Special Sessions: Networked Urban Mobilities Conference 2014

Calls for papers to special sessions at the Networked Urban Mobilities Conference 2014 are open.

We are very happy to invite abstracts for the following 8 special sessions before the 28th of may.


‘Art as Mobile Research: The Journey of Making’

In recent years, it has been argued that new research methods are needed to study current mobility practices, discourses and materialities. Next to more traditional social science methods, mobile methods have included participatory observation, virtual and autoethnographies, and various kinds of mapping. Building on these methodological innovations, this session theme explores art as mobile research. Since the early 1990s, artistic research has developed as a distinct field of study. Making art is taken to be a form of doing research and the works of art that result from that research are presented as a form of knowledge. Practical testing is frequently an essential part of this ‘journey of making’ process, enabling ideas and techniques to be resolved before making finished work as part of the whole creative process. Art is not only relevant from the perspective of the aesthetic experience, it is argued, but also as knowledge claim. For artistic practice, this development undermines the modern dichotomy of autonomy and instrumentalism, thus breaking away from the alleged ‘otherness’ of art as a societal domain that has clear boundaries and can be separated from science.

In this session, we investigate how art practices might contribute to mobilities research, as well as how artists reflect on mobile worlds in their work. How can artistic research practices and discourses be drawn upon to develop new ways of understanding and researching the performative ontologies of travel? How can artistic production be seen as a meaningful context to explore mobilities? How can the creative process of the ‘journey of making’ inform mobilities? We invite papers and art works examining these questions.

The session will be organizaed by Kevin Hannam from Leeds Metropolitan University and Peter Peters from Maastricht University.

Please, submit your abstract of no more than 300 words no later than May 28th to Kevin Hannam at k.m.hannam@leedsmet.ac.uk  or Peter Peters at p.peters@maastrichtuniversity.nl.


‘Urbanization in “Non-Urban” Space: the role of mobilities in new urban epistemologies’

Since its inception, urban theory has been grounded in the basic assumption that urban phenomena are produced in cities. Cities, meanwhile, are constructed as qualitatively distinct, nodal and bounded sociospatial settlement spaces, discursively constructed in opposition to the “non-urban” spaces of the suburbs, rural communities, “remote” regions (i.e. the Arctic) and so on. In his recent work, Neil Brenner (2013) questions such accepted understandings and argues instead for new urban epistemology that embodies “urban theory without an outside”. Mobilities research has much to contribute to this pivotal new framing of urbanization by drawing our attention to the ways in which broad constellations of urban relationships are produced through diverse relationships between people and places across time and space. In particular, attention to role of mobilities allows for the examination of diverse forms of linkage—economic, cultural, social, institutional, colonial, and so on—in the (re)production of these expansive urban meshes.

In this session, papers are invited that broadly explore the dynamics of mobility and urbanization in ways that aim to conceptually supersede the persistent non-urban/urban divide in urban studies. In particular, these papers will seek to contribute to a conceptualization of urban forms and processes as multiscalar, diffuse, and enmeshed in complex and context-dependent (economic, social, cultural, infrastructural, institution) entanglements that extend well beyond cities as sites of agglomeration and accumulation. Papers that empirically examine the role of mobilities in urban forms, processes and transformations outside commonly accepted urban locales—i.e. the Arctic, the Amazon, the Oceans—are especially welcome. Moreover, papers that draw from diverse methodologies (social science, literary, audio, visual) are also most welcome.

The session will be organized by Julia Christensen from Roskilde University.

Please send your abstracts of no more than 300 (and/or any questions, comments, or concerns) no later than May 28th to Julia Christensen at juliac@ruc.dk.


‘Energy Transition and E-Mobility: a chance for convergence?’

Based on innovation theory the case of electric mobility in networked urban environments leads to the hypothesis of converging and intertwining two sociotechnical transitions: the transition towards renewable energy systems and the transition from combustion engine based transportation to elec- tric vehicle systems. In this innovation context a question arises: what is the impact of regime con- vergence in the innovation process?

Comparative international case studies can help to deepen this aspect. Both chances and obstacles should come into focus of the session.

The e-mobility hype seems to be over. But the energy transition from fossil resources to renewable energies got a huge momentum. Established structures in energy production and consumption erode and boundaries blur. The so called “prosumer” came into the game as a new actor.

