-1-3999-4017-7