Monday, September 28, 2015

Urban Imagineering and the Construction of Cool Cities Workshop - Full Program

Urban Imagineering and the Construction of Cool Cities (Sept. 30 - Oct. 1)
Central European University
Budapest, Hungary

Image is everything. The way people, companies, causes and places are presented is increasingly deemed to be a key to success. City and neighborhood branding has become an urban policy tool; culture, history, aesthetics are consciously and creatively deployed in urban redevelopment projects. Many activities and places which had been considered uninteresting and better to hide have become ‘cool’ and sell well (street food, street art, slum tourism, red-light and entertainment districts, ruin pubs, lofts).

Image is everything. Or, perhaps not?

For more details see:

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

CFP: Building Bridges: Cities and Regions in a Transnational World

Building Bridges: Cities and Regions in a Transnational World 
3rd - 6th April 2016, Karl-Franzen- University, Graz, Austria
Regional Studies Association Annual Conference 2016

Throughout history, cities and regions have been cornerstones of economic, social and cultural institution building and centres of communication and trade across borders of empires and nations. In a globalised world dominated by multi-level governance and declining economic and political significance of the nation-state, cities and regions are becoming ever more so important in building bridges across nations, supra-national unions, and even continents.

These challenges surpass the usual aspects of integration: it is not sufficient to reduce barriers for the mobility of labour, goods, services and capital, to create a homogenous competitive environment, and a solid monetary system. What is needed in addition are more elements of a new regionalism, which is based on non-hierarchical relationships, on self-government, and on the creation of flexible alliances leading to interregional transnational cooperation. The development of a region is affected by its competitive and complementary relationships with other increasingly distant regions. 

These relationships have to be embedded in an overall structure of relations which encompass the purely economic ones and have strong social, cultural, legal and political dimensions. The objective of the conference is to initiate an interdisciplinary dialogue about the future of a transnational world of urban and regional cooperation. We welcome submissions from researchers, policy makers and practitioners working in all areas of regional analysis.

Special Session’s Proposals
Besides paper presentations we also welcome Special Sessions. A Special Session could be a themed workshop or innovative forms of networking and collaboration. We are open to your ideas and happy to discuss these with you. 

There are two types of Special Sessions:
Open Session: the session organiser proposes the topic and provides a short description for a special session. Delegates can submit their abstracts for this session when they register for the conference.
Closed Session: the session organiser proposes the complete session including all speakers. Other delegates cannot submit their abstracts for this session. Both sessions are open to all delegates to attend as audience.

For more information please visit or contact Wanda Miczorek at

Monday, September 21, 2015


The autumn of 2015 marks the second collaborative project between four of Berlin’s leading art institutions: Berlinische Galerie, Deutsche Bank KunstHalle, KW Institute for Contemporary Art, and Nationalgalerie – Staatliche Museen zu Berlin will present a total of four thematically related and coinciding exhibitions.

The exhibition The Dialogic City : Berlin wird Berlin, planned by Brandlhuber+ Hertweck, Mayfried, reveals perspectives of dialogic behavior in the city in seven chapters; the publication of the same name provides its central point of departure. Going beyond the rudiments of participation, possibilities for combining seemingly irreconcilable differences are sketched from various points of view. The first issue of Dialogic City is dedicated to Berlin, where these antagonisms are more extreme than elsewhere.

Following the subject matter of the publications chapters, seven comments will be installed in the large exhibition room of the Berlinische Galerie. The presentation comprises about 500 models from the Berlinische Galeries architectural collection; in its capacity as federal state museum for architecture, the gallery stores the documentation and models of Berlin building competitions. Due to a lack of funds and manpower, only a small part of the material has been digitalized so far. The exhibition addresses this problem by entering the models that are transported from the depot to the exhibition room into the museum database in the presence of visitors (until 08.11.2015, Fri–Mon 12:00 am to 6:00 pm). An important part of museum work that is usually hidden from the public eye thus becomes visible. On the one hand, the models help to imagine an alternative Berlin, which may be reconstructed on the basis of the competition entries; on the other, they illustrate a history of ideas that continues also in its unimplemented form and which may be used as a source of inspiration for present-day debates about the city.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

WORKSHOP (Berlin): Urban Heritage und Urban Images: Imagineering Urban Heritage (29-30 Oct.)

