Wednesday, 2nd Feb - 11:30-13:00
Book tickets here
This talk will explore the arguments of my recent book Rebranding Precarity, Pop-up Culture as the Seductive New Normal as well as their relevance to understanding the 'new normal' of the COVID-19 Pandemic.
In the aftermath of the 2008 crash, pop-up culture - a trend for temporary and nomadic places - emerged as a 'compensatory' urbanism; designed to keep life going in crisis conditions by filling vacant sites and providing amenities and work opportunities without capital. However, having begun as a second best solution, pop-up became a celebrated, trendy format for activities including cultural events, restaurants, work-spaces and even welfare provision. I argue that pop-up normalized and glamorized precarious ways of living and working in the post-crash era. Specifically, I suggest that pop-up rebranded precarity by reimagining the spatial and temporal characteristics of crisis, replacing, for example, instability with 'flexibility' or diminishment with 'the micro.' Exploring varied case-studies within London, I argue for the importance of understanding pop-up as a 'compensatory culture' that recalibrates ways of encountering crisis. I close by considering the relevance of the book’s arguments to understanding the ‘new normal’ being produced amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.