The more renewable energies will be installed the more storage capacities and demand side man- agement are requested. The question is, whether the mobility sector can develop from an energy consumer to an energy storage component and potentially even become an energy provider. A promising way can be running cars under control of fleet managers as rental cars – especially as car- sharing cars as elements of intermodal services. This would have a technical dimension: norms and standardization of technical interfaces and protocols will become more relevant in a networked and decentralized energy world. Access and loading procedures must be user-friendly. This also has a strong social and economic dimension: what are potential businesses cases of “renewable e- mobility” and their acceptance? In the consequence of growing fleet based e-mobility the dominance of private car model starts to crumble.

The session will be held by Weert Canzler and Andreas Knie from Berlin Social Science Centre (WZB).

Please send your abstract of no more than 300 words no later than May 28th to weert.canzler@wzb.eu.


‘Mobility in the Arts. A Meeting Between Art Studies, Cultural Policy, and Mobility Studies’

During the past decades, the complex interconnection between mobility and the arts has evolved as a prominent topic within the arts, but also within diverse academic fields and within cultural policy. So far there has however been little interdisciplinary and intersectoral exchange on this issue. The aim of this thematic session is to bring together practitioners from the cultural policy sector with scho­lars from mobility studies and various art-related disciplines (such as theater and dance studies, art history, sociology and anthropology of the arts, cultural economics or cultural policy studies) to discuss the interrelations between mobility, the arts, and cultural policy. The session invites to engage in a dialogue on a) mobility as a critical category within the context of current artistic production, b) mobilities role in cultural policy initiatives, and c) the art world as a field of particular epistemic value for Mobility Studies. Possible topics for the proposed session include:

  • The historical evolution of mobility in the arts
  • Artistic mobilities in and between different world regions
  • Mobility within different art sectors
  • Mobility and cultural policy on the transnational, national and local level
  • Artistic labor in the global economy – economic base, legal frameworks, risks
  • Unequal mobilities in the arts (as a result of categories such as gender, citizenship, or dissidence)
  • Artistic mobilities and un/sustainability
  • Methodological and ethical challenges to document, assess and visualize artists’ mobilities on a quantitative level.

The session focuses on structural, policy-related and conceptual issues related to artists’ mobility rather than on mobility as a theme of art works, art criticism and cultural theory. The session is intended to serve as a meeting place for cultural policy practitioners and scholars who want to discuss past and present projects on the above mentioned issues and/or seek possible future collaborations across disciplines and sectors. As Cosmobilities is a voluntary research network with limited funds, please note that we cannot subsidize travel and accommodation costs.

Convener: Anna Lipphardt from RG Cultures of Mobility in Europe at Universität Freiburg.

Please send your abstract (300-400 words) and a short CV no later than May 28th to Anna Lipphardt at anna.lipphardt@eu-ethno.uni-freiburg.de.


‘Urban Planning in the Mobile Risk Society’

Today, cities and regions are increasingly struggling with risks and uncertainties. Simple certainties and securities for planning the future of the urban and regional settlements have been lost and the reflexive modernization of planning and policy making is progressing fast (Beck 1992, Hajer 2009, Healey 2001). Urban stakeholders and planners are facing risks and challenges endangering the fundaments of urban systems and the living conditions of urban societies and economies. At the same time, the rate of urbanisation is accelerating, particular in growing economies.

How to influence the sustainability and liveability of urban regions for future generations is the overarching question of the 21st century, not at least against the background of growing relevance of megacities and splintering urbanism. On-going economic crises, the side effects of perpetual growth, ecological problems, splintering urbanism, infrastructure capacity, global competition, social disintegration and criminality push economic, social, health and infrastructural systems to the limits. To complicate matters further, urban systems and society at large are growing increasingly complex, and conventional planning tools are often ill- equiped at handling the resulting uncertainty that this introduces in predictive analyses (Taleb, 2007).

This produces a situation where urban planning and innovative ways of policy and decision- making become vital for the future of the urban condition. The mobilities of people, artifacts, goods, knowledge, data and information, waste and resources are fundamental for the future of the urban. Cities are living bodies where multiple flows stream in and out (Ritzer 2010). In a general sense, sustainable urban ‘mobility management’ is an elementary and constitutive need and a strategy for the future of urban regions and living conditions.

