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The Lund Urban Creativity Conference 2019 is an opportunity to initiate an interdisciplinary exchange of ideas between scholars, artists, activists, planners and others who work within the diverse field of urban creativity. The conference takes place on May 15-18 ,2019 and is hosted by the Pufendorf Institute for Advanced Studies in collaboration with the Division of Art History and Visual Studies at Lund University

Urban Creativity conference 2019
Stencil painting by Béatrice Bloomfield

The deadline for submitting proposals to the Lund Urban Creativity Conference 2019 has passed.

We are now assessing the many interesting submissions. We expect to open registration and present a preliminary conference programme in February.


Urban creativity is an umbrella term for a range of activities within, or in direct relation to, the city. These activities take place in different urban environments around the globes and strive to, or are perceived to strive to, intervene in how the spatial, temporal, political and material aspects of urban life are communicated, interpreted and acted upon. An important characteristic of situated urban creative practices is that they push legal, moral and cultural boundaries by intervening and exploring alternative ways of using, producing, experiencing and understanding the city.

In thinking about urban creativity, we invite participants to consider a range of issues including, but not limited to:

  1. The publicness of urban public space. An increasing part of what we perceive as urban public space is in fact publicly accessible, but privately owned. This development is potentially problematic as private ownership can put severe limitations on for example the right to free assembly. How can urban creativity highlight the status of urban spaces as governed through either public or private ownership, as vehicles for achieving oppressive or emancipatory ends? How can urban creativity frame the democratic problems entailed by the increased curation and private ownership of seemingly common spaces around the globe?

  2. The involvement of public entities in urban creativity initiatives.Over the past decade, municipalities and other public entities have shown rising interest in different types of urban creativity. This is exemplified in the construction of skate parks and the proliferation of so-called street art festivals. How/why do municipalities and other public entities support urban creativity? What kind of relations between public and private actors are facilitated through such support? What happens to the critical potential of urban creativity when it is embraced by municipalities, museums and other public cultural and societal institutions (e.g. as public art and/or cultural heritage)?

  3. Urban creativity as a vehicle for and reaction against urban regeneration and gentrification.Urban creativity on a grass-roots level can help further urban regeneration as people take responsibility for their local environment. On the flipside, urban creativity in its more institutionalised guises commonly serves as a vehicle for gentrification.Should - and if so, how may - commercial interests be mitigated so urban creativity can be used as a means for increased inclusion and engagement rather than gentrification and displacement along e.g. racialised and economic lines of demarcation? What creative forms of protest against urban transformations and gentrification can be identified?

  4. The relationship between urban creativity, technology, and social media.Expressions of urban creativity are increasingly experienced through social media and other forms of online communication. How does the online context function as an emerging public space that complements physical urban public space? What are the implications for the impact of urban creativity when experienced as part of a constant visual flow on a screen rather than in physical space? How do practitioners and recipients utilise digital technology to experience and engage creatively with the urban environment? How do these contemporary technologies of visualization relate to older formats like VHS videos of skateboarding and xeroxed fanzines of various urban subcultures?

  5. The relationship between urban creativity and crisis. With urban development asa driving force of capital accumulation,conceptions of crisis are linked to understandings of urban conditions. As more than half of the world´s population live in cities, urbanization stands out as an important field of study - a laboratory - for understanding contemporary global social, economic, and environmental change. What kind of creative expressions (e.g. film, street art, happenings) address these challenges and how can we better understand the dynamics of these expressions?

Different submission formats
The conference welcomes traditional papers/presentations as well as formats that transgress or transform the traditional framework of an academic paper presentation. Participants are thus encouraged to actively combine academic reflection and commentary with alternative ways of finding, presenting and representing findings and ideas (e.g. presenting – or creating/conducting – an installation a performance, or other artistic or cultural practices).

Guidelines for different submission formats:

  1. Proposals for full panels with presentations

    A full panel includes two or three 10-minute presentations on a common topic. Each panel will be allotted 1 hour. A full panel proposal entails a convenor submitting a description of the panel(max. 200 words)+2-3 individual paper abstracts(max. 200 words each). It would be preferable if the proposal also names a panel chair.

  2.  Proposals for individual panel presentations

    Are you looking for your crowd and are not part of a full panel proposal? No worries! Individuals who are not part of a full panel proposal may submit a 200-word abstract for an individual panel presentation. The conference organisers will accommodate these in panels and assign chairs.
  3. Writers´ workshop: a written papers stream
    Are you working on a paper, book chapter, essay or funding application and are in need of feedback? We welcome participants to submit an abstract for a written paper(max. 200 words). Authors of accepted abstracts will later be asked to submit full papers(max. 8000 words) in advance of the conference. The full texts will be available only to other workshop participants and designated senior scholars acting as discussants within this stream. Each paper will have an assigned participant reader, as well as a senior scholar reader, and will be discussed together with other written papers as part of the writers´ workshop. We encourage early-career scholars to take the opportunity to have their papers read and discussed. All participants in this stream will be asked to present someone else´s paper: you will thus not present your own paper. As part of the writers´ workshop, participants will be provided with a template to structure and present their reading of, and feedback on, others´ work.
  4. Proposals for performances and other creative interventions

    Do you want to show your creative works (e.g. photos, paintings, a film), or do another kind of intervention in relation to urban creativity? We have venues available during the conference to accommodate different creative interventions, including indoor gallery spaces and facilities, as well as open graffiti walls, a garden, and skate parks. If that sounds right up your alley, then please email us at: urban_creativity [at] pi [dot] lu [dot] se with a description of your idea. The stream for creative interventions will run throughout the conference.

Please submit your proposal or abstract by 16 January 2019

Lunds universitet

Box 117, 221 00 LUND

Besöksadress: Biskopsgatan 3