Associate Professor Felicity Fenner's recent book Running the City Why: Public Art Matters is the subject of a conversation at the upcoming 2018 Sydney Writers Festival
Some years ago, Sydney Morning Herald columnist Elizabeth Farrelly asked, “Does art, especially public art, still matter? And what etiquette governs its manners in a time of babel?” In her book Running the City: Why Public Art Matters, curator Felicity Fenner provides examples of public art that delight, inspire and challenge us, and emphatically demonstrates why public art remains vital to cityscapes. Join Felicity Fenner at SWF as she reflects on the relationship between creativity, the public domain and communities, and how a city’s art can help shape its identity.
Profiling activity-based and pop-up contemporary public art projects from Australia and around the globe, Running the City explores art projects that bring together diverse disciplines and cultures – including running, cycling, architecture, and guerilla gardening. 

From runners taking to the streets of Sydney’s CBD in Runscape to Work No. 850, where athletes sprinted through the corridors of Tate Britain, the book surveys recent art projects that utilise the city both as subject matter and a site for art. Participatory, temporary, and permanent community-driven art projects reveal how public space can be activated in ways that are original, subversive, fun, and unexpected. The theme of running – both in the context of athleticism and agency – underscores the artworks here.  More than just site-specific public art, the art projects examined in Running the City change the way we think about and inhabit our cities.

UNSW Art & Design Associate Professor Felicity Fenner is a director and leading curator of contemporary art. Her work focuses on aspects of place and place-making, she publishes regularly in leading art journals, is a lead investigator on the international Curating Cities database of public art. Associate Professor Fenner is a founding member of the City of Sydney Public Art Advisory Panel and a curator of over 30 contemporary art exhibitions. Her research focuses on aspects of place, as seen in exhibitions such as the Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art (2008), Once Removed at the 2009 Venice Biennale, Michael Nyman: CineOpera (Sydney Park Brickworks, 2011) and Running the City (2013 International Symposium of Electronic Arts).
Running the City: Why Public Art Matters is available from Booktopia.
Each year, Sydney Writers’ Festival presents more than 400 events, attracting audiences of 100,000 plus for a week-long conversation of books and ideas. The Festival's home at Walsh Bay is undergoing a major refurbishment so in 2018 the event is relocating to Carriageworks (located in the multi-arts venue located in the heritage-listed rail yards in Eveleigh). There will also be events stretching across Sydney, from the City Recital Hall and Sydney Town Hall in the city centre, into suburban Sydney and the Blue Mountains.