Here you’ll find a list of academic papers on busking from around the world. These papers could be useful for street performers, placemakers, researchers, anthropologists, musicologists and so on. The information in each section has mainly been put together by our staff – and it’s taken a long time to do it. We hope you appreciate it!

If you know of something missing from what we have below – any information that could help a street performer out – please let us know by filling in this simple form and we’ll add it.

Research on Busking Licenses in 34 Cities Worldwide Blog

Want to see something crazy? Try analysing the different ways that busking is managed in cities all over the world. From Munich’s daily auditions, to Singapore’s “busker boot camp” and Bratislava’s €1 per square meter per day busking licenses, the ways that governments manage performing in public spaces can be pretty weird – and, sometimes, wonderful; there are cities that really do try to make an effort to promote and encourage their street performers.

So, we decided to do research into the busking licenses (or lack of) in 34 cities around the world. This research is open source. Download it and share it with whomever you like. Also, we’re here to help, in case you want to discuss options in your city.

Music Performance in Public Space: Changing Perception, Changing Urban Experience?

University of Utrecht, Faculty of Geosciences

The aim of this research is to examine the practice of music performance and realize to what extent does it change the perceptions and experiences on the quality of public space.

Managing high street change through silliness

Journal of Urban Regeneration and Renewal, Vol. 6 (2)

The creation/allowance of eccentric behaviour in public places generates audiences, participants and communities who are willing to invest. I propose making a place that focuses on improving the world through making great art available for everyone.

Conceptualizing the management and consumption of live music in urban space

Marketing Theory, Vol. 11

This paper examines how live music performed outdoors contributes to an overall urban servicescape capable of transforming perceptions of urban environments.

Subway Performance: An Excavation

Journal of Popular Culture, Vol. 29 (4)

McMahan discusses two distinguishable types of subway performance: Sanctioned and Unsanctioned performance. Through subway performance, ordinary space and time are transformed into environmental theater and a festivalized performance experience.

Social Life in the Public Realm

Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, Vol. 17 (4)

This article details the relationship between the public realm and other types of social space, argues for the thoroughly social character of what occurs there, and describes some of its characteristic rules and relationships.

A Soundtrack to the Everyday: Street Music and the Production of Convivial ‘Healthy’ Public Spaces

Soundscapes of Wellbeing in Popular Music (Book, also in the “Books” tag)

Working the crowds: Street performances in public spaces

GetJournal Library, Vol. 108

Andrew Carlin investigates the role of street performers in making public spaces. He tracks the continuities in these performances and their function in creating livable city streets.

Public Art in the City: Meanings, Values, Attitudes and Roles

Advances in Art, Urban Futures, Vol. 4

Outlines the context within which a new research project on public art has been commissioned to make a substantive attempt to examine public art through its audiences.

Opening Up Public Art’s Spaces: Art,Regeneration and Audience

Advances in Art, Urban Futures, Vol. 3

Reviews some critical writing on public art and examines the question of the writing has uncover the meanings of prominent examples of public art employed in fashioning new cities.

Beyond public artopia: public art as perceived by its publics

GeoJournal, Vol. 78 (2)

Geographers have framed perceptions of art in public space from the perspectives of its producers/planners. Yet, the purpose of public art is shaped by its publics. This paper attempts to address this by presenting a survey of publics’ perceptions.

Composing space: the integration of music, time, and space in multi-dimensional sound installations

Conservatory of Music, University of the Pacific

The art work will be experienced within the context of the total environment and its success will depend upon how it interacts with or integrates into its surroundings.

City: The Urban Environment as a Musical Interface

2003 Conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression

We have developed a system that enables users to create electronic music in real time by walking through and interacting with the urban environment. We explore the use of public space and everyday behaviours for creative purposes.

Places in the making: How placemaking builds places and communities

Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Department of Urban Studies and Planning

This report by a DUSP research team, led by Susan Silberberg, examines the interactions between placemaking, community participation, and the expanding ways communities are collaborating to make great public places.

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