Art schools and place
: an investigation of place-based learning, artistic practice and spatial relations in Manchester and Leipzig

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


The relationship between art schools and place has found little attention in existing geographical research about the art world, although it embeds the question why artists locate in specific places. Evidence on this is provided through Manchester School of Art (UK) and Leipzig Academy of Fine Arts (Germany) where biographical and ethnographic interviews were conducted with art students, graduates and lecturers as well with representatives of local art organisations. This research considers art school education as place-based learning, through which artistic practice emerges as source for understanding artists’ sense of place and their spatial relations. The different practice profiles attained at art school can highlight the contrasting capacities for developing spatial relations between place attachment and mobility as interconnected processes. Relational and spatial practices can, but do not necessarily, lead to bonds with a specific place. They can be understood as transferable artistic method. Contrary to their practice being removed from place-based activity, painters have developed place attachment at the level of belonging to a specific community of practice in which place has attained shared meaning. This points to the importance of understanding art scenes as source of belonging and how they are constructed through practice boundaries more so than based on location. As artists navigate multiple places during or immediately after their time at art school they develop a global sense of place, which underlines the nature of a globalised art world and multi-layered conception of art scenes.
Date of Award1 May 2019
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • King's College London
SupervisorRoberta Comunian (Supervisor) & Johan Andersson (Supervisor)

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