Urban Heritage und Urban Images: Imagineering Urban Heritage
Humboldt University of Berlin, 29-30th October 2015
In Cooperation with the Institute for Art – and Image history at the Humboldt University of Berlin

Images of cities have a long history and have long been research objects in art history and related disciplines. But city images, produced for economic purposes, have only been analysed recently, and primarily in the social sciences. The production of city images is conceptualized as Urban Imagineering. This describes a differentiated field of discourses and practices in which above all agents from city branding and urban economy are involved, but also urban politics and architecture, in order to generate specific pictures, narratives and symbols of urbanity. Nevertheless, these city-branding and identity-creating processes are continuously changing and at the same time influencing the self-image of the city: this happens in a matrix of urban images, history, economy and heritage.

In this context, tangible heritage gains a special function: different components of heritage are interpreted anew with the help of history. They are overloaded with different symbols and narratives in order to acknowledge their uniqueness.

Within these frameworks the workshop aims to examine the interaction between image, history and architecture. The following questions are formulated: 
Which interaction exists between the tangible heritage and the production of city images? 
To what extend does history play a role in the process of transformation of heritage into images? 

The workshop intends to introduce and analyze case studies from all over Europe. There will be special focus on cases studies which discuss the following perspectives: 
In the realm of architecture, they focus on the interaction between image, history and materiality in urban space; 
In the realm of social practices, they analyse the constructed and projected images. 

The whole programme of the workshop can be found under the following link:

Location: Institue for European Ethnology/Georg-Simmel Center for Metropolitan Studies, Humboldt University Berlin
Address: Mohrenstraße 40/41, 10117 Berlin, Germany

Registration is required.
If you would like to register, please send an email to

Thursday, September 3, 2015

The Istanbul Arts Biennial / SALTWATER: A Theory of Thought Forms

The Istanbul Arts Biennial SALTWATER: A Theory of Thought Forms opens to the public on 5 September 2015.
“This citywide exhibition on the Bosphorus hovers around a material– salt water –and the contrasting images of knots and of waves."

CFP: Book - Visual Representations and/of Citizenship

Call for papers for Book Essays in edited collection
Deadline: Oct 1, 2015

Co-editors: Corey Dzenko, Ph.D., Monmouth University,; Theresa Avila, Ph.D., Arizona State University,

Traditionally defined by an individual’s membership and level of participation within a community, scholars such as Eric Hobsbawm describe how “citizenship” results in access to benefits or rights. Yet citizenship moves beyond political framings. According to Aiwha Ong, cultural citizenship is a “dual process of self-making and being-made” but done so “within webs of power linked to the nation-state and civil society.” Taking citizenship as a political position, cultural process, and intertwining of both, this book seeks essays that examine the role of art and visual culture in the Modern and Contemporary eras.

We seek proposals that engage with the questions: How does citizenship inform artistic and visual practices? And how do images inform citizenship? How do images and the built environment reflect, confirm, or challenge ideals of citizenship across visual media and geographical boundaries? Topics addressed may include, but are not limited to: nation building, civic practices, transnationalism, civil rights, politics of identity, labor, border zones, affects of belonging, and activism as well as resistance to citizenship. Queries are also welcome concerning submission topics.

Essay abstracts (approximately 500 words in length) and a CV should be sent to Dr.Theresa Avila at and Dr. Corey Dzenko at by October 1, 2015. Drafts or longer outlines are also welcome at this time.

Selected authors will be notified by November 1, 2015. Full first drafts of essays will be due by December 15, 2015, at the latest.

For those invited to contribute to the book project, essays should be 6,000-8,000 words (author-date system in Chicago style with a list of references, and minimal endnotes, please).

For images, due to space limitations, we ask that only the most relevant images be included.  Image copyright is the responsibility of the author and should be established prior to submitting the final
version of the essay. When submitting final essays, proof of copyright permission will need to be made available.

CfP (Journal) :Political Informality, Power and the Other Side of Urban Space

Call for Papers "Political Informality, Power and the Other Side of Urban Space"
L'Espace politique online journal (publication in 2016).
Papers can be submitted both in English and French.
More details on 
Submission deadline: December 15th, 2015.

