The Attic (a name which commemorates our first physical location) is, first and foremost, a site for the research students of the School of Museum Studies at the University of Leicester: a virtual community which aims to include all students, be they campus-based and full-time, or distance-learning and overseas. But we welcome contributions from students of museum studies - and allied subject areas - from outside the School and from around the world. Here you will find a lot of serious stuff, like exhibition and research seminar reviews, conference alerts and calls for papers, but there's also some 'fluff'; the things that inspire, distract and keep us going. After all, while we may be dead serious academic types, we're human too.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Research Week - Cultural Developments on the Quayside and the Rebranding of NewcastleGateshead

Here, Geuntae gives us a really interesting insight into the first of his case studies - NewcastleGateshead. Geuntae's research focusess around the role of museums in the rebranding of communities - and the role they have, as he shows, is far from simple.

For some years, both Gateshead and Newcastle were trying to redefine themselves as cities of culture rather than just industry. The Newcastle Theatre Royal was foundede in 1988, the Gateshead National Garden Festival in 1990. Around 10 years ago, there was the birth of a new community brand - NewcastleGateshead. The NewcastleGateshead Initiative was part of the bid to be Capital of Culture in 2008. It manifested itself in works such as the Gateshead Millenium Bridge and the BALTIC Contemporary Art Gallery. Though this accolade went, in the end, to Liverpool, the people in the North East realised how much they would loose if the initiative didn't continue in some form or another. The Sage Gateshead opened in 2004 and hosted the World Music Expo in 2005. There has been a huge amount of action in the area, and it had huge effect upon how the North East as a whole is perceived. People, both locals and people from outside, began to consider Gateshead and Newcastle as cultural towns, and the North East has seen a rise in tourism and the associated businesses. But Geuntae is somewhat sceptical of these figures. They acutally aren't that far away from the national averages, and it is interesting to ask how closely they are linked to the desire of the area to promote and advertise itself. How much are the results and their publication to do with cultural marketing?

The power of the brand is immense, but it is hugely worthwhile to investigate, as Geuntae is, that which lies behind the facade. More digging, Geuntae - we're waiting for your information!

No comments: