Professor Craig Young has seen success again as he was recently awarded a joint external funding grant from the Swedish Research Council (Vetenskapsrådet) to work in close connection with Stockholm University on a joint project entitled ‘Creativity from below: Understanding the Socio-political Construction of Creativity in the European city’.

Professor Young, who is a Professor of Human Geography at MMU, has achieved success in many of his projects previously, such as Encountering Corpses, which will continue with a second run in March this year, and an ESRC seminar series of events exploring the dead body.

However, his new project focuses not on dead bodies, but instead on the topic of ‘Creativity from below: Understanding the Socio-political Construction of Creativity in the European city’. The ‘Creativity from Below’ project is led by Dr Thomas Borén from the Department of Human Geography at Stockholm University, and Professor Young will take on a role as Co-I.

Approximately 50% of the SEK 3,900,000 or £310,000 grant will come to MMU over the next three years, as Manchester will feature as one of the research project's case study cities, along with Stockholm, GdaƄsk and possibly more.

Professor Young and Dr Borén will study the interaction of creative producers with urban policy, policy-makers, and planners in each city, which will add to the understanding of issues of policy mobility in each location.

They will also work with creative groups, artists, and practitioners, such as planners, urban policy makers, and place managers. This will provide the university with good working links within Manchester and further afar, opening a potential space for further research impact.

Professor Young said: “The project will also involve strengthening links with local creative communities and with local government in Manchester as well as in the other case study cities in Europe. Dr Thomas Borén and I have already worked closely with artists and policy-makers in Stockholm and this project will be an extension of methods of research and engagement that we developed in that earlier work."

The collaboration itself is already having impact at MMU as it led to the development of Erasmus and Erasmus+ links between MMU and Stockholm University which Craig hopes will enhance the student experience.
Professor Young said: "The project will provide an ideal opportunity to strengthen links between MMU and Stockholm University, both in collaborative research and bidding for external funding while supporting MMU's internationalisation agenda. It can also provide a forum for enhancing the student experience through developing existing Erasmus and Erasmus+ exchanges.”

Dr Borén and Professor Young have published a short briefing in Swedish in the latest issue of the journal PLAN, a professional journal for Swedish planners.

Lucy Simpson

Friday, 8th January 2016