Presenting as a part of the session: Cultural Cities - Friday, November 5 at 11:00 am
Will Straw is Professor in the Department of Art History and Communications Studies at McGill University and currently serves as the Department’s Chair. He is the author of Cyanide and Sin: Visualizing Crime in 1950s America, and the co-editor of Circulation and the City: Essays on Urban Culture (2010). Dr. Straw currently directs a multi-year inter-university research project on “Media and Urban Life in Montreal.” He is the author of over 100 articles on cinema, urban culture, popular music and the popular press.
Cities of the Night, Cultures of the Night
In the words of Canadian novelist Christopher Dewdney, cities turn themselves inside out at night. My talk will deal with the place of arts and culture in defining the night-time life of cities. Over the last two decades, urban policy-makers, novelists, scholars of culture and activists have come to think, in new and interesting ways, about the urban night. Long feared or dismissed as the time of danger, of illicit pleasures, and of unproductive activity, the night is now seen as central to the cultural life of cities. Nuit blanches (all night arts festivals), "first night" festivals and other events, in cities across the world, have sought to push cultural activity late into the night. The relationship of commercial night-life (bars, restaurants) to a city's cultural effervescence is now widely acknowledged. In cities like London, Manchester and Paris, the economic role of night-time activity is increasingly measured, promoted and recognized. My presentation will examine a variety of initiatives, in Canada and elsewhere, that seek to reimagine the cultural role of the night-time city.