about

TACT / International Research on Art and the City is an international network that brings together research on art, artists and the city. Involving academics, artists, activists and students, it creates a platform for investigating urban imaginaries from the perspective of art and the city, artists and public space, and the urban interventionism of street art and grassroots activism.

The network involves people from different disciplinary backgrounds including urban anthropology, sociology, art history, urban history, geography, architecture and art. It creates an important arena for the exchange of ideas through workshops, projects, events and publications, and seeks to encourage new cross-disciplinary collaborations. Through an international comparative focus across cities such as Berlin, Istanbul, London, Moscow, Budapest, and St. Petersburg, it aims to generate innovative new dialogue between post-socialist, global or globalizing cities. Through close examination of these cities in their historical and cultural contexts, the network looks to develop new and enhanced practices and strategies for researching art and artists in the twenty-first-century city. 

The initiators of this project: Ayse Erek, Eszter Gantner, Juli Székely

Members of the network:

Dr Ben Campkin is Director of the cross-disciplinary UCL Urban Laboratory and Senior Lecturer in Architectural History and Theory at the Bartlett School of Architecture. He is author of "Remaking London: Decline and Regeneration in Urban Culture" (IB Tauris, 2013) and co-editor of "Dirt: New Geographies of Cleanliness and Contamination" (IB Tauris, 2007, paperback 2009). Ben’s work has recently been published in journals and anthologies such as "Architectural Theory Review", "The Journal of Architecture, Architectural Design, Camera Constructs, The Art of Dissent" and "The Politics of Making". He has written about and collaborated with a wider range of London-based photographers and artists such as Stephen Gill, Bert Hardy, Rab Harling, Hilary Powell, Richard Wentworth and Noble and Webster.

Ayse Erek, PhD, Associate Professor of Art History at Yeditepe University, Department of History in Istanbul. Had been a post-doctoral research fellow at Georg-Simmel Center for Metropolitan Studies of Humboldt University in Berlin (Oct 2012 - Jan. 2014), and a visiting lecturer at Ethnology Institute of Humboldt University in Berlin and Architecture Faculty of Istanbul Technical University. Her current research focuses on urban imaginaires in the context of political and cultural discourse, reinvention of the urban pasts for the present, urban space in art after 1980s. She recently co-edited a special issue of Visual Resources Journal by Routledge, titled 'Urban Imaginary in the Twenty-First Century', published in December 2014.

Eszter Gantner: PhD in History, currently  Post-doctoral research fellow at the Institute for European Ethnology, Humboldt University of Berlin and post-doc fellow at the Herder-Institute (Marburg).  She is member of the Georg Simmel Center for Metropolitan Research, Humboldt University of Berlin. Her research deals with urban history of Central and Eastern Europe, but also includes the issue of urban interventions and the transformation of urban public space, with a special focus on post-socialist cities.

Andrew Harris: Lecturer in Geography and Urban Studies at University College London, where he convenes the interdisciplinary Urban Studies MSc. His research develops critical perspectives on the role of art, creativity and culture in recent processes of urban restructuring. Working between London and Mumbai, he uses comparative frameworks to highlight particularities both between and within cities, and to fashion more diverse and cosmopolitan agendas of urban research and policy-making.

Christina M. Heinen: has a PhD in ethnomusicology, is a urban researcher, freelance author and artist. She writes and produces audio plays, works in a variety of musical projects and regularly exhibits her drawings. As a member of the Georg-Simmel-Zentrum she is dealing with the production of (urban) acoustic spaces.

Stefan Höffken: Researcher, writer and urban blogger based in Berlin and Kaiserslautern (Germany). His main focus is the role of new media technologies (e.g. webmapping, social media, mobile computing, sensor technologies) for urban development and society. The doctoral thesis "Mobile Participation" investigates the potential of mobile media for participational processes in urban planning.Founder and member of Urbanophil, a network engaged in analyzing the role of new trends in urban planning (ww.urbanophil.net) and editor of PLANERIN (http://www.srl.de/publikationen/planerin.html).

Dr. Heike Oevermann:  is researcher and lecturer in urban and heritage studies (Georg-Simmel-Center for Metropolitan Studies, Humboldt Universität zu Berlin, Tecnical University Berlin, Politecnico di Milano). She studied architecture (TU Braunschweig / ETSA Sevilla) and World Heritage Studies at the BTU Cottbus and worked for several years as an architect and planner. Currently she carries out research on transformations of industrial heritage sites in Europe.

Oleg Pachenkov: PhD in sociology, senior researcher at the centre for Independent Social Research (CISR, St. Petersburg, Russia), and director of the Centre for Applied Research (CeAR) at European University in St. Petersburg. His main fields of interest are urban studies and interdisciplinary projects, bringing together social scientists with architects, designers, urban planners and artists working on the urban environment, street art and public art.

Natalia Samutina: Head of the Centre for Studies of Contemporary Culture at the Institute for Theoretical and Historical Studies in the Humanities (National Research University Higher School of Economics, Moscow, Russia). She is also an associate professor at the Sociology Department at the same institution (Higher School of Economics). Her fields of research are multiple and include cinema theory, visual anthropology, urban studies, popular music, street art and fan fiction studies. She is the Head of the research group ‘Graffiti and street art in cultural cityscape’: http://igiti.hse.ru/hsestreetart/

János Sugár is a Budapest, Hungary-based media artist, teacher and writer. He produced his first experimental films in the early 1980s at the legendary Bela Balazs studios, co-founded the Intermedia Department of the Art Academy in Budapest where he is currently teaching. His work spans from installation, computer art, film and sculpture to interactive and conceptual art. He has developed a subjective form-language characterised by sophisticated irony and humour.

Juli Székely: PhD student at the Central European University in Budapest at the Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology. Her research focus is on the intersection of art and city, with a special interest in public art and memory in urban spaces. Right now she is working on her dissertation elaborating the memorial culture of Berlin and Budapest.

Lilia Voronkova: Social scientist, researcher and coordinator of the department “art- (social) science projects” at the centre for Independent Social Research (CISR, St. Petersburg, Russia); fellow of Alexander von Humboldt Foundation with research project on interdisciplinary projects at the Institute for European Ethnology in Berlin; curator and initiator of collaborative projects between social scientists and artists. Her main interests are urban studies and urban activism.

Oksana Zaporozhets: Leading research fellow at the Centre for Studies of Contemporary Culture at the Institute for Theoretical and Historical Studies in the Humanities (National Research University Higher School of Economics, Moscow, Russia). Her research interests are mainly in Urban Studies covering a broad range of topics such as urban perception, urban choreography, transitive spaces, and emotional scapes. She has a keen interest in micro-urbanism (especially, in some vague concepts such as nuances, details, chances) and concentrate on the ways the city is produced and re-interpreted by the things, places, practices, and discourses identified as insignificant (such as lostness and lost things). Her recent research project is devoted to the anthropology of the subway. She is also interested in studies of post-socialism.

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