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.