CONF: Art and the City: Urban Space, Art and Social Change (Aarhus – Denmark, 28-30 Apr 2021)

Art and the City: Urban Space, Art and Social Change conference series bring together a team of international scholars with an interest in art and ‘right to the city’, aesthetics and politics of the urban environment, artistic rebellion on the streets, aesthetics of urban social movements and art activism in the urban space. 

Aarhus Institute of Advanced Studies, Aarhus University
On-site and online
Free registration –

The central goal of this “traveling conference” series–each year in a different city in Europe –is to engage in a multifaceted, multi-disciplinary, and multi-geographic perspective to articulate and promote a richer and a more integrated understanding of the ideologies, relationships, meanings, and practices that arise from the diverse interactions among the three social spheres: urban space, art, and social change. 


All times are CET

28 APRIL 2021

09H30 Opening Speech
Tijen Tunali, Aarhus Institute of Advanced Studies-AIAS Marie Sklodowska Curie COFUND Research Fellow, Founder and Organizer of the Conference.
“Can Art Activism in the Urban Public Space Flourish under Authoritarian Capitalism?

10H00 Keynote Speech
Konstantinos Avramidis, Architecture and Landscapes, University of Cyprus.
“From the Walls of Athens to the Pages of an Atlas: Thoughts on a Design Method of Transcribing Inscriptions.”

Coffee Break 10H50-11H00

Session 1: Street Art Resistance against Authoritarianism in the Middle East
Chair: Isabel Carrasco Castro, Aesthetics, Boston University Madrid

11H00 Awatef Ketiti, Communication Studies, Universitat de València, “Street Art as a Transforming Agent of Public Space in the Arab World: Case Study of Two Street Art groups in Tunisia.”

11H20 Rassa Gahfari, Sociology, the University of Milano-Bicocca, “Between Official Propaganda and Street Art: Counter-representation of the Female Figure on the Iranian wall.”

11H40 Narcis Sohrabi, Human Geography, Université Paris Ouest‐ Nanterre, “The Influence of Tehran Activism at the Public Domain: a Discourse Analysis of Graffiti.”12H00-12H30 General Discussion

Lunch Break 12H30-13H00

Session 2: Art, Protests and Activism of the Uprisings in Africa
Chair: Sara Borrillo, Middle East and North Africa Studies, University of Naples ‘L’Orientale.’

13H00 Dominique Laleq, History of Art, University of Basel, “Creative Space in Uprising Algeria.”

13H20 Adeolu Oluwaseyi Oyekan, Philosophy, Nelson Mandela University, South Africa,“#EndSars: Police Brutality, Artists and Resistance Mobilization in Nigeria.”

13H40 Ahmad Al Naci and Josepha Wessels, Peace and Conflict Studies, Malmö University, “Street Art and Graffiti of the Sudanese Revolution of 2019 as Medium for Social Change.”

14H00-14H30 General Discussion

Coffee Break 14H30-15H00

Session 3: The Arts and Aesthetics of Youth Activism in the Urban Social Movements
Chair: Amal Eqeiq, Comparative Literature and Arabic Studies, Forum Transregionale Studien, Berlin

15H00 Maurice Rafael Magaña, Mexican American Studies, University of Arizona, “Social Movements and Rebel Aesthetics: Street Art, Youth activism, and Urban Space in Mexico.”

15H20 Kyle Benedict Craig, Anthropology, Northwestern University, “Graffiti and Street Art in Amman, Jordan: Youth Politics Beyond “Resistance Art.”

15H40 Roberta Garieri, Art History, University Rennes 2, “Continuous Past: Voices, Bodies and Politics in Chilean Feminist Protests (1983-2020).”

16H00-16H30 General Discussion

29 APRIL 2021

09H30 Meeting and Networking

10H00 Keynote Speech

Vittorio Parisi, Director of Studies and Research, Villa Arson School of Visual Arts, Nice.
“The Infested City: The Aesthetic and Political Dimension of Urban Interstices.”

Coffee Break 10H50-11H00

Session 4: Post-politics of Urban Capitalism and Artistic Critique
Chair: Tijen Tunali, Art History and Visual Sociology, Aarhus University.

11H00 Elisha Maseman, Art History, The University of Auckland, “The City as a Medium: Art Intervention, Ideology, and the ‘Normative Use’ of Urban space.”

