April, 2015
Watch Vincent Kaufmann’s keynote, The New Dynamics of Daily Mobilities

Watch Vincent Kaufmann’s keynote, The New Dynamics of Daily Mobilities

Professor Vincent Kaufmann, Director of the Laboratory of Urban Sociology at EPFL, Lausanne and member of the Mobile Lives Forum, gave a talk in which he returned to a core theme of mobilities research; Transport. In this talk Vincent Kaufmann addressed the modal shifts in transport habits away from the car and revisited the concept of ‘motility’. Drawing on quantitative data from several case studies, Kaufmann here gives us an overview of the habits of daily mobility in Western Europe.

Oskar Funk: What will you take with you from this conference?

It’s a very innovative conference with lanes between social scientists and artists, and a lot of new ideas about mobility futures. I would say that I feel a bit at home here at this cosmobilities conference and it’s very unusual for conferences, and it is a real pleasure to come.

Oskar Funk: Is there any new ideas you have discovered here at the conference, or new things you have learned?

I discovered new people. I definitely liked the links between artists and social sciences, like the map of the different trips we did to come here. That was very innovative; it was a good surprise for me.

Oskar Funk: So we need to consider the arts more when we are working as mobility researchers?

Yes for sure! It’s what we also try to do with the mobile life forum in Paris. To have strong links with the artistic field.

Update: Programme for Future of Mobilities conference

Update: Programme for Future of Mobilities conference

The joint T²M and Cosmobilities ‘The Future of Mobilities‘ conference in Caserta this September is closing in. The organizing committee have released a preliminary programme and a list of practical information for the participants travelling to Italy . Both documents can be found below.

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Preliminary Programme

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Practical Information












For further overview and registration, please visit the T²M conference-page. We look forward to seeing you in September!

Watch Stephen Graham’s keynote, Super-tall and ultra-deep

Watch Stephen Graham’s keynote, Super-tall and ultra-deep

Stephen Graham, Professor of Cities and Society at Newcastle University, expanded the notion of mobility in his keynote talk at the Networked Urban Mobilities conference. By thinking critically about the politics of elevators Graham shifted the perspective from horizontal mobility to the verticality of urban life. Further, the talk links the skyscrapers of global cities with the gold mining industry, which continue to extract metals at greater and greater depths.

After his keynote we had a brief chat with Stephen Graham about his experience of the Networked Urban Mobilities conference, which you can read below the video.

After his talk at the Networked Urban Mobilities Conference in November 2014, we sat down with Stephen Graham and asked a few questions about his experience of the Cosmobilities event in Copenhagen.

Oskar Funk: Could you tell a little about what you are going to take with you from this conference?

Well, there has been a lot of great presentations on the challenges of innovation. That has been a big thing for me. The really complex ways of both inhibiting old technologies and the attempt to build new systems into systems, not just little pockets of innovation, as John Urry was talking about in his keynote, within the context of peak oil, peak food, peak water, and a century of enormous challenges.

Oskar Funk: What has been the best experience at the conference, or was there an experience that stood out?

I haven’t been to many of these mobilities conferences since the first one in Lancaster. The surprising and really fantastic thing to me is just the scale and variety in debate. The fact that it has become such a hugely important and influential conference series is really impressive.

Oskar Funk: So what do you see as the future for this network and this conference series?

There are challenges because it is very interdisciplinary, and it has challenging relationship with professionalized worlds of education and practice. Because obviously, both the disciplines of the universities and the disciplines of professional practices of engineering, architecture, civil engineering, IT engineering, they are all very much working in silos, and mobilities discussions are inherently multi-scalar, multi-disciplinary and they challenge all of those silos. Those silos are actually quite conservative, because they are protecting their own statuses and privileges. John Urry was talking to me about; how do you engage with the worlds of professional education, so that transport engineers stop thinking and talking like transport engineers? That’s a really big challenge and it raises the other question of people doing PhD’s in these interdisciplinary agendas and areas, important and fascinating though they are, they have to get jobs in universities that are very often still quite conservative, still organized as a series of silos; anthropology, sociology, geography, politics, engineering. It is very hard to challenge these really big inherited, conservative traditions.

Oskar Funk: So what do you think is the directions for the mobilities paradigm?

You know what I am going to say. (Laughs) Well, I mean, I would say this obviously, since I am doing a lot of work on looking at the vertical scale, but I do think that it is an interesting agenda that needs to be addressed. I am always interested in the absences in debates and how, when knowledge is constructed and emerges, by definition; areas of absence are created as well, because they are not thought as relevant, they are not actually discussed. They are sort of there in plain sight, hidden in plain sight. I do think in a whole lot of debates about social sciences, geography, politics of space, mobility, we need to be more three-dimensional in our discussions.

Oskar Funk: So that is a blind-spot of the mobilities studies?

Yes, I think so. There is a big discussion on aeromobilities, aircraft mobilities, there is a smaller discussion on elite helicopter mobilities, but I would say, you know, the elevator. It’s fascinating why it is so completely neglected as a mobilities system. It’s an interesting thing to try to understand, and in geography it is partly a result of this flat two-dimensional treatment of urban space that has come through cartographic traditions especially.



Professor Mimi Sheller of mCenter Drexel opened the 10th Cosmobilities conference in Copenhagen on Networked Urban Mobilities. In her lecture, ‘Mobilizing Hybrid Cities’, she adds theoretical perspectives on digital art and locative media to the themes of mobilities studies and urban studies. In the talk Sheller asks how social sciences can take a more active role in shaping urban mobilities and how mobile media and geolocational data produces new relations of people to space, to community, to interaction and to communication. We also had a small chat with Mimi about her experience at the conference, which you can read below the video.


On the last day of the Networked Urban Mobilities Conference in 2014, we sat down with Mimi Sheller and asked a few questions about her experience of attending the Cosmobilities event in Copenhagen.

Sune & Oskar: What will you take with you from this conference?

I’ve been really excited about the younger scholars that are coming up and thinking about the mobilities perspectives and how to incorporate them into new research projects, and for me, in one of the last sessions we had a great conversation about the relation between micro-level research and macro-level problems, systems and structures. I think we are getting some interesting new ways of bridging the micro and the macro through mobilities research.

S & O: What has been the best or most surprising experience at the conference?

I just think the atmosphere has been really nice; in fact, we have had papers talking about “affective atmosphere”, and I think one of the great achievements of the cosmobilities network is creating a conducive and friendly atmosphere for people to exchange their work. For me that’s the best thing about it.

S & O: Where do you see the cosmobilities network and these conferences going from here? /What is the future of this network?

Well, next year it is our joint conference in Italy, which is a great future to look forward to. But I see efforts to really establish the field as not just a research network but sort of more than that. We have a growing set of publications, and hopefully new PhD’s and new positions in universities that will come out of this work that has gone on in this 10-year period.

S & O: How do you think the mobilities paradigm is developing, what is the future of the mobilities paradigm?

I think it is increasingly being taken note of by governments, by engineers, by designers, by transport planners and so, I think we are having a greater and greater impact on these kinds of realms of actual decision-makers, that are actually shaping the world, and I hope our research can help make better worlds in the future.