About City
  1. Schools and departments
  2. Education
  3. Rector and President
  4. Governance and leadership
  5. Working at City
  6. History of City
  7. More about City
  8. Campus map
  9. Contact us
  1. Arts and Social Sciences
  2. Sociology
  3. Culture & the Creative Industries
  4. Research in Culture & the Creative Industries
  5. Research students
About City

Ulrike Chouguley

MPhil/PhD student

Department of Culture & Creative Industriesnull


PhD Title:
Behind the scenes of world cities' cultural show: exploring the role of informal cultural practices in London and Mumbai

Prof Andy Pratt and Dr Jenny Mbaye

Course start date and mode of study:
October 2013 / Full-time

Summary of current doctoral research

Ulrike's doctoral research project explores the role of informal culture in world cities. To-date, the primary conceptual focus of the world cities debate has been on the economic domain and restricted to quantitative methodologies. This greatly limits our understanding of world cities as it results in an undue focus on formal activities, while informal practices are largely ignored. This is particularly important in the field of culture.

Other academic debates have highlighted the importance of informality in the context of today’s cities, for instance the literature around migration, mobility and transnational practices (e.g. Portes et al, 1999; Smith, 2001). A number of authors (e.g. Roy & Nezar, 2004; Bromley, 1998) have also drawn attention to contestations over informal uses of public spaces, such as street vending or informal housing. This is in addition to some debate by world city scholars like Castells (2010) and Sassen (2001) about the rise of the informal economy. In the cultural policy literature, informal practices (e.g. street art, artists squats) have been considered in terms of their link to urban regeneration and gentrification processes (Groth & Corjin, 2005; Vivant, 2010).

However, there remains a limited understanding of the broader (non-economic) role that informal cultural practices play in the context of world cities. This limited understanding also inhibits effective policy-making.

Ulrike’s PhD research aims to address this gap by interrogating the following key research questions:

  1. What function do informal cultural practices fulfil in world cities today?
  2. What are the factors and conditions under which informal cultural practices develop and thrive?
  3. How do these affect the mode of organisation of informal cultural practices?

The research uses a case study approach, interrogating a number of different informal cultural practices in London and Mumbai.

Research Interests

Ulrike's research focuses on questions around the role of culture within urban development. She is also interested in research debates about the impact and value of culture. Her previous work in both academic and applied research contexts had a particular focus on cultural and social impacts of cultural and heritage activities and events. Further interests include the field of European cultural policy.

Higher education background and previous experience

Ulrike holds a MA in European Cultural Policy and Management from the University of Warwick (distinction) and a joint BA in European Culture and Media Studies from the Bauhaus University Weimar (Germany) and the University Lyon II (France). Before starting her PhD she also worked for 5 years at BOP Consulting, a specialist research consultancy in culture and the creative industries.

Awards and grants

  • Current holder of a studentship from the City, University of London Graduate School
  • Studentship of the German Academic Exchange Service (Deutscher Akademischer Austausch Dienst, DAAD) for MA degree
  • Bursary from the German-French University for BA degree

Public Presentations and Conference Papers Given

  • 2015 – ‘World cities, global cultural networks and informality: why we need to stretch the boundaries’, presented at Bonds and Boundaries: An Interdisciplinary Conference, University College London, UK
  • 2014 – 'Interrogating the Global Cultural Network of Cities', presented at the Creating Cultures conference, King's College London, UK
  • 2012 – 'Maintaining the tourism impacts of the Edinburgh Festivals', presented at the 2nd Advances in Hospitality and Tourism Marketing & Management conference, Corfu, Greece
  • 2011 – 'The Edinburgh Festivals Impact Study', presented at Research and Knowledge Exchange in the Creative Economy: Impact and Effect conference, Edinburgh, UK.
  • 2011 – 'The Edinburgh Festivals Impact Study', presented at Research and Knowledge Exchange in the Creative Economy: Impact and Effect conference, Edinburgh, UK


(Forthcoming) Chouguley, Ulrike (2015) “World cities, culture and informality: a challenge to the practice of boundary-setting”. Tropos 3(1). Paper submitted and accepted to be published.


2016 – Seminar leader, Module: ‘Contemporary Cultural Policy’, BA Culture and Creative Industries, City University London, UK

2015 – Guest seminar facilitation, MA Cultural Policy and Management, City University London, UK

2014 – Guest lecture at Richmond University London, UK