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This paper undertakes a close examination of the work of grime DJs to demonstrate the value of Cultural Geography scholarship in developing new ways of thinking about work in general, and specifically in approaching the concept of aesthetic labour. In particular, the paper examines three ways in which we can theorise this kind of work and performance. First, the paper notes how value is constituted within fields of cultural judgement and taste, through a discussion of the aesthetic labour involved in the workers' self-fashioning. Second, it expands the concept of aesthetic labour beyond this self-fashioning to encompass the staging of value and the associated spaces of embodied performance and the generation of placed atmospherics. Finally, the paper discusses how aesthetic labour has expanded through its implication in the digital geographies and spatialities of creative work. Through these three foci, the paper therefore highlights how Cultural Geography's engagements with aesthetic labour may be productively expanded to help us to investigate the cultural character and spatialities of contemporary creative work.
Willment, N. (2019). Geographies of aesthetic labour and the creative work of grime DJs. Geography Compass, 13(5). https://doi.org/10.1111/gec3.12439