A short review of the Midterm Conference in Krakow, 2016

Moving Cities, Moving Europe: a review of the Research Network 37, Urban Sociology, European Sociological Association, 2016 Midterm Conference in Krakow

auditoriumDuring three and a half days, the city of Krakow and the Institute of Sociology of the Jagiellonian University, hosted a group of 172 urban researchers, gathered to share and debate recent and ongoing investigations. Their presentations composed a very eclectic and interesting scientific program – organised by the ESA Research Network 37 team – invocating, describing, analysing and questioning many cities in Europe and beyond.
We would like to share with you, our view – as participants and members of the organising team – of some of the highlights of this conference, focusing on the moments we all shared, rather than on the more contained parallel/thematic sessions, organised in five tracks and open sessions.
On the first morning, just after the opening session, Andrzej Bukowski, director of the Institute of Sociology, introduced the first keynote speaker: Ayo Mansaray. (University of East London). His words added warmth to the solemnity of the conference’s inaugural moment at the Auditorium Maximum. Ayo Mansaray then presented theoretical and empirical considerations inspired by his in-depth work in schools in gentrifying areas of London. His analysis showed that urban schools can be crucial arenas in the struggle for the right to the city.
The afternoon was filled with stimulating presentations and the first work day ended with the RN’s business meeting were we had well deserved canapés and refreshments and discussed strategic actions to strengthen the network. Many ideas and proposals came out of this discussion, like creating platforms to find research partners with similar interests or organising informative sessions to help urban researchers improve crucial skills. Finally, a committee to organise the next RN coordination election was appointed.
After the meeting, some of us walked to the nº 28 of Paulinska Street, had a drink at the inviting bar of the cultural coop “Spółdzielnia OGNIWO” and then watched the documentary “Warsaw Frankenstein” in their projection room. It was a relaxing and a rich moment to watch this documentary film directed by Christiane Büchner, focused on the work of the German artist Boris Sieverts through the city of Warsaw.
The next morning, we welcomed Talja Blokland (Humboldt University of Berlin) in the beautiful main aula at the Institute of History. In her talk, she reaffirmed the importance of the concept of community for social sciences, because “people place high value on what they call communities”. Rejecting the idea that anonymity and community are in opposition and reaffirming the relevance of the notion of public familiarity, she boldly stated: “Simmel was wrong”. This discussion must be continued in our further research and activities!
In the afternoon, after another round of thematic sessions, we returned to the Auditorium Maximum to hear Saskia Sassen (Columbia University in the City of New York) speak about, among other things, her pre-method stance of working within “the fuzzy edges of the paradigmatic knowledge”. The Auditorium Maximum was full of conference participants, but also of other colleagues that joined us to hear Sassen’s speech proudly wearing a Migrating Kitchen T-shirt (http://migrating-kitchen.com; you can find her presentation slides in our blog: http://esarn37.hypotheses.org/642).
This second day was demanding from a physical point of view, because it entailed some walking between venues, but it was also an excuse to explore the city. At the end of the day, we enjoyed a wonderful Garden Party hosted by the Institute of Sociology, where we had dinner while listening to the Concert of Christina Eshak and Wassim Ibrahim, Syrian musicians studying in Krakow. After the end of the concert, researchers started to spread around the city centre, some looking for a place to watch the Poland-Portugal football match.
In the last morning of the conference, again in the auditorium of the Institute of History, we had the keynote speech about Smart Cities by Jacek Gądecki (University of Science and Technology in Krakow). In his talk, he combined theoretical aspects with na empirical focus on how local authorities in Poland  have been adopting the smart-city idea. Despite some tiredness due to the frenetic two days of the conference, the participants fostered a dynamic debate before starting another set of thematic sessions.
Friday was more relaxed than the other days, with less parallel activities, and ended with a very productive closing session with four invited speakers among the most experienced participants in our conference: Laura Bovone (Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore – Milano, Italy), Carlos Fortuna (Universidade de Coimbra, Portugal), Krzysztof Frysztacki (Jagiellonian University, Poland) and Ray Hutchison (University of Wisconsin Green Bay, USA). From their comments on the conference, we highlight the suggestion to focus on the topic of austerity and the city in upcoming meetings and the idea that these scientific meetings can also be occasions to establish and re-establish ties with friends and colleagues. We are now working on the results of this wonderful meeting, built by all the engaged participants and we will try to reflect their suggestions in our further activities.
Thank you to the participants and to the local organising team that have developed a great work along with the RN 37, Urban Sociology, Coordination and Board team.
We hope to have an even more astonishing participation in the ESA 2017 conference, in Athens, Greece!

Patrícia Pereira (ESA RN37 board member; Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Portugal)
Lígia Ferro (ESA RN37 Coordinator; Universidade do Porto; ISCTE-IUL, Portugal)
Juan Jose Villalon (ESA RN37 board member; Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia, Spain)

Saskia Sassen’s presentation

Saskia Sassen, Columbia University in the City of New York

Title: Expulsions: Beyond Inequality
Thursday, 30.06.2016     14:00 to 15:30 h.
Jagiellonian University’s Auditorium Maximum on Krupnicza Street, 33

Licencia de Creative Commons
Expulsions: Beyond inequality by Sasskia Sassen is licensed under a Creative Commons Reconocimiento-NoComercial 4.0 Internacional License.

Wednesday Morning

… The first Keynote lecture

Ayo Mansaray, University of East London

Title: The right to the city and struggles for community
Wednesday, 29.06.2016   11:30 to 13:00
Jagiellonian University’s Auditorium Maximum on Krupnicza Street, 33

A few information before welcoming

Before welcoming…

We are now less than a day from the beginning of our conference. We would like to give you a few information before welcoming you to Kraków.

1. Registration opens tomorrow (29.06) morning at 9:00 in Institute of Sociology, Grodzka 52 Street, first floor. We encourage you to register before the first event of the conference (opening and first keynote lecture) to avoid queues later.

2. We are sending the conference programme once again. It is slightly different than the last one as we had to make a few late corrections. However, times and rooms of sessions and presentations in great majority of cases are the same. Limited number of printed copies of the programme will be available on request only, you are encouraged to use it on electronic devices.

3. Our rooms are equipped with PC computers (not Macs) and projectors. Please have a copy of your presentation ready on USB stick. Just in case, you should also have a PDF version of the presentation.

4. All presenters are asked to be in the room at least 5 minutes before the start of their sessions.

5. There are still places available in both Saturday workshop and Thursday morning jogging. Please register if you want to join.

We are looking forward to seeing you in Kraków.
All the best,

Social Programme

SOCIAL PROGRAMME

WEDNESDAY 29.06 (20:00)

Movie session “WARSAW FRANKENSTEIN” (Spółdzielnia OGNIWO, 28 Paulinska St) (96 min, English Subtitles, 2012) a documentary by Christiane Büchner.

We invite you to watch the film and enjoy the evening in the club Spółdzielnia OGNIWO (Cooperative ‘Ogniwo’) located in the Kazimierz quarter. We will meet at 19.30 (7.30 PM) at the main entrance of the Institute of Sociology, Grodzka 52 and have a group walk to the movie.

THURSDAY 30.06

 “Jogging Moving Cities” (7:30-8:15)

Do you like jogging? Bring your running gear to Krakow and get to know the city in a different way than tourists usually do. We propose a gentle jog around some of central Krakow’s most pleasant paths with other conference participants. Your guide and the group leader will be Ben Koschalka.

(more information on the first day of the conference).

 Garden Party & Concert: Trip to the East (18:00)

Institute of Sociology (in the yard), 52 Grodzka St

We have a pleasure to invite you to the Garden Party and the Concert of Christina Eshak and Wassim Ibrahim, Syrian musicians studying in Krakow. During the concert they will take us on a musical journey through Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt to finally reach the distant Andalusia, showing the richness of Arab sounds and the diversity of the Middle Eastern culture.

SATURDAY 2.07

9:30-12:30 – The workshop “Future on my Mind – Communication and Participation in the Local Community

(Institute of Sociology, 52 Grodzka St)

If you plan to stay in Krakow for the weekend, you can take part in the workshop “Future on my Mind – Communication and Participation in the Local Community” on Saturday, 2nd July (morning). The workshop call is available on the page http://goo.gl/forms/aRZvZFL9Ts (on-line registration – first-come, first-served rule applies). Please note that the number of places is only 15.

Saskia Sassen’s keynote speech

 

Saskia Sassen’s lecture will take place in Jagiellonian University’s Auditorium Maximum (Krupnicza 33, Kraków) on Thursday afternoon, 1400-15:30.

Auditorium

Expulsions: Beyond Inequality.

Saskia Sassen
Columbia University
www.saskiasassen.com

Thursday, 14:00-15:30 in

At some point in the evolution of extreme negative conditions, the familiar explanations fail. Today, the language of more inequality, more poverty, more imprisonment, more environmental destruction, and on, is insufficient to mark the proliferation of extremely acute versions of old and new conditions.

In Expulsions I examine a broad range of familiar processes that have reached this point. The focus is on systemic edges – not to be confused with the more familiar concept of interstate borders. Systemic edges can emerge deep inside a nation-state, an economy, a society, a city. I conceive of these systemic edges as the point in sometimes long trajectories, when condition x becomes invisible because it has been expelled from our statistical analyses, theoretical framings, societal understanding of a condition, etc. This invisibility can attach to very material conditions –dead land, 30 million people expelled from their homes via financial instruments….we can only vaguely imagine these conditions: in their full materiality they are invisible.

WARSAW FRANKENSTEIN
a documentary by Christiane Büchner

film

The film follows the German artist Boris Sieverts through the city of Warsaw. His art consists of guided city tours that are directed to the inhabitants of the cities. In his work Boris Sieverts 14 extrapolates characteristics of architecture to the scale of a whole city. What is a certain space meant to be and how is it used in reality? How do the inhabitants enrol in the city space? What kind of atmosphere prevails at a place? What does it contribute emotionally to the life in the city? What is changing? His gaze is an unprejudiced taking of an inventory. All the elements of a city are equally important for the social life in it.

But what is even more exciting is the artistry with which Boris understands to guide this point of view during his tours. As if he had arranged the whole city space for his own purposes instead of artfully creating ways through them: Here a narrow alleyway, and behind the large vastness.

Climbing above the fence instead of taking the road. Getting lost, confiding in something, enjoy. As a fellow traveller you feel like in an exciting movie. As a filmmaker I wanted to watch the artist during his work. A rare case where this is possible, since Boris Sieverts makes the process of thinking visible in space – right or left? – it is always a decision between routes. Boris, who never before did any research in a former socialist city and I, who had shot almost all my films about postsocialist topics. Warsaw was a surprise for both of us. The Palace of Culture and Science, the former ghetto, war and reconstruction. Yes. But also a selfconfident openness, traversing spaces, beauty and vitality.

We would contribute a screening of the film to reveal Boris Sieverts method. Additional he would held one of his googleearthlectures where he will give an in depth analysis of certain areas in Warsaw.
Links:
www.2pilots.de (Producer)
More films by Christiane Büchner under: www.buechnerfilm.de

Search Engine

You can search your name in the blog to find when you must speak during the conference. We have a new SEARCH ENGINE:

Sin título

You will go to your TRACK page. There, you will can find your name in a session.

Do you like jogging?

Do you like jogging? Bring your running gear to Krakow and get to know the city in a different way than tourists usually do. We propose a gentle jog around some of central Krakow’s most pleasant paths with other conference participants. Your guide and the group leader will be Ben Koschalka.

Date (suggested): Thursday, 30 June 2016   Time: 07:30 – 08:15 (more information in June).
This Sunday Ben will run his first marathon, raising money for Polish Humanitarian Action. We’re keeping our fingers crossed for him! You can sponsor him here.

 

 

 

About the location

The conference will be held at the Institute of Sociology of the Jagiellonian University located in the Old City Centre of Kraków. For more details on the venue and how to get there, please visit our blog!

You can find the most importan places in our MAP: Venues, transportation and accomodation places.

Booking until March, 8th

BOOKING until March, 8th

Krakow is a touristic city so you should plan your trip as soon as possible if you want to get accommodation for a reasonable price. A number of rooms in the hotels Nawojka and Żaczek are pre-booked for the conference participants but the reservation is available only until MARCH, 8TH. If you wish to book a room please use the on-line reservation service or e-mail (nawojka@hotelestudenckie.pl or zaczek@hotelestudenckie.pl) and add the “ESA RN37” in the name box (after the name) or in the title/in the text of the message. You can see the preliminary programme as well, so you can plan your trip. Hope to meet you in Krakow!

Krakow
PHOTO: Krakow, author: Kamila Zarembeska

PROGRAMME OVERVIEW

 

WENDESDAY, 29.06

THURSDAY, 30.06

FRIDAY, 01.07

9.30 – 11.00

 

Key note speech

Key note speech

11.00 – 11.30

Opening

Coffee break

Coffee break

11.30 – 13.00

Opening Key note speech

Sessions 3

Sessions 5

13.00 – 14.30

Lunch break

Lunch break

Lunch break

14.30 – 16.00

Sessions 1

Key note speech

Sessions 6

16.00 – 16.30

Coffee break

Coffee break 4

Coffee break

16.30 – 18.00

Sessions 2

Sessions 4

Sessions 7

 

Accommodation: remember

Availability of Accommodation:

The reservation must be made by the end of February 2016.

BOOKING:

If you wish to book a room please use the on-line reservation service or e-mail (nawojka@hotelestudenckie.pl or zaczek@hotelestudenckie.pl) and add the “ESA RN37” in the name box (after the name) or in the title/in the text of the message.

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