Kelly Murphy: Creative Placemaking- Key Resource

Having slightly altered my thesis to greater reflect diversity within my audience base I have been concentrating now on my main artery of research, Creative Placemaking. My research now looks like this….

New working model.
Employing this new research model has allowed me to achieve a greater focus and understand how each facet of my thesis now relates to one another, as opposed to feeling like soup (see previous blog post) this past summer. Now having accepted my new direction, I began a new phase of research. This phase included understanding and utilizing the notion of Creative Placemaking. A new concept within the Arts, Creative Placemaking is defined by the NEA are places where “arts, culture and creative industries come together to make communities a great place to live, work and play.”

According to a recent article published by the Huffington Post, 


For the sake of my research I am concentrating on the facet of creating “community identity and a sense of place” within Philadelphia based heritage sites, specifically Elfreth’s Alley. My key source during this new shift in focus has been a publication by the National Endowment for the Arts. 

A White Paper for The Mayors’ Institute on City Design, 
a leadership initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts 
in partnership with the United States Conference of Mayors and American Architectural Foundation. 

This publication has become my go to guide at the moment due to its elaboration on such a recent trend within the cultural arts and although it never directly touches upon placemaking at historic sites, it does reference technological initiatives, which can apply to my thesis facet of digital storytelling. The report also stresses the use of the term, “art.” This emphasis has opened up a new way of looking a storytelling. Although having interned and researched at the Philadelphia storytelling organization, First Person Arts, I had been looking at storytelling are more of a physical manifestation of ideas as opposed to personal art. The publication is broken down by executive summary, economic development sections, challenges, and case studies which feature the Philadelphia based organization, Mural Arts. Understanding how the Mural Arts program has grasped this new idea has confirmed that my research is valid in terms of researching Philadelphia heritage sites. The Mural Arts program has acted as community building and placemaking entity through various projects, all focusing on turning the art of graffiti into art of purpose and place. 


Philadelphia Mural Arts Program
Understanding creative placemaking has allowed me to take my research into a direction more aimed at my end goal of stewardship. Initially while drafting my thesis proposal last spring, even as I was typing the words “foster stewardship” as my end goal of this research I did not fully understand the power behind the terms nor did I understand how to develop a model to reach such goal. However after my pre-liminary research into creative placemaking and my hope of marrying it with digital storytelling I feel more confident in finding an actual working model to market and foster stewardship at Elfreth’s Alley and similar heritage sites within and beyond Philadelphia.