Honorable Mention for Chiara Valli

Adriana de La Peña Espinosa Awards & Distinctions

The Urban Geography Journal gave an Honorable Mention to Chiara Valli on the 2022 Early Career Researcher Prize, for her paper titled Artistic careers in the cyclicality of art scenes and gentrification: symbolic capital accumulation through space in Bushwick, NYC .

“An earlier version of this article was part of my PhD dissertation in Human Geography discussed at Uppsala University in 2017, scrutinizing the multifaceted relations between cultural producers and urban change. The empirical findings presented here were collected during a visiting period at Hunter College, New York City. New York City, with its continuous migration of centers of artistic production – from Greenwich Village in the 1880s to SoHo in the 1960s–70s, East Village in the 1980s, Williamsburg in the 1990s, and Bushwick in the 2000s – epitomizes the consistent and longstanding relation of the cyclicality of local art scenes and the linear progression of gentrification. In what, at the time of my fieldwork, was considered as the latest frontier of this advancement, Bushwick, I was fascinated by the paradoxical relationship between cultural production and gentrification. I wanted to propose an alternative interpretation to a node that persisted after decades of gentrification research: why and how do artists engage in activities that likely lead to gentrification, despite their awareness of its effects and despite that they will possibly be among the displaced groups? By applying a Bourdeausian lens to the geographies of artistic production, I suggest in my paper that cultural producers engage in such recurring patterns not simply because alternatives are constrained by low incomes, but also because they hold some professional stakes in the cyclical patterns of this reproduction: they benefit from the circularity because they capitalize on it – they accumulate symbolic capital through space.”