“Our community is not commodity”: A visual storytelling of subtle resistance in creative cities

Zaki Habibi

Research output: Contribution to conferenceOtherpeer-review


This paper examines cultural practices by contemporary creative collectives in two creative cities in Southeast Asia: George Town in Malaysia and Bandung in Indonesia. The aim is to address the tensions within the narrative branding of these post-colonial cities and the disruption of this narrative through everyday tactics of creative collectives who are rendered silent and unnoticed. The analysis explores the everyday lived experiences of individuals within the urban creative collectives as a kind of community who works collaboratively as crafter, visual artist, independent library or art space manager, and graphic designer. Informed by a series of field research in 2016-2017 through a combination of ethnographic observation and interview, and visual methodology in the form of photo-documentation, it argues that the creative collectives in the cities use disruptive tactics that form subtle resistance to the official narratives. These tactics include their inventiveness and resourcefulness through everyday creative practices, and their articulation of identities from grass-root level. The subtle resistance is evidenced in three inter-related analytical themes presented here in the form of a photo-essay as visual storytelling. These themes are disruption of memories, politics of recognition, and formation of organic space.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusUnpublished - 2019 May 18
EventLund Urban Creativity Conference 2019 - The Pufendorf Institute for Advanced Studies, Lund, Sweden
Duration: 2019 May 152019 May 18


ConferenceLund Urban Creativity Conference 2019
Internet address

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Visual Arts
  • Cultural Studies
  • Media Studies

Free keywords

  • urban studies
  • urban creativity
  • creative collective
  • visual method
  • visual storytelling
  • creative city


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