Place Lab

Informing policies on arts and culture

Renewing our long-standing commitment to cultural policy: The Cultural Policy Center has joined forces with Place Lab.

Place Lab is a joint enterprise of the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy and the Arts + Public Life initiative of UChicago Arts dedicated to fostering a fundamental shift in urban development policies in the U.S. and around the world through immersive arts and culture transformations. 

Combining Place Lab’s innovative place-based practices with Chicago Harris’ longstanding commitment to cultural policy and rigorous evidence-based analysis, the new Place Lab seeks to be a catalyst for expanded impact at the intersection of arts, culture and public policy around the globe. 

Theaster Gates, who currently serves as UChicago’s director of Arts + Public Life and professor in Department of Visual Arts and the College, will direct the joint enterprise. He will assume responsibility for furthering the work of the Place Lab and Chicago Harris’ Cultural Policy Center, which have merged under the Place Lab name with a new, shared mission.

Driven by a team of practitioners from diverse fields, Place Lab facilitates the intentional capital, creative and intellectual investment in a place by re-activating abandoned and under-used assets as cultural sites. 

The Place Lab will serve as a hub for cultural policy conversations, a resource for artists and creatives and a point of connection to the global cultural policy community. In addition to traditional scholarship, research and fieldwork, it will facilitate public convenings, symposia, mentorship and leadership development for professionals interested in culture-led transformation projects and the ways policy can enable significant and positive change. 

Visit the Place Lab website to learn more »

Read more about the Place Lab/CPC merger »

For general inquiries, access to past Cultural Policy Center publications and other information, please contact