Call for Papers, Panels and Presentations

Symposium – The Right to the City

Faculty of Architecture Design and Planning, University of Sydney, Saturday April 9th, 2011

The Right to The City is an exhibition and publishing project cosponsored by Tin Sheds Gallery and Architectural Theory Review. We invite the submission of abstracts proposing papers, panels and creative presentations for a  one-day symposium, investigating connections between art, architecture, planning and activism.

The Right to the City takes as its starting point David Harvey’s polemical article, of the same name, that redefined  urban existence as a contested part of modern democracy: ‘The freedom to make and remake our cities and ourselves is, I want to argue, one of the most precious yet most neglected of our human rights’. Given the perilous environmental predicament we find ourselves in, coupled with our intensifying urbanisation, many artists, activists, planners and architects are seeking ways to ‘remake’ the city in more socially connected and sustainable ways. Their activities are often concerned with negotiating the increasing fragmentation and complexity of the  contemporary city; developing critical spatial practices that engage in micro-political actions.

These activities are frequently undertaken in opposition to institutionalised, technocratic urbanisms and a range of ideas, practices and processes has emerged that focuses instead on pluralistic, decentralized, and cooperative social ecologies. As forms of art practice, architecture, planning or activism they are ‘minor’ urbanisms: concerned with the everyday, with temporal and interim uses; with contingent tactics that exploit voids, niches and loopholes in the
socio-spatial fabric of cities. As catalysts for change, the tactics of ‘minor’, ‘everyday’ or ‘DIY’ urbanism are often defined in opposition to the commodification and corporatisation of urban space. Instead, they emphasise the creation of community, however temporary, and the framing of public situations producing intersubjective encounters without profit as their central motivation. The Right to the City will bring together an ambitious collection of artistic and  written works that explore such urban interventions  opening up a space in which possibilities for reimagining life in the city can be discussed.

With this context in mind, we invite submissions for panels, presentations, papers, actions and activities. We are interested in proposals that will help us develop a one-day ‘think tank’ on Saturday, April 9th, 2011, exploring these practices of everyday urbanism, the ideas driving them, their outcomes, implications, possibilities, but also their limits, tensions and complexities. This event, in conjunction with the exhibition The Right to the City, aims to feed off
the university environment and resources while simultaneously eroding boundaries that divide the institution from the broader community.

We encourage the submission of creative proposals for panel discussions, dialogues and presentations, as well as more scholarly papers. These proposals should be up to 500 words and submitted in Word or RTF to Selected material will be invited to contribute to the exhibition catalogue, Architectural Theory Review special issue (please see the separate call for papers on the website), and a book planned for 2012.

Deadline for abstracts (up to 500 words): February 10,  2011.

For enquiries about the project contact: