Monday, October 20, 2014

CfP: Cities of a new type

Dunaújváros, Hungary, May 21 - 22, 2015
Deadline: Dec 1, 2014
Cities of a new type. New industrial cities in popular democracies after 1945
International conference in Dunaújváros

In the socialist countries after 1945, several cities were erected from scratch next to an industrial complex: the main ones were Dunaújváros (named Sztálinváros from 1951 to 1961) in Hungary, Eisenhüttenstadt (Stalinstadt from 1953 to 1961) in East Germany, Nowa Huta in Poland and Dimitrovgrad in Bulgaria. They were supposed to become cities of a new type, different from the chaotic, segregated and capitalist city. They had to invent a socialist way of life and the population of these cities (mostly workers) did create a specific working class culture, even if it was different from the one that was expected by the authorities. Each city was progressively built through ideological ambitions, but also through concrete constraints and unexpected evolutions. The history of each city has so far been studied and written mostly from a national or regional perspective. We want to consider them from an international point of view and to put them in a comparative and transnational perspective.

We will consider the entire socialist period, from the late 1940s to the late 1980s. That is to say not only the time of the construction (the early fifties) but also the following decades, when the young cities got older and were transformed, according to local factors and according to the transformation of each popular democracy. However, we will not consider the post-socialist period.

The conference will focus on the four above-mentioned cities, but it will also consider smaller new cities (Ózd and Komló in Hungary, Nová Dubnica in Czechoslovakia, Nowe Tychy and Jastrz?bie in Poland, Schwedt and Hoyerswerda in East Germany, etc.) and new districts in already existing cities (for instance, Poruba next to Ostrava in Czechoslovakia or Halle-Neustadt next to Halle in East Germany).

We particularly welcome papers investigating topics such as:

- The comparison between the cities. The conference will examine both the history of the towns (plan, architecture, construction techniques, etc.) and the history of the people who came to the towns (migrations, work in the factory, everyday life, housing, etc.). For each topic, comparisons shed light on unnoticed facts. For instance, putting next to each other the plans of the new cities shows significant differences and leads to think about the urban morphology or about the relationships between the city and the factory. Similarly, comparisons between the pieces of furniture in the new apartments lead to think about design in socialist regime.

- The understanding of exchanges between the cities. Archives give evidence of economic and cultural collaboration, mainly through delegations exchanges. And these exchanges concerned the different involved actors: decision-makers of local authorities, party members, city planners, engineers, workers. What did people from Nowa Huta know from Dunaújváros and Eisenhüttenstadt? In what extent did these cities constitute a network? In this sense, the conference participates in the current historiographical reflection on the economic and cultural collaboration between socialist countries and on the integration of socialist space.

- The question of the models. What was presented and considered as model? In the official discourse, there was only one model: the USSR and its main new city from the 1930s, Magnitogorsk. But the actual influence of the Soviet Union is hard to understand. What was known exactly from the Soviet Union? What was imitated? Magnitogorsk seems to have been very far and actually little known; other building sites, like the reconstruction of Stalingrad, were maybe more familiar. And the USSR founded many new cities, all over its huge territory and during the entire socialist time. What was done with this knowledge? The contribution of specialists in Soviet history would be very appreciated.

Despite the official discourses, Soviet Union was certainly not the only model. The new cities in Eastern Europe also looked at what was done in Western Europe and also outside Europe. These cities were built through different derivatives and borrowings that were put together.

The conference will be held in Dunaújváros and Hungarian researchers will then present hitherto unseen archives from the steel factory Dunaferr: paintings, photographs and various sources about the functioning of the factory or about the daily life of workers (for instance Dunaferr possesses a precious collection of brigádnapló – the diary that each brigade had to write about work and life in the factory). Such archives, which present interesting resemblances with archives from similar cities, will contribute to the historical, nuanced and objective understanding of the socialist way of life.

Please send an abstract of up to 500 words and a brief academic CV to Deadline for submission of proposals is 1st December 2014. Conference language is English. Funding is available to cover travel and accommodation expenses.

Organisation committee:

Jérôme Bazin, Paris-Est Créteil University.
Mihály Molnár, Pepper Art Projects (Budapest). Dóra Molnár Pepper Art Projects (Budapest).
Gábor Rieder, independent art historian (Budapest).

Scientific board: Ulf Brunnbauer (Regensburg University), Sándor Horváth (Hungarian Academy of Sciences), Dagmara Jaje?niak-Quast (Frankfurt/Oder University), Katherine Lebow (Vienna Wiesenthal Institute for Holocaust Research), Andreas Ludwig (Potsdam Center of Contemporary History), György Szücs (Hungarian National Gallery).

Sunday, October 19, 2014


Two weeks to go to the new group photo-exhibition organised by TACT at Friedrichshain, at the Urban Spree Gallery.

