A favorite song of mine is “Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered…” the Ella version that is warm, radiant, where your feel each word in pure tones. Ella sings about love; a blind love and the escape from that bewitchment.

Participants at Tucson Meet Yourself’s Folklore Field School listen intensely to presentation on place making and local knowledge

This is the song that plays for me in the background when I think about the practices of “Creative Placemaking”, which as an arts manager and policy maker, I define as those cultural activities that shape the physical and social characteristics of a place. I embrace Creative Placemaking and its aspiration as is manifests in a variety of methods —from city planning to art practices with a goal of advancing humanity. But I am bothered by what I consider a significant blind spot – a blind love of sorts – in the Creative Placemaking discourse and practices. I am referring to a lack of awareness about the politics of belonging and dis-belonging that operate in civil society.


“I’m wild again, beguiled again
A simpering, whimpering child again
Bewitched, bothered and bewildered – am I”

… Wild can be fun. Beguiled? – the jury is still out on that one. The lyrics raise the question for me about what I perceive and suspect (in some instances) is a blind love associated with Creative Placemaking practices. How do we understand and talk about Creative Placemaking – is it the narrative of potentiality and its bewitchment that is bought, sold and traded upon in management practices or its engagement with spatial justice; the empowerment of talent, of community? These contextualizing concerns inform my work and the questions I am asking here.