Call for Papers: RGS-IBG August 29 – September 1, 2017  

Creating and Communicating Knowledge, Practices and Values: Exploring the Dynamics of Local Anchors and Trans-Local Communities



Taylor Brydges – Uppsala University

Brian J. Hracs – University of Southampton

Rhiannon Pugh – Uppsala University

Suntje Schmidt – Leibniz-Institute for Research on Society and Space / Humboldt University of Berlin

Economic geographers have long been interested in the links between local-global economic dynamics (e.g. Bathelt et al., 2004). Within this sphere of interest, focus has been given to so-called ‘local anchors’ as the nodes through which regional, national, or global relations and dynamics function and occur. Specific physical places may, for instance, serve as local anchors for social movements (e.g. the maker movement) (Toombs and Bardzell, 2014), trans-local scenes (e.g. in music) (Hauge and Hracs, 2010; Lange, 2007), global knowledge communities (e.g. communities of enthusiasts) (Brinks and Ibert, 2015; Müller and Ibert, 2015) or global processes of value creation (Berthoin Antal et al., 2015; Pike, 2009; Power and Hauge, 2006). We indeed observe a wide spectrum of local anchors that help to disseminate ideas and knowledge, enable and encourage participation in specific practices (e.g. tinkering, designing, building), serve as (temporary) productions sites (e.g. local workshops for music) and facilitate curation and consumption (e.g. pop-up stores, record stores). Despite this conceptual variety, these anchors are physical spaces through which economic and social activities occur and that actors utilize for creating objects, artifacts and products and to generate and disseminate ideas, brands and values. These local spaces have also drawn the attention of policymakers striving to capitalize upon local-global dynamics. However, very often these spaces are regarded overly optimistically and lack a critical reflection as to how they actually contribute to social, cultural and / or economic value creation.

This session aims to nuance our understanding of the interplay between ‘the global’ and ‘the local’ as well as ‘physical’ and ‘virtual’ spaces. We aim to explore the role of local anchors within local neighborhoods and scenes as well as trans-local scenes, communities and virtual networks. More specifically, the session aims to consider the diversity and specificity of local anchors which may comprise craft collectives, performance venues, records stores (Hracs and Jansson, 2016), coworking / maker/ hacker spaces / open creative labs (Merkel, 2015; Schmidt et al., 2014; Schmidt et al., 2016), universities (Cooke, 2011) and knowledge production sites (Power and Malmberg, 2008). This session builds on our related session at the 2017 American Association of Geographers and welcomes either conceptually, empirically or methodologically focused papers which address the range of topics raised above or the more specific, yet not exhaustive, list of questions below:

  • How can ‘anchors’ and the interplay between the local and the trans-local be conceptualized?
  • How do anchors evolve? What are the factors that support the success or failure of anchors in particular locations??
  • What is the role of local anchors in trans-local scenes and processes in terms of generating knowledge, new ideas, or the formation and evolution of movements and cultural scenes?
  • Do anchors induce new uncertainties for their potential users or offer new forms of resilience by, for example, helping to adapt to new labor market requirements?
  • Although anchors are often associated with positive connotations especially in terms of participation and openness, what does ‘open’ actually mean?
  • How can we assess the socio-political value of these spaces and should policies be developed and implemented to foster and support local anchors?

If you are interested in presenting a paper in this session, please send your abstract (of 250 words) to Taylor Brydges ( by Tuesday, January 31, 2017.


Bathelt, H., Malmberg, A., Maskell, P., 2004. Clusters and knowledge: Local buzz, global pipelines and the progress of knowledge creation. Progress in Human Geography 28 (1), 31-56.

Berthoin Antal, A., Hutter, M., Stark, D., 2015. Moments of Valuation. Exploring Sites of Dissonance. Oxford Univ. Press, Oxford.

Brinks, V., Ibert, O., 2015. Mushrooming Entrepreneurship: The Dynamic Geography of Enthusiast-Driven Innovation. Geoforum 65 (October 2015), 363–373.

Cooke, P., 2011. Handbook of Regional Innovation and Growth. Edward Elgar Publishing, Cheltenham.

Hauge, A., Hracs, B.J., 2010. See the sound, hear the style: Collaborative linkages between indie musicians and fashion designers in local scenes. Industry & Innovation 17 (1), 113-129.

Hracs, B.J., Jansson, J., 2016. Only the Strategic Survive - Independent Record Shops in the Digital Age. (working paper).

Lange, B., 2007. Die Räume der Kreativszenen: Culturepreneurs und ihre Orte in Berlin transcript, Bielefeld.

Merkel, J., 2015. Coworking in the City. ephemera - theory & politics in organizations 15 (1), 121-139.

Müller, F.C., Ibert, O., 2015. (Re-)Sources of Innovation: Understanding and Comparing Time-Spatial Innovation Dynamics through the Lens of Communities of Practice. Geoforum 65 (October 2015), 338-350.

Pike, A., 2009. Geographies of brands and branding. Progress in Human Geography 33 (5), 619-645.

Power, D., Hauge, A., 2006. No man’s brand – Brands, institutions, fashion and the economy. CiND research paper 2006: 3.

