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Name: Kristian Gath

PhD: Art and Design

Thesis Title: The Visual Arts in Urban Regeneration: A Tale of Two Cities: A Comparative Analyses of Two Cities


Thesis Abstract

This tale and Phd research project takes form from a collaboration between Birmingham City University and Tate Liverpool and is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council and Midlands3Cities. The impetus for this research, the tale that envelops it and the socio-historical and contemporary critique of which forms its contribution to the field - arise from an observed and gradual convergence of creative modes of labour located within collaborative and socially-engaged art practices with forms of social enterprise. This convergence reflects an increasing trend among researchers who have started to document creative adaptations and resistances to neoliberal market forces. This represents significant challenges for those within the fields of collaborative; socially-engaged artists, including urban and community developers alike. This thesis will pose three significant questions to the field:  How have the socio-economic and socio-political conditions within Birmingham and Liverpool shaped the practice of urban regeneration and its relation to arts policy, practice and provision? How has the practice of community and participatory arts transitioned towards collaborative and socially-engaged arts as social enterprise in respect to this? And how can an ecological critique of collaborative and socially-engaged art as social enterprise develop a model of participatory institutionalism within urban regeneration via processes of consultation or direct engagement? Following the economic crash of 2008 many community art practitioners and cultural organisations within this field have evolved towards models of collaborative arts as social enterprise due to economic constraints on funding. Likewise, in line with wide-spread cuts to the public sector there has also been a surge in varying grass-root social enterprises that have adapted to such a climate by co-providing and co-producing social and community services which have been affected by this decline, by entering into collaboration or partnership with art organisations or practitioners. This thesis will hypothesise that the emergence of collaborative arts as social enterprise within Birmingham and Liverpool forms a dynamic cultural ecology within which art organisations, collectives and practitioners adapt, resist, are appropriated by, or indeed appropriate a prevailing neoliberal economy. Via collaborative arts as social enterprise they can be observed as operating in complicity to urban regeneration developments, where engagements are either superficially applied to ameliorate a development to the community, or conversely, operating at times outside larger developments and being employed as a mechanism to generate meaningful responses to civic issues that such developments would otherwise seek to alleviate - forming examples of culture-led; socially-led or Do-It-Yourself regeneration. This tale will contest that this perhaps represents the positive characteristics to the present challenging economic reality – in this respect collaborative arts as social enterprise might be regarded as the ‘Golden Thread’ of neoliberalism. 


Supervisors and Institutions:

Professor Johnathon Harris, Birmingham School of Art and Design

Dr. Sian Vaughan, Birmingham School of Art and Design

Lindsey Fryer, TATE Liverpool


Scholarly / Public Engagement Activities:






Research: Creative Industries Research Cluster and Journal


Collaborative Conversations: Socially Engaged Art in Liverpool (Tate Liverpool/ Collaborative Art Partnerships Programme) (January 2018)


Paper Presentation: The 11th International Conference on the Inclusive Museum, University of Granada, Spain (September 2018)

From Agora to the Privatisation of the Commons: Representations and the Privatisation of Art in the Public Realm (working title)






The British School at Rome (June 2018)




PRINCE2 Foundation Certificate in Project Management


MHFA England: Mental Health First Aider


Journal Article:


Gath, Kristian (2018) 'Playing Politics: The State of the Arts in the Post-Museum Context', In: JAWS: Journal of Arts Writing by Students, Vol. 4 (Issue 1) pp. 75-84


Peer Reviewer for:


The Journal of Arts Writing by Students (Intellect Books)
The Inclusive Museum (Common Grounds Publishing) 


Reviewer for The International Journal of the Inclusive Museum



Masters Thesis: Documenting the Dockers: Technological Prosthesis in Site-Specific Art - A Device for Social Action

Presentation: Why Museums? A Proposal for Societies Cultural Attic - Composing Nomadic Encounters, Manchester Museum, The 10th Inclusive Museum Conference, Manchester, UK. (September, 2017)


Presentation: Site and the City: Curating Digital/Technological Art in Urban Landscapes, Tate Liverpool, Murmurs Symposium, Liverpool, UK. (April, 2017)


Other Research Interests:

  • Site-Specific Art; Projection Art; Public Art; Social Transformation; Urban Regeneration; Art Institutions; Cultural Policy; Socially-Engaged and Collaborative Arts


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