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CONFERENCE: (EM)Powering Mobilities

Welcome to the webpage for the 2018 C-MUS conference '(EM)Powering Mobilities'.

The conference '(EM)Powering Mobilities' takes place at Aalborg University City Center campus in Aalborg, Denmark, on August 29-30 2018. The conference is supported by : 



(em)Powering Mobilities

The 10th Year Anniversary conference at the Center for Mobilities and Urban Studies (C-MUS) take on the pertinent themes of power, empowerment, and mobilities. Wherever we face mobilities we also face questions of power, stratification, social differentiation, social exclusion, and immobilities. Contemporary mobilities and their infrastructural landscapes filter, channel, and sort the movement of citizen groups according to various underpinning rationalities of inclusion and exclusion. Moreover, the infrastructural landscapes bring unforeseen effects, disrupted mobilities, and fragile and fragmented outcomes as well. At times such selection leans on technical skills, at other times on embodied capacities, and yet other connects to (economic) resources. Mobility capital in its various formats becomes a stratifying factor that enables and prevents particular social practices. Moreover, the formation of mobile subject categories and subject positions within the networked mobilities assemblages increasingly becomes contested spaces of political articulation and counter practices. Mobilities may be thought as a contested resource and privilege, a productive force of social change, and a field of power struggles. However, the empowering potentials of enhanced mobilities may also work in progressive ways to increase human flourishing, cultural interaction, and co-creation. The ‘(em)Powering Mobilities’ C-MUS conference sheds new light on these classic themes by in particular addressing how questions of justice and injustice connects to mobilities in cities and its architectures. The governance, planning and design of cities is a co-organizer of how people, goods, and information move. Infrastructural systems, spaces, and structures afford e.g. speed, access, interaction, culture, sociality, and public life. However, they are also contested spaces, in, e.g., the limitation they put to practices, privileging some uses, users, mobilities and cultures over others. The architecture of infrastructure may sometimes even be a stratifying factor in and of itself. To address these issues the conference invites contributions from across a wide array of disciplines such as architecture, geography, sociology, urban design, urban and traffic planning, political science, anthropology, interaction design, digital media to mention just a few. The common denominator will be how the so-called ‘Mobilities turn’ may aid new understandings and analysis of the mobility-power nexus in contemporary and future cities. The conference will offer three international keynote speeches, six parallel session themes, and stimulating ‘interfaces’ of art, design, and experimentation.

Session theme descriptions

1.    Theories & METHODS

In this session papers are encouraged that entertain the theoretical and conceptual explorations of the general theme of mobilities and power. Entries dealing with the cross-disciplinary nature of these challenges are in particular encouraged. The session seeks contributions that engage the ontological and epistemological challenges related to connecting power, mobilities and empowerment. The session welcomes contributions reflecting on methodological approaches to the study of mobilities and power also related to ‘non-representational’ or ‘more-than-representational’ types of research. The session furthermore invites contributions to the establishment of a ‘vocabulary’ of mobilities and power research that reflects the normative and ethic underpinnings of research.


This session seeks contributions addressing attempts to plan, design, and orchestrate mobilities at an aggregated and strategic level. Institutional and organizational analysis of the attempts to govern mobilities and the power effects of such attempts are welcome. So are empirical contributions putting focus on the power of policy discourses. Contributions exploring procedures and protocols for decision-making and public deliberation are invited. The session turns towards regulatory frameworks, organizations, and institutions shaping the conditions of mobilities. Contributions that explore the issues of political debate and deliberation and stakeholder involvements are welcome, as are investigations into the processes of decision-making shaping conditions for mobilties across all scales. The session also invites contributions with a domain-specific focus of politics and regulation such as environmental policies and regulations, migrations policies, disability regulations.


 This session seeks contributions exploring the systems, landscapes, infrastructures, networks, and assemblages of mobilities from the point of view of power/empowerment. The layered infrastructural landscapes of mobilities are the actual sites and spaces and in this session, entries that foreground the complexity of these circuits and systems are invited. Architectural and design discussions of how empowerment and power are inscribed materially into infrastructural landscapes are most welcome in this session. The session frames a discussion about the infrastructures and landscapes as both horizontally wide and vertically layered. Contributions exploring the layered ecologies of circuits that facilitate both human and non-human mobilities are most welcome.


In this session we in particular invite contributions 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 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 analyses of the minute social interactions and norms of ‘proper’ mobilities behavior that millions of humans produce and re-produce in the everyday life across cities and rural areas.


The session on design, art and, architecture turns to these areas both as field of practices that shapes the practices of mobilities that connects to power and empowerment, as well as it put focus on the particular ways of working and thinking within these areas often considered extra-academic. The session welcomes case studies of how designers, artists, and architects work and practice their skills and crafts with repercussions to mobilities and power. Equally the session welcomes entries reflecting upon ‘designerly ways of thinking’ and ‘speculative design’ approaches. 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.  


 This session invites contributions with a dedicated focus on empowerment, co-creation and various forms of citizen involvement. 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.

Besides these six themed ‘ordinary’ session the conference organizes two different activity types in order to explore more creative and non-academic dimensions. One is the ‘Interfaces’ and the other the ‘Professional’s Pecha Kucha’.


Next to the academic sessions, the conference introduces of the possibility of contributing to the ‘Interfaces’, inventive, experiential, and experimental punctuations of the rest of the conference interaction format. The Interfaces will consist of events that offer different, stimulating, and alternative perspectives on the conference theme. Amongst the potential interfaces are art presentations, architectural projects, exhibitions, interactive technologies, design interventions, performances, etc.


In order to involve and create dialogue to the non-academic world, we organize a ‘professional’s short presentation’ session inspired by the ‘Pecha Kucha’ presentation format. In this short format we aim for ‘stories from practice’ which lies within a 5-10 minutes time-span. The PSP session invite professionals within urban planning, traffic planning, architecture, urban design, and other relevant professions to connect to the theme of ‘(em)Powering Mobilities Cities/Architectures/Justices’ with real life stories and experiences from their professional practice.


(em)Powering Mobilities

C-MUS conference 2018
Time: August 29th-30th 
Venue: Aalborg University, Aalborg, Denmark 

Early registration deadline 01st of June

Key note speakers

Prof. Keller Easterling, Yale University, US

Prof. Steve Graham, Newcastle University, UK

Prof. Paul McIlvenny, Aalborg University, DK

Download keynote abstracts here