Place-making through Instagram: museum visitors and the evolution of creative cities

Authors: Kylie Budge*, Western Sydney University
Topics: Cultural Geography, Communication, Urban Geography
Keywords: place-making, social media, creative cities, museums, audience, Instagram
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/13/2018
Start / End Time: 5:20 PM / 7:00 PM
Room: Oakley, Sheraton, 4th Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


With the widespread use of mobile devices, place-making can now be understood to include digital spaces such as those shaped and inhabited by social media and its participants. If one of geography’s central tasks is about making sense of the world, then understanding what is occurring on social media platforms such as Instagram is an important part of research in this area. Within the framework of place-making, this paper focuses on the connections between museum audiences, their Instagram activity, and the contribution this makes to the evolution of creative cities.

Instagram, as a social media platform, has a proliferating and striking visual online presence. Increasingly, visitors to museums are drawn to posting images and text on Instagram that documents and reflects their visit in some form. The purpose of this paper is to show how this kind of activity contributes to place-making and to the development of the creative city phenomenon.

I argue that through their Instagram posts, museum visitors actively engage in place-making that contributes to the social and cultural presence of museums, and in turn, their place in the evolution of creative cities. This paper draws on visual and text-based data from recent studies of museum visitors posting to Instagram to evidence this argument. Conclusions highlight various implications extending to museums and how we conceptualise place in the development of creative cities.

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