Critical perspectives at the intersection between art and geography


Dr Silvie Jacobi

Geographer and Cultural Researcher

Research interest

Arts and culture - once minor concerns for urban development compared to transportation, crime and economic growth - now provide a complex and often contradictory grammar for urban policies. For example, it is often the very aesthetic and cultural capital through which artists uplift a city or neighbourhood that puts them at risk of displacement. Should it not be the artists who should stay put, or are artists part of the problem of gentrification? My research diverts away from these familiar narratives as it aims to uncover the hidden value of artists' practices for understanding - not only the politics between art and space - but also the geography of the art world. I am particularly interested in illustrating how artistic and cultural activity concentrates in specific cities and establishes forms of belonging, as well as how this needs to be understood within the context of a global sense of place.


My background

I currently work at London School of Mosaic, which I co-founded in 2017. We are delivering the first degree programme in Mosaic Studies in the UK, which was conceived with experienced practitioners and art historians. I make and teach mosaic myself – a skill I learned through many years of making mosaics in a community art context.

In 2019 I graduated with a Doctor in Philosophy in Geography, having studied on a Joint-PhD with King’s College London and Humboldt University in Berlin. My thesis ‘Art schools and place’ was supervised by Dr Roberta Comunian, Dr Johan Andersson and Prof Ilse Helbrecht and was funded through a doctoral scholarship provided by the German Study Foundation.

In 2014 I finalised an MSc in Creative Cities at King’s Geography Department, coming from an undergraduate degree in Fine Art Painting (BA) at Wimbledon College of Art, University of the Arts London.


Affiliations and Selected Projects

London School of Mosaic (2015 to date)

Art schools and place, PhD Research at King's College London with Humboldt University Berlin (2015 to 2018)

Painting and the Regional, Literature review for Manchester School of Art, Manchaster Metropolitan University (2016)

Kultur | Standort.Bestimmung conference,  Leipzig + Kultur e.V.  (2015)

"Beyond the Campus" research initiative, King's College London with Dr. Roberta Comunian (2014)

Leipzig's visual artists as actors of urban change, MSc Thesis at King's College London (2013 – 2014)


Jacobi, S. (2019) Alternative art schools: Juxtaposing sources of autonomy between UK and German cases. In Macauley, M. (Ed.) Artzine Issue 1 Volume 1, Coventry

Jacobi, S. (2017) Alternative Art Schools in London: Contested space and the emergence of new modes of learning in practice. In Ren, J. and Lugar, J. (Eds.) Art in the City: Worlding the Discussion through a Critical Artscape. London and New York: Routledge

Jacobi, S. (2017). Leipzig’s Visual Artists as actors of urban change. In Murzyn-Kupisz, M. & Dzialek, J. (Eds.), Artists and the challenges of contemporary urban development. Springer

Jacobi, S. (2016). Beyond the art school: pedagogic networks in the visual arts and their engagement with the city of Leipzig. In Comunian, R. & Gilmore, A. (Eds.), Routledge Cities and Regions: Higher Education and the Creative Economy, London and New York: Routledge

Jacobi, S. (2016) Book review: Cultural work and higher education (eds. Noonan and Ashton), International Journal of Cultural Policy

Comunian, R., Fraser-Ward, L. & Jacobi, S. (2015) Chapter 15 Festivals on the High Street: revitalising business and communities in the UK, In Newbold, C. & Jordan, J. (Eds.), Focus on World Festivals. Goodfellow Publishers

Comunian, R. & Jacobi, S. (2015). Resilience, creative careers and creative spaces: bridging vulnerable artist’s livelihoods and adaptive urban change, In Pinto, H. (Ed.), Resilient territories: Innovation and creativity for new modes of regional development, Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars

Comunian, R., Gilmore, A. & Jacobi (2015). Higher education and the ereative economy: creative graduates, knowledge transfer and regional impact debates. Geography Compass 7(9), 371-383

Leipzig's visual artist's as actors of urban change: Articulating the intersection between place attachement, professional development and urban pioneering, King's College London MSc dissertation, 2014

Header image: Mosaics of Women of Lambeth North at Morley College, London