The session will be organized by Morten Skou Nicolaisen and  Sven Kesselring, from Aalborg University.

Please submit abstracts of no more than 300 words no later than May 28th to Sven Kesselring at sven@plan.aau.dk. 


‘Cycling Futures’

The Cycling and Society Research Group celebrates its 10th anniversary in 2014. Linking with the 10th Anniversary Conference of the Cosmobilities Network, Networked Urban Mobilities, a special session is being organised on bicycling. Networked Urban Mobilities is a joint conference between Aalborg University (AAU) and Roskilde University  (RUC) at Aalborg University Campus in Copenhagen (South Harbor district), DK

The session theme, Cycling Futures reflects a core question posed in the Cycling and Society volume that was a product of the very first CSRG meeting, and the session is intended to link cycling studies more closely with other elements of current mobilities research. While there is a rapidly growing literature on current practices and behaviours, this session invites analyses that go beyond the reporting of findings and explore the potentials and problems that accompany the diverse practices that constitute the many forms of cycle mobility. We seek to present a range of studies that consider not just what is, but what might be? How do the various cultures and subcultures presented in recent studies interconnect and interact with each other and with wider mobility practices. To what extent does cycling today still reflect cycling a century ago, and what might cycling practices 50 years hence look like as part of broader sustainability practices. What can change, what may need to change if cycling is to become the default urban mobility choice?

We invite papers on practices of cycling, examining intersections of meanings, technologies and competencies and their place both in changing current urban milieux and in anticipating low-carbon futures. While looking ahead is core to the vision of the session, we also recognise the need to look back at prior historical cases of mobility transitions to understand better the forces and effects involved. We would particularly welcome contributions that engage with some of the questions posed in Cycling and Society. What role for cycling in the ‘post-car’ future? What will future cyclings look like? To what kind of societies will those cyclings contribute? How prominent a part can it play in an increasingly global, increasingly mobile world?

Please submit your abstract of no more than 300 words no later than May 28th to Peter Cox at peter.cox@chester.ac.uk.


‘Corporate Mobilities Regimes in Cities and Regions’

Today, corporate mobility, business travel, and mobile work are in a process of fundamental transformation. The normalization and rationalization of corporate mobilities and the time- space-compression of everyday business practice shape the relations of mobility and power. Social science has largely neglected the topic of spatial mobility. Dealings with distance and travel, however, are driving forces for the modernization of modern societies and urban environemnts. They indicate the networked character of economic activities of companies, business travellers and industries at large. Economic activity is based on mobility and companies deploy sophisticated mobility regimes to be present in markets. The increase in mobile work brings new issues centre stage such as the control of mobile workers, social cohesion, and the spatial complexity of corporate activities. Mobile work and business travel are signifiers for social change in the organization of work.

The session will be organized by James Wickham from Trinity College Dublin and Sven Kesselring from Aalborg University.

Please submit abstracts of no more than 300 words no later than 28th of May to  Sven Kesselring at sven@plan.aau.dk.


‘Embodied mobility practices and everyday life’

This special session investigates research on physical and virtual mobilities’ influence on everyday life, generating descriptive accounts and novel theoretical concepts about practices, cultures, communities etc. within understandings of mobilities and urban life.

Mobilities are experienced through bodies interacting with mobile technologies weaving themselves into the fabric of everyday life until they are indistinguishable from it. These embodied mobilities are often practiced non-reflected but yet with fully felled and realized sensations, moods and affects.

Everyday life should not be understood as isolated units when it is constantly challenged and influenced by the multi-scale character of social praxis, identity formation and social processes. The basis in everyday lives reveals that which creates meaning and significance – why things matter to people – and thus also how, through their praxis, they shape societal institutions.

Form: The intend of the special session is to integrate all papers in an open discussion conceptualizing embodied mobility practices in everyday life through common-developed metaphors. Contributors are therefore asked to participate in the informal debate generating fruitful ways of describing the interconnectedness between mobility practices and everyday life.

The session will be organized by Katrine Hartmann-Petersen and Malene Freudendal-Pedersen from Roskilde University.

Please submit abstracts of no more than 300 words no later than 28th of May to Katrine Hartmann-Petersen at katrineh@ruc.dk or Malene Freudendal-Petersen at malenef@ruc.dk.