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Art, creativity, and tourism in creative quarters: trajectory and tensions of the cultural scene of the M50 art district in Shanghai

Abstract : Artistic, cultural, or creative quarters are developing in major cities around the world, especially in China. These areas are often integrated into culture-based urban projects, with the aim of contributing to their renewal, attractiveness, and economic development, and increasing tourism. This article looks at the example of Shanghai's M50 art district to investigate the trajectories and tensions of creative quarters by focusing on three aspects: (i) the dynamics of their formation, (ii) gentrification and the tensions between their artistic and touristic attributes, and (iii) the transformations of cultural scenes embedded within them. Three main findings are discussed. First, M50 stakes its claim as a center for art and tourism in the city through the interplay of the underground (spontaneous artistic creation), the middleground (art galleries), and the upperground (planning by local authorities). This interplay complicates interactions between the parties involved, especially as the authorities have seized control, leaving the role of artists in M50 and the freedom allowed them open questions. Second, M50 presents a unique form of gentrification, whose touristic and commercial character bears witness to both local authorities' strategies focused on urban and economic growth, and the district's transformation from a center of artistic creation to one of cultural consumption. Third, M50 illustrates the mutation that cultural scenes can undergo, progressing from a lived scene, characterized by a dynamic art community; to an experienced scene, whose atmosphere is felt by tourists; a built scene, marked by an institutional strategy of formal recognition and branding; and finally, a publicized scene, with a high media exposure.
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Contributor : Basile Michel Connect in order to contact the contributor
Submitted on : Tuesday, August 16, 2022 - 1:40:11 PM
Last modification on : Wednesday, August 17, 2022 - 3:12:52 AM


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Basile Michel. Art, creativity, and tourism in creative quarters: trajectory and tensions of the cultural scene of the M50 art district in Shanghai. Cybergeo : Revue européenne de géographie / European journal of geography, UMR 8504 Géographie-cités, 2021, pp.997. ⟨10.4000/cybergeo.37685⟩. ⟨halshs-03365182⟩



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