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Research project

HubCities - Governing urban diversity through culture and higher education: Learning from Doha and Singapore

The HubCities project answers the questions whether cities can plan their cultural diversity and what role cultural and higher education policies play in promoting diverse cities.

The project leading to this application has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie grant agreement No 843269

The HubCities project will analyse how cities use of universities and cultural institutions as instruments in the governance of cultural diversity, to target and attract transnational publics, construct discursive frameworks that promote diversity and create third spaces where people of different cultural backgrounds come together and interact. Changing migration patterns have led to the rise of an urban migrant population that is transnationally connected and socio-economically differentiated. This context renders traditional models of governance of cultural diversity obsolete and requires new approaches. As nation-states are being increasingly challenged on this issue, there has been a mounting push towards the urban scale to reflect on new strategies.

HubCities aims to address this challenge with a focus on cultural and higher education policies as these play an important role in managing urban diversity yet are rarely envisaged as diversity policies. The project intends to investigate non-Western globalizing cities where this issue has been less studied. It focuses on two highly-diverse cities: Doha and Singapore. Using mixed research methods, the project will analyse these policies, drawing on Peggy Levitt’s notion of “diversity management regime” that designates the different “strategies, labels, and power relations underlying how difference gets talked about, measured, and negotiated”.

The HubCities project will also use video as a methodological tool, to investigate the new spaces for culture and higher education planned in Doha and Singapore, and to contribute to the reflection on the role of such educational and cultural infrastructures in constructing civic spaces and stimulating interactions across diverse communities.

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