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Writers. We. LOVE. - Christine Mclaren and the BMW Guggenheim Lab

Writers. We. LOVE.

by: Zoe V. Speas, The Angel Orensanz Foundation for the Arts.

Christine Mclaren doesn’t identify herself as a blogger. But you certainly wouldn’t be able to tell it from her work as the resident writer for the BMW Guggenheim Lab.


She’s the brains behind an exciting Lab series entitled 100 Urban Trends, an extension of concepts and ideas developed through the Lab’s discussions in Berlin, Mumbai, and New York. 

Richard Armstrong, Director of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Foundation commented on the focus of the Lab. 

“Integral to these glossaries is the concept of cities as hubs for ideas, and how the Lab has captured some of the prevailing thoughts citizens and experts alike have about their cities,” said Armstrong.

The discoveries of the Lab will culminate in an exhibition entitled Participatory City: 100 Trends from the BMW Guggenheim Lab. It opens at the Guggenheim Museum on October 11, 2013 and runs until January 5, 2014. image

But more about this Writer. We. LOVE. 

Meet Christine Mclaren.


Visit her website at

She describes herself as “a small town Canadian girl at heart”, but Mclaren has big-pictures idea about the world and the cities that comprise it. Her travels have taken her across the globe,  from “tucked away villages in the foothills of the Austrian Alps to urban jungles of Vancouver, New York, Berlin, and Mexico City.” In her free time, she plays the saxophone for the Carnival Band(a non-profit organization dedicated to using music to empower the community) and as a result, owns an alarming about of wacky miniature top hats.


Awesome, right?

As if you’re not already impressed, her bio on claims that she speaks German and Spanish and claims that, if necessity called for it, she might be able to order a coffee, burger, or a beer in French. Unfortunately when I spoke to her in our phone interview on Friday, I failed to put this to the test. 

But when speaking to Christine Mclaren, you don’t tend to question the authority of what she’s telling you.

Look at her background.

She’s committed her life’s work to journalism, with a focus on the intersection between urban development and environmental/social issues. Currently based out of Vancouver, Mclaren has written for publications such as Spacing, Metropolis, and Monocle, as well as many important print, television, and online news hubs internationally.  

"I’m a fan of participatory journalism,” says Mclaren, “living in the place that you are writing about. It requires you to open yourself up and be honest about your place in the world.”

As a new blogger for the BMW Lab, Mclaren was forced to explore a new medium of news reporting. Her approach to the 100 Urban Trends involved shaping her writing to suit the needs of the blog, which became “less about form and more about content.”




Mclaren embraced the fundamental differences between the Lab and her previous work in journalism. She was particularly affected by how personal the process of blogging became. 

"Your persona is attached to the writing. You are the blog. You can’t hide behind someone else’s narrative.”

Her focus upon listening to and partaking in the BMW Guggenheim LAB programs allowed her to communicate the developing ideas and concepts to the public. She composed blog posts that illustrated the overarching general themes of the Lab’s discussions. Mclaren’s intent, she explained, was “to let people make the link to the Lab themselves.”

Mclaren’s next projects will continue her investigation of environmental sustainability, liveability, affordability and solutions to the problems of building “good cities.” She shares the BMW Guggenheim Lab’s belief in the city as a vehicle of change and preservation for the future, and hopes to return to New York City in October as the Guggenheim exhibit, Participatory City, launches into full-swing. 

For more information about Participatory City and the BMW Guggenheim Lab - visit


Filed under guggenheim christinemclaren blogger Angel Orensanz participatory art exhibition urban development New York City berlin mumbai BMW guggenheim lab

Rineke Dijkstra, on the Guggenheim, more in our blog: