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Brown Bag Seminars. Autumn 2013

Program Autumn 2013

August 21: Short-term academic travel and career advancement – the case of Ghent University, Belgium

Speaker: PhD student Tom Storme, Department of Geography, Ghent University, Belgium, tom.storme@ugent.be

Abstract: Regular short-term work-related travel has increasingly become a reality for a growing number of workers. This appears to be especially the case in globally operating, knowledge-intensive sectors. Consequently, young and ambitious knowledge workers are increasingly expected and inclined to ensure a certain individual “capacity to move”, which implies job engagement and flexibility and can simultaneously disrupt family plans and ties. This presentation will focus on the importance of short-term travel in relation to career advancement in academia. Drawing on a dataset of travel applications of academics at Ghent University (Belgium), it will moreover feed the debate about (gender) inequality and mobility.
Place and time: August 21, 12:00-13:00, Pejsestuen, Gammel Torv 6

September 30: Mobilities Design – towards a new ‘material turn’

Speaker: Professor, Ole B. Jensen (obje@create.aau.dk), Department of Architecture, Design and Media Technology, AAU

Abstract: The last decade of research into everyday life mobility has let me to articulate a research focus on the ‘mobile situations’ and how these are ‘staged’ in complex processes of infrastructural system-logics as well as in myriads of individual and incremental decisions (see ‘Staging mobilities’, Routledge, 2013 and the forthcoming book ‘Designing Mobilities’). This is a research that asks the pragmatic question: What makes a given mobile situation possible? From the point of view of what I call ‘critical mobilties thinking’ I propose that mobilities research needs both to be ‘critical’ in relation to identifying ‘problems’ as well as ‘potentials’. Most social research on mobilities is good at the former, but less developed in relation to the latter. Therefore I have engaged with urban design, architecture and other design disciplines to explore their ‘potential seeking’ capabilities. Based on this the ‘staging mobilities’ opens up to a more design-oriented and material perspective on mobilities. Therefore I claim in this talk that we need a new ‘material turn’ in mobility research. It is a turn that orients itself towards design, space, and ‘materialities of mobilities’ much more than earlier research have done. In order to do so I propose the articulation of the new emerging research field of ‘mobilities design’ as an attempt to meet some of these challenges facing future mobility.

Place and time: September 30, 12:00-13:00, Pejsestuen, Gammel Torv 6

October 24: Gesturing mobilities - the design of loose spaces

Speaker: PhD. student Ditte Bendix Lanng, Department of Architecture, Design and Media Technology, dbla@create.aau.dk

Abstract: Transit spaces gesture our everyday life mobilities: an ordinary pedestrian tunnel might encourage us to rush through it, or it might invite us to linger there in conversation. This seminar will address how we can think of the ways in which transit space design suggests certain moments of mundane practices and experiences. Drawing on empirical studies the outset is that even a mundane tunnel space cannot be grasped as only a stable artefact with one or more specific uses inscribed within it. Rather it comes alive as a relational and heterogeneous actor - a loose space, when it is bodily and multi-sensorially activated.

Place and time: October 24, 12:00-13:00, Place TBA

November 20: Three Performativities of Innovation in Public Transport Planning

Speaker: Associate Professor, Enza Lissandrello Department of Development and Planning AAU, enza@plan.aau.dk

Abstract: Since American pragmatism, communicative, argumentative and interpretive turns we learned that planning is performed through stories, discourses and dramaturgical actions and individual professional planners’ performances. We learned about individual planner stories as process managers, story-tellers and planner-authors and the many shadows in which the planner’s work is positioned. However in the last two decades much more attention has been reserved to such plurality of stories, actors and governance dynamics which intervene and construct planning practice. In this presentation, the author returns to an analytic centred on the individual planning practicioner. Inspired by Judith Butler work, and utilizing a method based on ‘conversational interviews’ as by John Forrester self-portraits of planners, this research argues that planning is performative. The author explores with three diverse professional public planners’ their own performativities of ‘innovation’ in public transportation planning in three Nordic countries (Denmark, Norway and Sweden). The research analyses the set of repeated acts, which these individual professional planners perform, within their own three planning processes. Through these voiced reflections, this presentation concludes that, understanding planning as performative, can offer useful insights in the continuous search for doing, learning, engaging and educating future professional planners.

Place and time: November 20, 12:00-13:00, Room: Skb2 A1-9, Building: Skibbrogade 3

December 10: Immobility – the bankruptcy of The Motor City

Speaker: Associate Professor, Shelley Smith (ssmi@create.aau.dk), Department of Architecture, Design and Media Technology, AAU

Abstract: From once being a symbol of upward mobility and manufacturing movement, Detroit has become the example par excellence of urban decay -and its momentum has now ground to a final and resounding halt. In July 2013 the City of Detroit filed for bankruptcy. The downfall of Detroit has been long underway, but the extent of the city’s decline and the depth of its fall were not to be foreseen. This talk will take a look at how a focus on the car industry brought wealth that was mentally and physically manifested in the city – often translating to a cultural plus - and how the downward spiral has impacted the physical, cultural and everyday frameworks of the city. This talk will explore several themes and examine specific Detroit narratives within these themes as an essayistic collection. This is a work in progress. The Infrastructure of a Bankrupt City contains the following themes; the flow of decay - the city seen in motion as a matter of safety, urban infrastructures as the background for rural inclusions – urban farming as a means of survival, the reintroduction of clear borders – lines that define social divisions, urban decay and the everyday, are there grocery stores in Detroit? Urban decay and the decline of culture, Eminem was here – theater turned parking lot, cultural sellout - making ends meet

Place and time: December 10, 12:00-13:00, Pejsestuen, Gammel Torv 6

The seminars are open to everyone with interest in Mobilities and Urban studies. Looking forward to see you at the C-MUS Brown Bag Seminars!