CNM Research Talk: Making Sense of Public Culture- Presented By Professor Nikos Papastergiadis


In this lecture, Professor Nikos Papastergiadis explores the challenge of making sense of culture that occurs in public spaces. Unlike the performances and displays of culture within interior spaces, the experience of culture in an urban and networked public environment presents new challenges for cultural interpretation and evaluation. Relying on traditional art historical categories or emergent digital ethnographic tools may be either too narrow or too focused on technological affordances. Instead, he proposes to explore a new conceptual approach that seeks to grasp the wide range of artistic projects and diverse modes of public interaction. It will draw on research conducted at Melbourne’s Federation Square to discuss how the concept of ambience helps make sense of both the production and experience of public culture.

The first section of the article introduces the changing settings for culture: from an almost exclusively interior presentation to an increasingly mediated, networked and outdoor experience.

The second section situates this exteriorisation of culture in terms of a shifting urban environment that is increasingly interwoven with media networks, systems and infrastructure. This section also introduces the case study: Melbourne’s Federation Square.

The third section describes some of the different forms of engagement that take place in Federation Square and how this problematises traditional expectations of cultural experiences. Finally, he concludes with a reflection on these findings and draws out implications for cultural programming of public space.


Nikos Papastergiadis Professor at the School of Culture and Communication at the University of Melbourne. He studied at the University of Melbourne and University of Cambridge. Prior to returning to the University of Melbourne he was a lecturer at the University of Manchester. T His sole authored publications include Modernity as Exile (1993), Dialogues in the Diaspora (1998), The Turbulence of Migration (2000), Metaphor and Tension (2004) Spatial Aesthetics: Art Place and the Everyday (2006), Cosmopolitanism and Culture (2012), Ambient Perspectives (2013) as well as being the editor of over 10 collections, author of numerous essays which have been translated into over a dozen languages and appeared in major catalogues such as the Biennales of Sydney, Liverpool, Istanbul, Gwanju, Taipei, Lyon, Thessaloniki and Documenta 13. He is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities and co-chair of the Greek Centre for Contemporary Culture, and Chair of the International Advisory Board for the Centre for Contemporary Art, Singapore.

7 February 2018
3:00 PM – 4:00 PM

Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences
National University of Singapore
Blk AS6, #03-38, CNM Playroom

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  1. Cooperation in Asia is attempted by the governments of the region but real effect to this economic cooperation is always possible when the executive is at least somewhat honest. This is possible in China due to its leadership but in countries like India and Pakistan it is like a castle in the air. The mass is naive and best in entertainment watching films or movies and content with Bollywood like audio video as in, now where from come people with genuine interest if nationalism? Xi Zinping is like absolute controller hence has ownership feeling and can’t allow corruption in his own dominion but in India and Pakistan such features are not there, then good politics and dedication to economic development. Just we can expect is drama and Bollywood Hindi songs and theatrics.

    Expectations should be made according to the facts. There are no such facts that equate other Asian countries with China hence no high hopes from one and all.

  2. These days media and entertainment is not conventional one but also that has emerged lately. There are websites and Web portals that are serving all sorts of culture and background types. There is entertainment for everyone, so much so that they have now come up with the likes of adult entertainment for women and girls specially as in which are purely women oriented as compared to men oriented. At least now every segment is getting attention and there is no particular segment’s burden to be borne by others as well.

    Thus, as everyone is getting space days and people are trying to derive the best they can from other cultures as well including their own, studies should be made in this light as well.

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