UPDATE. Artscapes: Urban Art and the Public – An Interdisciplinary Conference on Art and Urban Spaces

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Arstcapes Group - University of Kent
contact email: 

University of Kent, 27-28 June 2013

Call for Papers
Urban spaces are important loci of social contact, their physical and symbolic properties having a profound effect on everyday interactions. These sites are frequently subject to art interventions enacted for a range of aesthetic, social, political and economic purposes. Yet, while urban art can have transformative effects on the cityscape and in the development of urban cultures, the relationships between art and the public sphere represents a contested ground. Art, in such contexts, can be viewed variously as engendering civic participation and challenging the normative uses of public spaces, or as complicit with neoliberal development agendas and cosmopolitan elitism. Such practices, then, can be understood to intersect with a range of issues including those of urban aesthetics, the role of art institutions, public participation, user perception and experience of public places, the conceptualisation of material, virtual or imagined cityscapes, the regulation of urban space, and urban policy and politics.

This interdisciplinary conference seeks to critically examine the relationship between art and urban places, questioning in what ways urban art can engage with, create and change public spaces. How is urban art used in the formation of individual, city, regional and national identities? How might such interventions alter or foster new forms of interaction with and within communities? What are the possibilities presented by urban art for new modes of aesthetic and cultural behaviours?

Invited Speakers
• Maurizio Cinquegrani (University of Kent)
• Carl Lavery (Aberystwyth University)
• Jonathan Vickery (University of Warwick)

We welcome papers from all academic disciplines, including architecture, art, cultural studies, geography, history, politics, sociology and urban planning, and also from practitioners, community organisations and policy makers. We particularly welcome submissions from postgraduate and early-career researchers.

Examples of subjects invited for submission include, but are not limited to:
• architecture and art
• art and urban policy
• city culture and urban transformation
• community interaction and architecture
• digital re-enaction of physical interventions
• film and the city
• forms of urban art
• negotiating public spaces
• politics of urban art
• street art and political engagement
• the street and its aesthetics
• urban performance and social protest
• urban photography

Submission process
If you wish to participate please submit a paper abstract (no more than 500 words, attached as PDF or Word document) and a short biography to artscapesgroup@gmail.com by 31 March 2013. The subject of the email should contain the words ‘Artscapes submission’. The time slot for presentations is 20 minutes with a 15 minute session for questions at the end of each panel.

The body of the email should include author name, affiliation, abstract title, and preferred email contact address.

Deadline for submissions: 31 March 2013.
Notification of acceptance/non-acceptance: 8 April 2013.

Postgraduate students: free attendance
Other researchers: £5.00

Registration will be required prior to the conference. Registration opens on the 1st of June 2013. Details on how to register will follow in due course.

Artscapes Group

Manila Castoro, School of Arts, University of Kent
Carolina Vasilikou, School of Architecture, University of Kent
Jonathan Ward, SSPSSR, University of Kent

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