CityLAB VI: City Aesthetics and Citizenship

Date: 2 - 6 July 2018

Venue: UAntwerpen, Stadscampus - Prinstraat 13 - 2000 Antwerpen (route: UAntwerpen, Stadscampus)

Short description: Antwerp Summer University: five-day interdisciplinary summer school on the correlation between city aesthetics and citizenship organised by the Antwerp Urban Studies Institute.

This summer school on “City Aesthetics and Citizenship,” organised by the Urban Studies Institute in collaboration with the Antwerp Research Institute for the Arts, addresses its topic from an interdisciplinary perspective. 

How does the aesthetic imagination influence the shape of our cities, social interactions, and the (self)image of citizens? Literature, film, the visual and performing arts, computer games―they all shape the urban imagination. They can have palpable effects in reality, whether intended or unintended, direct or indirect. Often artists and writers, as inventors of “possible worlds,” are called upon to produce visions of the urban future.

Can this utilitarian attitude be beneficial? Where does it threaten artistic autonomy and the need for social critique? How can we pinpoint the material and social effects of aesthetic images? How difficult is the distinction between fictional and nonfictional strategies in “imagineering” cities?

Looking at theories, empirical case studies, and artistic practices, we will investigate both the impact of the aesthetic imagination on cities and the structural tensions between artistic visions and the social and material constructions of cities. The summer school combines presentations by a range of distinguished external speakers and local staff from USI and ARIA with field trips and discussion seminars.

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