Glasgow-based researcher and writer, Rebecca Gordon-Nesbitt, is CCA’s Researcher-in-Residence during 2013. Against the backdrop of Derry~Londonderry’s incarnation as inaugural UK City of Culture, she intends to continue analysing notions of the ‘creative city’ and to give further thought to the social value of culture.
While working as a curator in the UK, Ireland and the Nordic countries, Gordon-Nesbitt began to examine the socio-economic infrastructures of the cultural field, increasingly using investigative methods to scrutinise the ways in which culture is managed and financed. In 2011, Stroom: The Centre for Art and Architecture in The Hague commissioned her to carry out a study of local cultural conditions in a national and international context. This prompted an interrogation of the creative city construct underwriting creative industries rhetoric, which exposed the iniquities upon which such concepts are founded. These ideas were expanded upon in a text for a forthcoming publication edited by artist-run Eastside Projects in Birmingham, and are used as the basis of research in the city of Derry.
As a counterpoint to the policies being developed in relation to European culture, Gordon-Nesbitt conducted doctoral research into the cultural policy of the Cuban Revolution, giving detailed consideration to the ways in which creative activity became valued as a form of social production. The UK government, the Arts and Humanities Research Council and many small arts organisations have recently made the case for a better understanding of the value of culture to society. During her time in Derry, Gordon-Nesbitt will begin to map the theoretical terrain for such a study, in an attempt to ensure that endemic inequalities are taken into account.