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CFP: Intangible Heritage: Scenes of Urban Innovation – Athens, Greece


The conference on Intangible Heritage: Scenes of Urban Innovation will convene on July 10-13, 2018 at The National Technical University of Athens (NTUA) in Athens, Greece and is co-sponsored by the Culture of Cities Centre, Toronto. Hosted in collaboration with York University, Carleton University, St. Jerome’s University and the University of Waterloo, this is the fifth annual meeting in the series of conferences and research initiatives on Scenes of Urban Innovation, organized by the International Association for the Study of the Culture of Cities (IASCC).

Under conditions of traditional notions of intangible heritage both in official and unofficial discourses, is it possible to mark how modern and postmodern forms of cultural creation are signatures of the city, integral to their specific identities and value?

This conference proposes to connect the many different manifestations of the intangible heritage of the city to the question of how to ensure the continuity of an identity or way of life, making the transmission of culture the primary focus of the event. We ask how we might identify the innovative character of the city through the significance of its distinctive scenes and the persistence of an urban dynamic characterized by creation, preservation and loss.

The 2003 UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage proposes five broad ‘domains’ in which intangible cultural heritage is manifested:

1) Oral traditions and expressions, including language as a vehicle of the intangible cultural heritage; 2) Performing arts; 3) Social practices; 4) rituals and festive events; 5) Knowledge and practices concerning nature and the universe; 6) Traditional craftsmanship. Given such parameters, is it possible to relate to the processes of cultural transmission in the city?

What would such a translation, or application require in the context of an urban framework? Are there limits to the UNESCO framework and ways to better serve the phenomenon of intangible heritage? Under what conditions might we conceive of innovation as part of the relationship to the past, cultural transmission and intangible heritage?

Rich and varied approaches of cultural analysis, social theory, and the humanities, arts and social sciences and their contribution to an interdisciplinary examination of the grounds of heritage in the relationship of the city to time are encouraged. We invite scholars, cultural practitioners, artists and theorists to identify and develop intangible heritage and relate it as a phenomenon that is transmitted or mediated in urban scenes.

Topics to be addressed might include:

    • How intangible heritage is multi-dimensional in ways that include, besides the arts, ethical and aesthetic elements essential to a national background.
    • The connection of innovative methodologies and emergent practices for engaging the relation of urban pasts to present and future.
    • Latest advances in the development of technological applications for representing the past in images of the built environment, narratives, archives, oral histories, and the visual representation of local topographies.
    • The place of ongoing histories of social injustice that become part of an intangible heritage, including hate speech.
    • Relations to traditions of any and all kind (from linguistic to aesthetic), including modification, rejection, preservation as in fundamentalist and enlightenment gestures and actions.
    • Narratives about the urban past produced in any present by descendants, survivors, witnesses, and informants.
    • Influences of collective memories and collisions in values about the meaning of place that fluctuate over time.
    • Ways different societies mark their inheritances whether through mechanistic repetition, vandalism, obfuscation, and innovative reinvention.
    • Use of heritage criteria for conferring identity of persons and groups through rituals for designating membership such as purity or impurity of bloodline, affiliation, citizenship, classification, genre, including influences from genetics and biology.
    • Policy discussion relating to cultural identity and memory, cultural regeneration and collective biographies.
    • Dissonant registers and controversies of historical past(s).

The normal presentation format will be a 20-minute talk as part of a panel of three to four speakers followed by questions and discussion. Proposals for other forms of participation (performances, exhibitions/screenings) will also be considered as part of the conference exhibition and events. If you would like to propose a roundtable or panel, please submit a detailed application.

Deadline for Abstract Submissions: Monday April 8th, 2018 at midnight:

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