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City Maps

City Maps is a series of workshops encouraging doctoral students to explore, discuss and experiment with different ways of conceptualising and studying cities in the arts and humanities. The main learning outcome is to equip participants with knowledge, tools and approaches for expanding their horizons and engaging the urban as an object of study in their own research.

City Maps

Various dates October 2018 - June 2019

City Maps is a series of workshops encouraging doctoral students to explore, discuss and experiment with different ways of conceptualising and studying cities in the arts and humanities. The main learning outcome is to equip participants with knowledge, tools and approaches for expanding their horizons and engaging the urban as an object of study in their own research.

In ordinary conversation, we often take cities for granted as distinct and identifiable places. But when the city becomes an object of study, it quickly becomes elusive, layered, interconnected and potentially boundless. A city can be a built environment of myriad structures and infrastructures, its people and their differences, a series of representations or aesthetic impressions, an object of politics or public address, a node for global flows, and many other things besides. Often going hand-in-hand with these disparate aspects of the city are specific disciplinary preferences and domains.

Doctoral students taking workshops within this series will be inspired to rise above narrowly disciplinary or highly attenuated orientations to the city. Each session will approach the urban as an inherently trans-, inter- and pluri-disciplinary object, bringing together CHASE expertise and an invited workshop leader, who will collaborate and develop a format appropriate to the workshop’s focus. This might include site-specific presentations, cases studies, reading discussions, screenings, and hands-on workshops.

The series will comprise five workshops moving from specific urban research cases to how students might situate themselves and seek publication in what has been termed urban cultural studies:

  1. The transdisciplinarity of urban experience. Iain Borden from the UCL Bartlett School, whose work has explored a range of topics in architecture and urban culture, will lead a workshop in collaboration with Mari Paz Balibrea (Birkbeck). Participants will be invited to think about the urban via the fundamental transdisciplinary concept of experience, and how it has been deployed in Borden’s work on public interaction with urban built environments. 31 October 2018, Birkbeck, Bloomsbury campus.

  2. Researching screen media and global cities. In this workshop, Johan Andersson from King’s College London will lead a workshop with Lawrence Webb (Sussex), building on themes introduced in their co-edited 2016 book Global Cinematic Cities: New Landscapes of Film and Media. This will likely comprise a programme of screenings and discussion at the Birkbeck Cinema, at which students will discuss the challenges of researching cinema and the city at a time when both have been destabilized as objects of study.  21 November 2018, Birkbeck, Bloomsbury campus.

  3. Urban spaces and scalar traces. Clancy Wilmott, University of Manchester (with Scott Rodgers. Birkbeck). 28 March, University Square Stratford.

  4. Mapping urban media infrastructures (provisional title). Shannon Mattern, The New School (with Scott Rodgers. Birkbeck). 30 May 2019, venue TBC.

  5. Urban cultural studies: getting oriented, getting published. This workshop provides an overview of the emergent field of urban cultural studies. Participants will explore what types of work this field makes visible, and be given specific advice on making their work publishable in peer reviewed journals. Ben Fraser from University of Arizona, the Executive Editor of the Journal of Urban Cultural Studies, will lead the workshop in collaboration with Mari Paz Balibrea. Friday 28 June 2019, Birkbeck, Bloomsbury campus.

Fifteen places will be available for each workshop, with CHASE-funded students having first priority, followed by students researching any aspect of cities (with first places going to students at CHASE institutions). Provision will be made to document each session, via a combination of blogging, photos, and/or audio/video recording.

Participants are encouraged to attend all five workshops, although this is not essential.

Workshop 3 - Thursday 28 March 2019 | 10.00-16.00 - FULLY BOOKED

Birkbeck, University Square Stratford

Urban spaces and scalar traces

In this workshop, Clancy Wilmott from the University of Manchester will lead a workshop with Scott Rodgers (Birkbeck) that asks participants to consider urban cultural studies through spatial theory - specifically concepts of scale, situatedness, and global-local encounters. Based at Birkbeck’s Stratford Campus, participants will conduct an in-situ geo-graphical exploration of traces across material and digital landscapes, evident and pertinent to their own research, in order to map how different scales – such as global, local, architectural and bodily - blend together, co-forming and conflicting in everyday urban spaces.

Workshop 4 - Mapping urban media infrastructures (provisional title).

30 May 2019 - Venue TBC

Workshop 5- Urban Cultural Studies: Getting Oriented, Getting Published

Prof. Benjamin Fraser, U. of Arizona

Friday 28 June, 2019

10.00 Arrive/coffee

10.30-12.00 Urban Cultural Studies Method

A talk by Benjamin Fraser on the methodological questions involved in conducting urban cultural studies research. This includes a brief look back at the development of cultural studies, discussion of previous confrontations and intersections between the humanities and the social sciences, and exploration of the current (inter)disciplinary landscape of journal publishing. A range of cultural texts are mentioned including literature, poetry, theatre, film, comics, popular music, performance, painting, video games, and architecture. Emphasis is on the blending of textual analysis, cultural context, and theoretical ground. Examples given from the speaker’s own research and from the pages of the Journal of Urban Cultural Studies.

12.00-13.00 Lunch (provided)

13.00-14.45 Task 1 – The Interdisciplinary Publishing Landscape

This session will be led by both Benjamin Fraser and Mari-Paz Balibrea. The 15 participants will divide into groups of 3, and each group will compile a list of questions they have about the publication process in advancing a scholarly agenda related to urban culture. All questions are welcome. Among other topics, participants might consider: practical details concerning the submission process, communication with editors, the peer-review process, the revision process; strategic details concerning the development of a research profile, professional advancement in the UK and US contexts, and the relationship between articles and books.

Groups will have 30-45 minutes for internal discussion driving the creation of their list. Each group will then share their list with the larger workshop group, after which collective exploration of the themes raised  begin with the most common questions first.

14.45-15.00 Break

15.00-16.45 Task 2 – Individualized Feedback, Peer Guidance on Future Article Submission

Each of the 15 participants will have prepared an article draft planned for submission, complete with abstract and key words. THIS WILL NEED TO BE SUBMITTED BY WEDNESDAY MAY 15, 2019 AND IS A REQUIREMENT TO PARTICIPATE IN THIS SESSION. These articles will have been circulated prior to the meeting to two other participants whose research might overlap in terms of either subdiscipline, geographical focus, type of cultural production, or theoretical formation, as well as to the workshop leaders, Balibrea and Fraser. Groups of three participants will explore together their individualized plan for journal submission, discuss aspects of their articles’ design and execution that are worthy of peer feedback, and anticipate potential outcomes of the peer-review process in light of the specific articles chosen. Balibrea and Fraser will work with each group in turn for 10-15 minutes, before bringing the larger workshop group back together to close the session.





Terms and conditions

By registering below you are requesting a place on this training programme or selected sessions that form part of the programme. A member of the CHASE team or the workshop leader will contact you in due course to confirm that a place has been allocated to you. If you no longer require a place, please email as soon as possible so your name can be removed from the registration list.  

If you are allocated a place but can no longer attend, please email so that your place can be reallocated. CHASE training is free to attend and events are often oversubscribed with a waiting list. Failure to notify us of non-attendance in good time (ideally 5 days prior to the workshop/programme) means your place cannot be reallocated and may result in your access to future CHASE training being restricted.

The training is open to:


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