11H20 Cristina Moraru, Aesthetics, National University of Arts George Enescu, “The Post-Political Urbanity: Art and Protest in Public Sphere.”

11H40 Umut Ungan, School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences Paris (EHESS),“Art and Urban Capitalism: Gordon Matta Clark’s punkspace.”

12H00-12H30 General Discussion

Lunch Break 12H30-13H00

Session 5: Artistic Counter-Strategies Against the Neoliberal Urban Development
Chair: Nick Gamso, Art History, San Francisco Art Institute

13H00 Birgit Eriksson and Anne Mette W. Nielsen, Aesthetics and Culture, Aarhus University, “Changing the ’Ghetto’ – Art in Danish Social Housing Areas.”

13H20 Renée Tribble, Urban Planning, University of Kassel, “Urban Art as a Trigger – Art Changing Urban Agendas of Urban Development.”

13H40 Eda Gecikmez, Fine Arts, Hacettepe University and Yasemin Bahcekapili Urbanism, Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University, “Art and Resistance: Interactions Between Artists and Anti-Gentrification Movements in Istanbul.”

14H00-14H30 General Discussion

Coffee Break 14H30-15H00

Session 6: Urban Communities and Social Art Activism
Chair: Alla Myzalev, Art History, the State University of New York at Geneseo

15H00 Vanessa Badagliacca, Art History, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, “Seeding and Texturing Collective Spaces in Alexandra do Carmo’s Artistic Practice.”

15H20 Mia Uribe Kozlovski, Art History, Tulane University, “Las Imaginistas’ Radical Praxis: Participatory Urbanism in Brownsville.”

15H40 Nick Gamso, Art History, San Francisco Art Institute, “The People’s Library and other Protracted Art Interventions.”

16H00-16H30 General Discussion

30 APRIL 202109H30 Meeting and Networking

10H00 Artist Presentation
Revue Art Collective (Sreejata Roy& Mrityunjay Chatterjee), Delhi.
“The Art of Uneventful Everyday.”

Coffee Break 10H50-11H00

Session 7: Public Statues and Decolonization
Chair: Caterina Preda, Political Science, University of Bucharest

11H00 Rhea Maria and Miriam Oesterreich, Aesthetics, Technical University of Darmstadt, “Decolonizing Monuments: Aesthetics of Social Resistance and the Post/Colonial Urban Space.”

11H20 Eva Branscome, Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London, UK, “Colston’s Travels, or Should We Talk About Statues”

11H40 Anna Dempsey, Art History, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, “What Absence Makes Visible: The Removal of Confederate Statues as an Opportunity for Transforming the Public Square.”

12H00-12H30 General Discussion

Lunch Break 12H30-13H00

Session 8: Aesthetics and Politics of the Public Space
Chair: Maciej Kowalewski, Sociology, University of Szczecin

13H00 Fiona Siegenthaler, Cultural Anthropology, University of Johannesburg, “Socially Engaged Art in Kampala: Public Space, Social Engagement and the Limits of Western Theories on Aesthetic Practice.”

13H20 Friederike Landau, Cultural Geography, Radboud Universiteit, “Managing (In) Visibility – Tracing the (Post) Politics of Public Art in Vancouver.”

13H40 Lina Michelkevice, Institute of Art Research, Vilnius Academy of Arts, “Clashes Over Soviet Relics in Vilnius: Cultural Activism as a Way to Establish Public Space.”

14H00-14H30 General Discussion

Coffee Break 14H30-15H00

Session 9: Street Art as Dialogical Subculture
Chair: Friederike Landau, Cultural Geography,Radboud University

15H00 Omar El Masri, Criminology, University of Gloucestershire, “Re-imagining Spaces for Representation in the Divided City: The Cases of Urban Street Art in ‘Post’ Conflict Beirut and Belfast.”

15H20 Sanchita Khurana, English, University of Delhi, “Street Art and Citizenship in Delhi.”

15h40 Paul Lorah, Todd Lawrence, and Heather Shirey, Art History, University of St Thomas, “Mapping Resistance: The Geo-Spatial Dimensions of the George Floyd Uprising in the Twin Cities.”

16H00-16H30 General Discussion

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