Cookies on this website

We use cookies to make our website work properly. We'd also like your consent to use analytics cookies to collect anonymous data such as the number of visitors to the site and most popular pages.

I'm OK with analytics cookies

Don't use analytics cookies

Home / Resources / News / Case Study: Saint Denis – Towards a just creative city?

Case Study: Saint Denis – Towards a just creative city?

Can arts and co-creation contribute to building a just city? Investigating creativity and its potential social impact: The case of Saint Denis, France

Authors such as Kagan and Kirchberg (2013), Ratiu (2013), Boren and Young (2013) have proposed to investigate how the concept of creativity can be rethought to plan for sustainable cities, taking into account all dimensions of sustainable development: economic, social and environmental. Can creativity and social justice be combined? What mechanisms could make the ‘creative city’ more just?

The Saint-Denis case study will investigate how the notion of creativity is articulated with that of social impact of the arts by actors involved in the making and financing of art activities (artists, art venues programme directors, political decision makers, audience).

The case study will propose a mapping of spaces and locations of creativity in Saint-Denis by diverse actors (academics, inhabitants, public servants). It will also focus on how and under which conditions arts and creativity can have a social impact and contribute to social justice. What are the key element a creative process should have to become a vector of social justice?

The main questions for the case study are:

1/ what do the actors who plan and practice creativity expect from their activities?

2/ where do they practice creative activities?

3/ Are these spaces/ activities on the map of public policy? What are the relationships with the public actors and financers?

The case study focuses on the city of Saint-Denis, one of the poorer cities in the first belt around Paris. The city – led by a communist mayor – has an active creative city policy, with ‘districts of creation and culture’ and is part of the Innovation Arc, recently launched in and around Paris.

The case-study is designed in ‘chapters’ so that each researcher, coming with his / her own interests, can contribute to the overall result and provide a particular angle of approach, on the theme of creativity, culture and co-creation. on the territory of Saint-Denis.

Alternatives Européennes will assist researchers coming for secondment frame their research to contribute to the overall objective and get in touch with relevant partners and organisations on the ground.


Date: 23-26 January 2019


Research seminar

  • Exchange between researchers on ongoing research within the co-creation project
  • Increased understanding of the territory and its actors
  • Advancement of the research plan and research visits of the partner researchers – identification of the contribution of each researcher to the research.

Public events

  • Public launch of research with local stakeholders
  • Allow local actors to present their actions and actions to international researchers


  • A map of co-creation and creativity in Saint-Denis carried out in a participatory way through workshops with various audiences, which could be the basis of the creation of an alternative visit of places of creativity and co-creation and creation in Saint Denis
  • A repertoire of definitions of creation and creativity and expectations as regards to social impact of artistic activities.

For who?

The research seminar is mainly intended for researchers and partners of the project but is open to all. The public event is open to all, in the direction of local stakeholders interested in the issue of co-creation.

Saturday 26 – Cartography Workshops

The workshop of January 26 is realized in partnership with the association Coïncide and aims to offer young people followed by the association a professional co-creation activity.

Objective: Identify, give and communicate a multiple vision of creativity

  • Talk about creativity
  • Talk about the practices and places of creativity identified by the inhabitants
  • Identify places and locate them

Result: a participative map of creativity in the neighbourhood concerned, which will be integrated in the research program on co-creation in Saint Denis, ie a large participatory online general map.


The aim of the co-creation project is to understand how co-creation processes, which bring together different actors, through participatory artistic methods, can establish new dynamics of exchange between the actors of a territory and fight against various forms of social exclusion and stigmatization.

The project is funded by the European Union. The project ends in 2020. It brings together the Universities of Bath and Oxford Brookes (Great Britain), PUC-Rio (Brazil) and UNAM (Mexico), and the City-Mined, Tesserae and European Alternatives associations.


Local partners

  • Coïncide
  • Network of Libraries of Saint-Denis – The cartography workshop will be realised within the network of Libraries of Saint-Denis, with local residents, during the winter 2019.
  • IUT Saint Denis (TBC) – IUT Saint Denis has hosted the first workshop of co-creation Saint Denis. We hope to develop further cooperation with the students and research team.

Contact: Ségolène Pruvot, Cultural Director at European Alternatives: