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Digitally performing Wester Hailes: A framework for creative placemaking

Grandison, Tanis



This PhD investigates how creative placemaking can be facilitated by digital media tools. Since its establishment as a discipline in 2010, there is a need for new practical methods and frameworks to ensure the success of creative placemaking in practice (Courage & McKeown, 2019). To date, there has been limited research on the use of digital media tools in creative placemaking practice.

This thesis asks:
• How can digital media tools facilitate creative placemaking?
• In what ways can digital media tools support community agency in the representation of place?
• What conceptual framework will support creative placemaking with digital media tools?

Drawing on critical heritage, digital storytelling and place theory, this thesis demonstrates the affordances of these practices as a means of sharing individual and collective constructs of knowledge about a community’s local area.

This research undertook a participatory approach through the design of a ‘Digi-Mapping’ workshop with 101 local primary school children in Wester Hailes, Edinburgh. Over the course of six two-hour sessions, participants created an interactive talking map of meaningful places in their local area. Methods of psychogeography and map-making were employed in the sessions. Data was gathered through video observation, participant-created artefacts, and summative evaluation. Thematic analysis was used to identify themes of how participants engaged with the digital media tools.

The main findings from the data reveal that digital media tools facilitate creative placemaking by affording participants a new way of appropriating their own cultural knowledge and performing meaning of their local area. These types of expressions also create a rich polyvocality when unpacking discourse around meaningful places. The contribution of this research is a guiding framework based around ‘4Ps’: Participatory, Polyvocal, Performative and Playful.

The ‘4Ps’ framework provides creative placemaking practitioners who are non-experts in digital media tools a means for ensuring the tools used align with the goals of creative placemaking.

Thesis Type Thesis
Deposit Date Nov 3, 2022
Publicly Available Date Nov 3, 2022
Public URL
Award Date Jul 7, 2022


Digitally performing Wester Hailes: A framework for creative placemaking (19.6 Mb)

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