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Innovative Approaches to Urban Development from an Interdisciplinary Perspective

The International conference on “Making the City” scheduled from 29 June to 1 July 2023 at Chemnitz will discuss the impact of industrialisation on different aspects of society and culture

The international conference on “Making the City: Transformative Processes in (Post)Industrial Urban Spaces” will take place in Chemnitz from 29 June to 1 July 2023. In the words of its organisers, Prof Cecile Sandten, Chair of English Literatures and Prof. Dr. Stefan Garsztecki, Professor in Cultural and Area Studies of East Central Europe both at the Chemnitz University of Technology: “The central idea of the conference on ‘Making the City’, is to explore the cultural, economic and political factors of industrialisation from its start to its ‘finish’ from a diachronic perspective and also focus on an active engagement of citizens in urban transformation processes”.

The Industrial Revolution, which approximately started in England in 1770 and spread to other European cities and innovation hubs before finally taking root in the United States and the British Empire’s colonies in the middle of the 19th century, was marked by “progress, expansion, and mobility”. Societies underwent profound cultural and economic transformations that impinged on all facets of human life, particularly on city dwellers toiling long hours dictated by the clock. Chemnitz, known as the ‘Rußstadt’ or the ‘Manchester of Saxony’, also witnessed this dramatic turn of history, its inhabitants confronting significant social, cultural, and economic changes during this period.

Keeping this connection in mind, the conference has been designed to take place at several historically significant locations in Chemnitz, providing a unique setting for exploring the enduring effects of industrialization on modern society. The conference will delve into a range of compelling topics, including the challenges of preserving industrial heritage and the collective memory of cities as well as the need for extensive restructuring of the local and regional economy and architecture in the context of urban reorientations. The discussions will also focus on key concerns such as gender, ownership, creative spirit, and alternative approaches to “Making the City”.

A distinguished line-up of keynote speakers who are internationally recognized experts in their respective academic fields, has been arranged by the conference organisers. Among the keynote speakers are Dr. Lieven Ameel, Senior Lecturer in Comparative Literature at the University of Tampere in Finland; Professor Daniel Dubowitz, Chair of Architecture at Manchester Metropolitan University in England; and Dr. Daniela Zupan, Junior Professor for European Cities and Urban Heritage at the Bauhaus University in Weimar.

The objective of the conference goes beyond fostering connections between various fields such as European Studies, English Literature, Sociology, Political Science, and Urban Planning. It strives to facilitate an exchange among professionals ranging from academics, curators, designers, and artists to the general public. Additionally, the conference aims to initiate a dialogue with the city of Chemnitz, providing the theoretical basis for the exhibition “European Manchesters” scheduled to be displayed at the Chemnitz Museum of Industry as part of “Chemnitz as European Capital of Culture 2025”.

There will be an author-reading event open to the public on June 29, 2023 at 19, at the Open Space, Brückenstraße 11. This event will feature two poets hailing from Manchester, Antony Rowland and Shamsad Khan, whose creative works explore their city, Manchester and its inhabitants' multifarious identities.

The conference is funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG).

Here you can find the homepage of the conference: www.makingthecity.tu-chemnitz.de

For further information, please contact Prof. Dr. Cecile Sandten, professor for English Literatures, phone +49 (0)371 531-37353, e-mail cecile.sandten@phil.tu-chemnitz.de and Prof. Dr. Stefan Garsztecki, professur for Cultural and Area Studies of East Central Europe, phone +49 (0)371 531-38385, e-mail stefan.garsztecki@phil.tu-chemnitz.de.

(Author: Julia Walter, Translation: Dr. Indrani Karmakar)

Mario Steinebach

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