About this Project

(Project duration: July 2014 - June 2016)

In postindustrial, knowledge-driven societies, where symbols replace widgets, we need new concepts about consumption and lifestyle, in addition to work. Scenes are one such concept. Scenes build on aesthetics, which we incorporate with social science concepts and methods. People’s aesthetics inform their consumption, and define 15 scenes dimensions, like localism, egalitarianism, self-expression, and transgression. This project studied scenes as geographic units, with physical facilities, and people as consumer/participants in activities like concerts. It measured scenes with amenities like churches and museums from censuses, electronic yellow pages, and citizen surveys. These combine in 15 scenes dimensions for some 40,000 US zipcodes, and local units studied with collaborators in Canada, Spain, France, Korea, Japan, China, Poland, and Germany.

To build deeper connections between scenes and the arts, key scenes participants were brought to the University of Chicago campus to present work to date–including seven monographs. University of Chicago faculty added more arts focus to build sharper analyses, such as how bohemian scenes encourage some artistic activities and localism encourages others. The product was a volume comparing scenes internationally.


Terry Clark on Chicago’s “Scenes”

June 10, 2017

Sociology Professor Terry Clark, principal investigator on the Neubauer Collegium research project ArtScenes, takes a granular look at Chicago's creative economy in a Chicago Sun-Times op-ed.

Neubauer Collegium’s new research projects to tackle complex global questions

February 3, 2014

From the impact of a new government health insurance program in India to the profound questions surrounding death and end-of-life care, the 15 new research projects supported by the Neubauer Family Collegium for Culture and Society at the University of Chicago aim to provide new ways of studying some of the most complex questions facing contemporary society.

Project Updates

Building Arts Scenes for Cultural Placemaking
An International Conference

June 23, 2016
Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society 


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