In his lecture Gielen analyses the relationship between art, politics and the public space in the creative city. He looks at how artists and other creative ‘workers’ respond to contemporary neoliberal policy by taking civil action in the grey zone between creativity and criminality. The lecture is based on research Gielen did for the European Cultural Foundation about the role of art and cultural organizations in building a transnational civil space. The research resulted in an analysis of how civil action takes place and how art can play a pivotal role in a so-called ‘civil chain’. The results of the research are published in the books No Culture, No Europe; Interrupting the City and The Art of Civil Action.