Viewscapes

Veryeri Alaca, I., Thys-Şenocak, L., (2015) “Altered Viewscapes Raising Awareness through Creative Practice in the Urban Cultural Heritage of Istanbul”

International Journal of Education through Art, Intellect, 2015

Once the capital of the Byzantines and the Ottomans, and now the commercial and cultural hub of Turkey, Istanbul is a city which struggles with the legacy of its past and the demands of the present. The Altered Viewscapes of Istanbul, an art project conducted with undergraduates at Koc University was a project developed to cultivate awareness of the urban cultural heritage of Istanbul among university students in Turkey. The project invitedstudents to evaluate their relationship to public spaceand asked them to consider how this heritage can foster a more creative and  active form of civic participation. The students were asked specifically to reflect on the aesthetic experience of viewing the historic peninsula of Istanbul and particularly, Eminönü, one of the city’s oldest commercial districts. Both the historical legacy of Istanbul’s iconic city silhouette, and the threat that recent and proposed urban developments are posing to that view were examined during the project. Students drew connections between the creative process, active spectatorship of the viewscape, and civic awareness while considering how social, politic as well as economic aspects can shape public space and the urban environment.

Keywords: creative practice, urban cultural heritage, viewscape