Monday, October 13, 2014

ANCB Lectures -Urban Interplay - Community, Identity and Space


Urban Interplay - Community, Identity and Space
Saturday, 18 October 2014, 4:00 pm 
Francine Houben, Mecanoo architecten and Benedetta Tagliabue, EMBT

ANCB Lectures on the occasion of the opening of the Aedes exhibitions A People's Palace by Mecanoo architecten and Barcelona RE.SET on the work of the Fundació Enric Miralles 

Francine Houben of Mecanoo architecten and Benedetta Tagliabue of EMBT are two of today's leading architects. On the occasion of the opening of the corresponding Aedes exhibitions, ANCB presents lectures by both architects, who share a common focus on the importance of interaction in public space.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

CFP: Negotiating Change in Urban Spaces from the Middle Ages to the Present - Oxford

Deadline: 31.10.2014 
This interdisciplinary conference aims to explore the ways in which physical transformations of urban spaces have been negotiated and/or narrated over time. The politics of space continues to attract leading research, especially during moments of palpable transition such as the tearing down of city walls or the rebuilding of war-damaged districts. In these situations, struggles over municipal laws, codes, or regulations, or the changing aesthetics or rhythms of urban spaces illuminate a great deal about how the city has been imagined. They underscore the narratives that urban dwellers, professionals and government officials have told about the built environment and used to influence its transformation. In this sense, the imagined geography, image, role and importance of a city as conceived by a myriad 'interested parties' is as important as its physical reality. However, these rhetorically and visually defined cities never stop taking their legitimacy from the physical city. 

This conference seeks to gather together academics from a number of disciplines interested in this relationship between material change and discourse. Some examples of the many ways in which this can be explored include investigations into the primacy of place in debates over urban change, be it structurally, politically, or socially understood. Likewise, investigations of mental geographies have enriched our understandings of clashes over urban development, through an increased sensitivity to how different forms of borders are created and policed. Other researchers have looked to explore questions of memory or heritage in material change. Indeed, this holds true for a whole range of political, social or cultural ideas. And of course, explorations of the relationship between the local and the global have raised fascinating questions of how urban identities were understood in space and changed across time. 

We are seeking papers that consider the complexities of negotiating and/or narrating urban transformations according to any disciplinary approach. There are no restrictions on geographical region or time period but a reference to change according to one of the following themes: 
- Infrastructural change 
- Changes in housing and/or living standards 
- Changing regulations, including of the sounds, smells and rhythms of urban life 
- Local and/or global relationships in the city 
- Aesthetics or artistic depictions of the city 
- The development of heritage and sites of memory 
- Changing tensions between secular and religious spaces or relationships 
- Policing, surveillance and deviance 

In order to ground the conference discussions in the realities of navigating change in the city, the conference will also include a number of architects and urban planners to help enrich the ways in which we talk about the city. 

The conference will take place at Nuffield College, University of Oxford and will be consist of panels of short summary presentations based on pre-circulated papers of 5-6000 words. There will be no conference fee - coffee and meals including the evening meal are included. Limited funding to subsidize travel costs and accommodation is available, to those without a full wage or institutional support. 

Paper proposals of up to 500 words and as well as an abridged curriculum vitae should be sent to by 31 October 2014. The conference language will be English. 

Please address all queries to: Sheona Davies,

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

CfP: Subversive Practices and Imagined Realities in Central, Eastern and Southern Europe since 1945

Session Convenors:
Amy Bryzgel, University of Aberdeen,
Andrea Euringer-Bátorová, Academy of Fine Arts and Design, Bratislava, Slovakia,

In communist Central, Eastern and Southern Europe, the building of socialism had as its final endpoint a utopia that provided the ultimate motivation: sacrifice now, reward later. In its sheer impossibility, it was an elusive and illusory dream that formed the foundation for everyday life under totalitarian regime. Within this visionary world, artists such as Alexander Mlynarcik (Slovakia), Marko Kovacic (Slovenia) or Mark Verlan (Moldova), created their own parallel worlds, utopias, dystopias, and fantastic domains. In many cases, alternative and nonofficial artists’ works served to carve out a unique space in the so-called “grey zone” of Europe, which offered an alternative not only to state-sponsored socialism, but also to Western capitalism, both of which many artists and dissidents viewed with equal suspicion. This panel will examine a range of artistic ideas, participative strategies, subversive practices, networks and projects (imaginary or real), which demonstrate an alternative sphere of thinking and modes of creative living, and which possibly attempt to move beyond the classical binary systems of West and East – all from within an everyday world order that seemed to be set in stone. We also invite papers that offer a more differentiated view, even extending to the post-socialist period, aiming to re-evaluate the nexus of aesthetics and politics and produce new interpretations and analytical approaches regarding counterculture and censorship, which explore the relational aspects of following binaries: official and unofficial, political and apolitical, permitted and prohibited – under totalitarian rule.

The deadline for abstracts is November 10, 2014. Paper proposals must be emailed directly to the session convenor(s). You must provide a 250 word abstract for a 30 minute paper. Include your name and institution affiliation (if any). Please follow the format found in the “Paper Proposal Guidelines” document found here:
You should receive an acknowledgement of receipt of your submission within two weeks from the session convenor(s). - See more at:

Unfortunately no fee is payable to speakers; all speakers must register and pay to attend the conference.

See more at:

Public art festival - ARTPROSPECT in Saint Petersburg