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Welcome to the webpage for the 2016 C-MUS conference ’Material Mobilities’

The conference ’Material Mobilities’ takes place at Aalborg University City Center campus in Aalborg, Denmark, on November 29th-30th 2016. The conference is followed by a one-day PhD course (download description here). The conference is supported by Kraks Foundation, the Center for Strategisk Byforskning (CSB), Aalborg Havn and VEJ-EU. 



Material Mobilities

During the last decade of research affiliated to the ‘new mobilities turn’ the societal repercussions of intensive mobilities has been in focus. The ‘turn’ has documented the social, environmental, economic, and cultural effects of the contemporary patterns of movement of people, vehicles, goods, data and information. In parallel with this work new ideas and concepts about the human/non-human and the ‘material dimension’ of the social world has surfaced within a wide array of fields such as philosophy, anthropology, and cultural studies. The ‘turn to the material’ opens up a new set of research questions related to how artefacts and technologies facilitating and affording mobilities are being designed, constructed, and instituted? The new material interest furthermore point at new ways of comprehending the political and the power-dimensions of mobilities and infrastructural landscapes. The turn to the material furthermore problematizes the Modern binary distinctions between humans and non-humans, subjects and objects, culture and nature. The 2016 C-MUS conference has this intellectual shift as its focus and asks how the new turn towards the material may effect insights within the mobilities turn research communities? The conference shed light on this emerging research agenda by reflecting the multidisciplinary nature of the hosting center and is an open invitation to mobilities scholars across the humanities, the social sciences and the technical sciences. Furthermore, we invite informed and reflective practitioners as for example civil servants and policy- and strategy-makers as well as we include the arts and the artistic communities from performance arts over architecture and design to media and technology.

Session theme descriptions

1.    Theories & Concepts

In this session papers are encouraged that entertain the theoretical and conceptual explorations of the general theme of mobilities and materialities. Entries dealing with the cross-disciplinary nature of these challenges are in particular encouraged. Also this session seeks contributions that engage the ontological and epistemological challenges related to connecting ‘new materialities’ research and conceptualization within the so-called ‘non-representational’ or ‘more-than-representational’ types research. The session on theories and concepts furthermore invites contributions to the establishment of a ‘vocabulary’ of material mobilities research that reflect the normative and esthetic underpinnings of research, as well as it welcomes contributions exploring the interaction between language-based as well as more visual and diagrammatic ways of building new insights and knowledge. 

2.    Methods & Approaches

The session invites general discussions of the nature of methods and approaches across different examples of material mobilities research. In particular entries focusing on use of multiple methodologies and approaches within concrete research projects are welcome. Discussion of adequate of research designs and approaches that connects to the questions raised around ‘non-representational’ and ‘more-than-representational’ research projects are likewise most welcome. The session seeks to provide a pragmatic discussion of relevant approaches to material mobilities research, and will therefore also welcome contributions to the on-going debate on the specific nature of ‘mobile methods’. Entries that will explore the nexus between more expressive and artistic approaches may contribute here, as well as we welcome discussions of combinations of quantitative and qualitative approaches and observational, phenomenological approaches coupled with digital and mediatized approaches. 

3.    Everyday life & The mundane

In this session we in particular invite contribution and work focusing on the routinized level of mundane everyday life practices (e.g. commuting, leisure trips, daily mobilties care, shopping trips etc.). The often ‘invisible’ frames shaping the massive material mobilities in all sorts of mobilities systems and modes are in particular discussed in this session. The normative and regulatory principles underpinning infrastructural systems are of interest here, as well as we welcome analysis of the minute social interactions and ‘rules’ of proper mobilities behavior that millions of humans produce and re-produce in the everyday life across cities and rural areas. 

4.    Politics & Planning

In this session attention is turned towards the regulatory frameworks, organizations, and institutions shaping the conditions for the materialities of mobilities. Contributions that explore the issues of political debate and deliberation, as well as stakeholder involvements are welcome as are investigations into the processes of decision-making that shapes the conditions for material mobilties across all scales (from neighborhoods over city regions to global mobilities systems). In particular the session welcomes contributions working on the edge of the organizational/institutional and the material/physical. Questions related to how ‘things’, ‘artifacts’, and ‘systems’ connect directly or indirectly to issues of policy-making and planning deliberations are thus invited. The session theme invites deliberate blurring of the distinction between the organizational and physical/spatial realm of politics and planning. The session also invites contributions with a domain-specific focus of politics and regulation such as environmental policies and regulations, migrations policies, disability regulations etc. 

5.    Design, Art & Architecture

The session on design, art and, architecture turns to these areas both as field of practices that shapes the materialities of mobilities, as well as it put focus on the particular ways of working and thinking within these areas often considered extra-academic. The session welcomes concrete case studies of how designers, artists, and architects work and practice their skills and crafts with repercussions to mobilities. Equally the session welcomes entries reflecting upon ‘designerly ways of thinking’ and ‘speculative design’ approaches. Next to empirical case studies the session is also interested in contributions of a more generalizing nature exploring the touch points between academic mobilities research and artistic and design-oriented practices. Contributions reflecting research ‘by and for’ design are most welcome. 

6.    Power, Resistances & Counter practices

This session is dedicated to explore the ‘dark sides’ of material mobilities in recognition of the massive injustice and examples of social exclusion that takes place in relation to mobilities (from economic and resource-based exclusion over mobilities differentials in relation to skills and cognitive competencies, towards critiques of ‘ableist’ exclusions of the physically impaired). The session both welcomes empirical case studies of mobilities struggles and injustices, as well a more theoretical and conceptual reflections of such issues. Research focusing on the resistance and counter practices are most welcome, and contributions working around notions of ‘empowerment’ and ‘co-creation’ exploring the massive labor exercised in countering unjust systems and practices will be much encouraged for this session. Also the session welcomes explorations of ‘agonist’ understandings of the counter practices challenging hegemonic mobilities systems and infrastructures.

Material Mobilities

C-MUS conference 2016
Time: November 29th-30th 
Venue: Aalborg University, Aalborg, Denmark 

Download full program here

Early registration deadline 28th of September

PhD Course

C-MUS PhD Course: Material Mobilities

Time: December 1 2016
Organizer: Professor, Ole B. Jensen, obje@create.aau.dk
ECTS: 3 ECTS (participant work load)
Number of seats: 15  

Deadline: One month before the course. For signup contact Ole B. Jensen, obje@create.aau.dk

For more info download description here

Key note speakers

Prof. Albena Yaneva, University of Manchester, UK

Prof. Monika Büscher, Lancaster University, UK

Prof. Ole B. Jensen, Aalborg University, DK

Download keynote abstracts here