Various dates October 2018 - July 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:
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.
Researching global cinema and urban life. 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.
Urban space, mobile media and field research (provisional title). Clancy Wilmott, University of Manchester (with Scott Rodgers. Birkbeck). 28 March, University Square Stratford.
Mapping urban media infrastructures (provisional title). Shannon Mattern, The New School (with Scott Rodgers. Birkbeck). 30 May 2019, venue TBC.
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.