Power, D., Malmberg, A., 2008. The contribution of universities to innovation and economic development: in what sense a regional problem? Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society 1 (2), 233-245.

Schmidt, S., Brinks, V., Brinkhoff, S., 2014. Innovation and creativity labs in Berlin – Organizing temporary spatial configurations for innovations. Zeitschrift für Wirtschaftsgeographie 58 (4), 232 - 247.

Schmidt, S., Ibert, O., Kuebart, A., Kühn, J., 2016. Open Creative Labs: Typologisierung, Verbreitung und Entwicklungsbedingungen, Erkner: Leibniz-Institute for Research on Society and Space.

Toombs, A., Bardzell, S., 2014. Becoming Makers: Hackerspace Member Habits, Values, and Identities. Journal of Peer Production 5 (Shared Machine Shops), 1 - 8.

Trending Now: The changing geographies of fashion in the digital age


Taylor Brydges – Uppsala University

Brian J. Hracs – University of Southampton

Mariangela Lavanga – Erasmus University Rotterdam

In the report The State of Fashion 2017, written by Business of Fashion and the McKinsey Institute, industry executives used three words to describe the current state of the fashion industry: uncertain, changing, and challenging. Indeed, the fashion industry is undergoing dramatic transformations, from digitalization and the rise of ‘see now, buy now’ fashions to brands redefining the function and timing of fashion weeks. In recent years, economic, social, and cultural geographers have recognized and harnessed fashion’s potential to serve as a valuable lens through which to explore radical and ongoing changes to the production, curation and consumption of goods, services and experiences (Crewe, 2013, 2017; Hracs et al., 2013; Brydges et al., 2014; D’Ovidio, 2015; Lavanga, forthcoming; McRobbie 2016; McRobbie et al., 2016).

This session aims to build on and extend this work by bringing together researchers interested in the structures, labour dynamics, spaces, value propositions and practices of the contemporary fashion industry. Key questions to consider may include: are we still in an era defined by the ‘big four’ of New York, London, Milan and Paris, or will the geography of fashion shift to emerging fashion capitals, like Stockholm and Berlin? By extension, as the fashion industry continues to consolidate into a handful of global firms, what are the opportunities for independent and/or slow fashion brands to ‘stand out in the crowd’ and create alternative and/or sustainable business models? More broadly, what is the impact of digitalization on the way fashion is designed, produced, promoted, curated and consumed? 

This session seeks to explore these questions and related themes in greater detail and welcomes papers from diverse conceptual, empirical and geographical perspectives.

Papers may wish to address one or more of the following questions:

  • Has digitalization led to increased – or decreased – democratization in the fashion industry? What are the implications for employment opportunities and career trajectories of fashion designers, bloggers, and others working in the industry?  
  • How do specific physical and virtual spaces intersect in the world of fashion and what outcomes do they produce? For example, in what ways are permanent and temporary spaces (e.g. pop-up stores, fashion festivals, weeks and trade fairs), as well as online platforms such as Instagram, changing the geographies of retailing and consumption?
  • Is the geography of global fashion capitals expanding or consolidating?
  • Does technology create opportunities for local markets to emerge, or reinforce the dominance of global firms and established centers?
  • What are the dynamics and geographies underpinning the rise of new movements in fashion, like slow fashion? Does increased transparency lead to increased sustainability?
  • To what extent can cities cultivate and support the fashion industry more broadly, and independent fashion designers more specifically? What is the role and impact of policy at the national, regional and local scale?  

If you are interested in presenting a paper in this session, please send your abstract (of 250 words) to Taylor Brydges ( by Friday, February 10, 2017.


Brydges, T, M Lavanga and L von Gunten (2014) Entrepreneurship in the fashion industry: a case study of slow fashion businesses. IN: A. Schramme, G. Hagoort and R. Kooyman (eds.) Beyond Frames. Dynamics between the creative industries, knowledge institutions andthe urban context. Delft: Eburon Academic Press/University of Chicago Press. (pp. 93-79).

Crewe, L (2013) Tailoring and Tweed: Mapping the spaces of slow fashion. In Fashion Cultures: Theories, Explorations and Analysis. London: Routledge.

Crewe, L. (2017) The Geographies of Fashion: Consumption, Space and Value. Bloomsbury.

D’Ovidio, M (2015) “The field of fashion production in Milan: A theoretical discussion and an empirical investigation”. City, Culture and Society, 6 (2): 1-8.

Hracs BJ, Jakob D and Hauge A (2013) Standing out in the Crowd: The rise of exclusivity-based strategies to compete in the contemporary marketplace for music and fashion. Environment and Planning A 45(5): 1144–1161.  

Lavanga, M (forthcoming) “The role of Pitti Uomo trade fair in the menswear fashion industry” In: Reggie Blaszczyk and Ben Wubs (eds.) The Fashion Forecasters: A Hidden History of Color and Trend Prediction. London: Bloomsbury Academic.

McRobbie, A. (2016) Towards a Sociology of Fashion Micro-Enterprises: Methods for Creative Economy Research. Sociology 50(5) 934-948. 

McRobbie, A., Strutt, D., Bandinelli, C., and Springer, B. (2016) Fashion micro-enterprises in London, Berlin and Milan. CREATe Report Phase 1. (Available at: