CitiesMethodologies/Bucharest

About the project

The concept for CitiesMethodologies|Bucharest is taken from the first edition of CitiesMethodologies, organised and curated by Ger Duijzings and John Aiken in London in May 2009 (in the Research Centre of the UCL Slade School of Fine Art). The event comprised of an exhibition, a series of workshops and talks exploring innovative methodologies in urban research, with input from a variety of disciplines, but with a special emphasis on the arts and humanities. The starting point was the idea that the arts and humanities can bring an understanding of the subjective experience of living in cities, by zooming in on the people that inhabit these urban spaces, offering an intimate and close-up view of people’s problems, experiences and perceptions. The aim was to creatively juxtapose the methods of the various disciplines to uncover these subjective realities, from oral history, literature, photography, film-making, to public art and street art, architecture and urban planning. Due to the project’s success, University College London decided to make it an annual event, and the second edition of Cities Methodologies took place in the Urban Laboratory, 5-7 may 2010. An extension of the project, from which CitiesMethodologies|Bucharest is part, opens a framework for urban exploration in Central and Eastern Europe. 

This is what we would like to repeat in Bucharest in 2010 with a local and regional focus, looking at the trajectories of Central and East European cities such as Bucharest, and also with a more clearly defined thematic focus, i.e. the (socialist and post-socialist) built environment and its impact on urban mobility and movement. As the London edition had a strong East European component (with projects covering Belgrade, Berlin, Bucharest, Budapest, Warsaw, and Zagreb), exhibits presented in London will be transfered to Bucharest to be showcased as part of CitiesMethodologies|Bucharest.

The aim is to show concrete examples of new and innovative approaches which are pushing the boundaries of urban research, and which may be based in the arts, sociology, anthropology, urban planning, architecture, etc. Instead of looking at ‘end products’ of how cities are represented, the objective is to look at how urban researchers and ‘explorers’ (artists, academics, practicioners, and others) make their hands dirty in terms of the practical choices (and mistakes) they make in the process of data gathering, and the way their practices intervene in the everyday life of cities. Some of these practices may be intentional interventions to provoke public response, others may be attempts to map a particular place, or critically approach urban policies or programmes, or theoretically reflect on the concepts used to understand urban realities in the confrontation between disciplinary perspectives, etc.  We believe that new forums are needed for the critique and cross-fertilization of different methodologies in urban research across the range of relevant disciplines. Given the complex and systemic problems faced by contemporary cities in Romania and beyond, innovative and flexible multi- and interdisiciplinary research methodologies and formats are urgently required.

CitiesMethodologies|Bucharest will provide a platform to the exchange of innovative research methodologies by mimicking a specifically urban form: The Street. A walk-through exhibition, adopting the form of a ‘street’, animated by a programme of talks, readings, workshops, dialogues,  interviews, seminars, screenings and performances, in which exhibitors will guide visitors through their methods. The street, as a complex urban situation – a set form which provides the setting for unpredictable encounters – is an appropriate format for this event, embracing the eclectic mix of methods, subjects and cities, while it avoids presenting a rigid thematic framework which might over-determine the reception of the work.

Over three days, visitors will not only have an opportunity to see and study the exhibits, but also talk to artists, sociologists and anthropologists, architects and urban planners. Apart from showcasing their work, participants will be available to talk to visitors, answer questions, run workshops and give performances.

Prior to the event, young professionals as well as MA and PhD students will be invited to participate in a preparatory workshop. Together with relevant academic partners (New Europe College, National University of Art,  „Ion Mincu” University of Architecture and Urban Planning, Bucharest University – Faculty of Sociology and Faculty of Literature, National School for Political and Administrative Sciences, etc), we will issue a call for applications, to identify and select candidates who are willing to engage in a dynamic practical exercise with students and practitioners from other disciplinary fields. The task is to identify a controversial urban development project or a complex space in Bucharest and to put to work various urban research tools and practices. The objective is to juxtapose various disciplinary perspectives and explore ways of working together in a mixed team, in which at least three disciplines are represented. Over the summer and autumn, there will be small conferences and team meetings, and the participants in the workshop programme will be asked to prepare exhibits and presentations for the autumn event.

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Organizers

Universitatea Nationala de Arte Bucuresti, Asociatia Galeria Noua, ATU - Asociatia pentru Tranzitie Urbana

Project team

Aurora Kiraly (Galeria Noua), Ger Duijzings (University College London), Vera Marin (Asociatia pentru Tranzitie Urbana), Simona Dumitriu (Universitatea Nationala de Arte Bucuresti)

Supported by:

Administratia Fondului Cultural National, University College London, Colegiul Noua Europa, Universitatea de Arhitectura si Urbanism „Ion Mincu”, Goethe-Institut Bucuresti, Institutul Polonez

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The content of this blog is protected by copyright laws and cannot be used without previously obtained permission. Citations are allowed, but the author and the source must be mentioned.

Deadline call CMW – Workshop: 4.10.2010 – CALL CLOSED

Deadline call CM publication: 11.10.2010 – CALL CLOSED

Contact: citiesmethodologies@yahoo.com

Project financed by AFCN (Administratia Fondului Cultural National) Romania

Project Partner: Universitatea Nationala de Arte Bucuresti

Project Partner: ATU - Asociatia pentru Tranzitia Urbana

Supported by New Europe College Bucharest

Supported by UCL - University College London

Supported by the Kingdom of the Netherlands Embassy

Supported by the Urban Laboratory - UCL (University College London)

Supported by the Polish Institute Bucharest

Supported by Goethe-Institut Bucharest

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