It is Sunday morning in rainy Montreal and I am sitting on my bed looking back at a wonderful conference on “Differential Mobilities” organised by the Pan-American Mobilities Network and the Cosmobilities Network and hosted at Concordia University in Montreal.
This year we have been a large delegation from C-MUS who participated in the conference with Professor Ole B. Jensen, Associate Professor Shelly Smith and PhD fellows Simon Wind, Ditte Bendix Lanng, Mette Olesen and the subscriber Maria Vestergaard. We all gave a presentation at the conference with Ole B. Jensen as keynote presenter and the rest of us with panel presentations. Ole B. Jensen presented a chapter from his newly published book “Staging Mobilities” about staging differential mobilities and ended up with a little teaser about his coming work on mobilities design. Shelly Smith gave an interesting view into the world of parkour and used this as a lens through which to view the possibilities for experiencing urban space in movement. Simon Wind presented “The elastic household” as a framework through which to examine the mobile everyday life in families. Ditte Bendix Lanng gave a virtual round trip in a modernistic transit place in Aalborg Øst, Denmark, asking the question “Could this mundane transit places become the new interesting public spaces?” Mette Olesen presented how the (im)mobility of lightrail works as a powerful urban attracter redistributing urban space. And finally, I presented a framework for dividing the people living in rural outskirt areas in Denmark into mobile identities and investigated the differential mobilities among these. All of us received nice feedback and comments and was asked interesting questions.
The level of presentations have been extremely high and I have left the conference with much inspiration to go back to do my own work. Of interesting presentations I could mention Phillip Vannini’s presentation of “off the grid” living in the outskirts of Canada, Heather Maguire’s well written narrative about the life on board a cargo ship from China to Canada and especially Danielle Peers and Lindsay Eales performance where a serious problem, theory, performance and entertainment all came together as a whole.
Thank you to Kim Sawchuk, Ben Spencer and all the people helping them to organize such a lovely conference, and thank you to all the people attending for valuable feedback, interesting discussions and high spirits. And thank you to Montreal for being an inviting city with sunny weather most of the time.
/Maria Quvang Harck Vestergaard