Sébastien Jacquot (, Alexis Sierra ( and Jérôme Tadié (

Hands Over the City, Chinatown, The Elite Squad… these and many other films depict the influence of informal or even illegal practices in cities such as Naples, Los Angeles or Rio de Janeiro. Beyond the symbolic dimension of these cities, informal ways of governing the city emerge together with the diversity of power controls. Cronyism, obscure awards of public contracts, collusion, circulation of rumours, more or less autonomous forms of governance of neighbourhoods (self-management, lynching, vigilantes or control of markets by thugs, for instance), resistance (defined as mobilisations out of institutional realms), organised racket, all refer to the informal governance of the city. This issue of L’Espace politique aims at understanding the roles and meanings of informal practice in city governance and urban life. How does the diversity of urban power structures emerge and consolidates, in informal and sometimes illegal ways? What influence does it have on the production, administration and control of urban space?

By transferring the notion of informality – which is usually encountered in economics – to the political realm, this call for proposals seeks to explore the importance of arrangements and informal (even transgressive) practice in cities — the dark side of city governance as it were. The notion of political informality extends beyond the reference to the legal framework, and to its transgression. It points more broadly to common social norms, in relation with power structures. Thus political informality encompasses the “forms, practices, activities and expressions which, because they are not beneficiating of a recognition and a legitimacy from the prescribers and most influential agents of the field, are ‘rejected’ outside of this field even though they partake, fully or incidentally, in its constitution” (Le Gall, Offerlé and Ploux, 2012, p.16).

From this perspective, informality calls for another type of approach to the analysis of public policies, moving away from an approach which usually only takes into account official and visible policies (participative programs, decentralisation). We need to consider implicit underlying practices such as corruption or clientelism. In the practice of power and governance, informality invites us to take into account ‘political’ dynamics outside or beyond overt practice.

Questioning political informality also implies that we analyse the structure of urban power: their diversity, their everyday forms and practices, their articulations, their visibility as well as the mechanisms which legitimise them. Such studies can focus on the residents, the leaders, the political or economic elites, whether they interact or not. What are the conditions for such practices to become possible? what are the arrangements, tolerance or circumventing strategies? Are these power centres articulated to the forms of government (State, decentralised power, dominant local coalition, etc.)? What relationships do they entertain: do they build alliances? Are they autonomous or on the contrary do they compete? Are they in some ways more or less disconnected? Are they at the source of urban differentiation? In other words, does political informality produce power structures and spaces which operate differently?

The aim here is not to oppose, in a dichotomic way, a dominant legal sphere with subjects characterised by their informal political practice. We wish rather to identify the modalities of the construction of political spaces – if not of politics – either on the margins of urban intervention — playing the political game in order to reach specific urban goals — or in the practice of everyday city governance. City residents with little resources or access to the dominating spheres, intermediaries as well as elites, are all concerned with political informality. These arrangements are at the source of different types of fabric of the city, through their original articulation with urban space.

This special issue is at the junction of two academic traditions: urban studies – often focusing on the more official policies and dynamics – and the studies on informality – often too limited to the cities of the global South and to the fields of economy or criminality studies. We encourage contributions based on fieldwork in cities, which will be the basis for comparison between several local case studies. They can relate to the following topics (this list is non-exhaustive and with overlapping boundaries):

1. Political informality, everyday practice and the meaning of law in the city: proposals can examine the ways in which laws and rules are interpreted and transgressed in the everyday governance of the city. They can analyse how neglecting or circumventing those rules leads to reshape them (through favours, cronyism, nepotism, corruption...), as well as the roles and attitudes of the actors involved (public authorities, private actors, businesses, lobbies, mafias, city dwellers…).

2. Political informality and urban governance: can urban governance be analysed through the lens of political informality? How do groups of residents, coalitions of public or private actors or political parties emerge and maintain themselves? Does the State itself use informal repertoires in urban governance?

3. Political informality and resisting residents: beyond the institutional spheres of mobilisation and political contestation, what are the informal practices contesting established urban power structures? What are the repertoires of political action for the residents deprived of recognised political rights?

4. Spaces of informal organisation: certain spaces are governed through informal practices, by alternative, and sometimes criminal structures. How do they maintain themselves? What are their relationships — if any — with the State or the government? How do they build their legitimacy or get accepted by the residents?

5 The role of practical knowledge: what types of knowledge are used in the conduct of informal arrangements or the circumvention of rules? How are rumours, legends, etc.… articulated to political informality?

6. Arrangements and temporality: are there favourable moments or privileged spaces in the constitution, negotiation, conduct or contestation of such arrangements? They are based on different contexts and representations of the city as well as on sometimes changing networks. In such cases, how can they be secured and become permanent?

Contributions should be sent to Sébastien Jacquot (, Alexis Sierra ( and Jérôme Tadié ( before December 15, 2015.