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Awarded Joint Seed Grants

In 2019 CUS, together with the Amsterdam Centre for Cultural Heritage and Identity (ACHI), launched a Joint Seed Grant that aims to foster an interdisciplinary dialogue between urban scholars in the humanities and in the social sciences, and to stimulate original research in the field of Urban Studies. Find below a list of the awarded Joint Seed Grants by the Centre for Urban Studies and the Amsterdam Centre for Cultural Heritage.

Feminist Urban Lab: Research meets Artistic Practice

Awarded to Fenna Smits, Anastasiya Halauniova, Tania Esteves Fernandes Cardoso and Asli Ozgen-Tuncer

This joint seed grant supports a collaborative urban art-science project which involves scholars in the social sciences and humanities, as well as art curators. This project will be the cumulative outcome of the 'Feminist Urban Lab', a Short Intensive Course organized in collaboration with the AISSR and ASCA. During this course, early career urban scholars will explore theoretical and methodological aspects of feminist urban research. The objective is to build a methodological toolbox and epistemological/ontological sensitivities that allow the participants to practice feminist urban research and interventions.

Good Neighbours

Awarded to Alex Gekker, Carolina Maurity Frossard, Klasien van de Zandschulp, Natalie Dixon, Rivke Jaffe and Geert Lovink

In various countries, neighbourhoods have been quick to adopt WhatsApp as a tool for surveillance. The platform has enabled intimate forms of ‘watching’ and even hostility, where the question of “who belongs?” is constantly being raised. During the coronavirus pandemic WhatsApp groups have been given a different policing impetus: in addition to facilitating acts of solidarity, they enable the reporting of breaches in official protocol, shaming of others during the lockdown and the spread of fake news. Both media and urban studies have been occupied with examining surveillance practices and technologies. So far, little attention has been paid, in either field, to the intimate micropolitics of surveillance that take place in streets and housing complexes. At this micro-level of engagement, an interdisciplinary exchange between urban studies researchers and media scholars can generate insights into how surveillance practices shape people’s sense of place and their feelings of belonging to a place and/or community. This project aims to develop and share critical interdisciplinary theory related to WhatsApp (and its broader technological ecosystem) and its influence on community- and city- making through a workshop and the development of a website.

Representing the Everyday Commons

Awarded to Federico Savini and Joost de Bloois

This project explores the relation between practices and representations of urban commoning. Practices of commoning do not follow blueprints. They unfold as practices of appropriation and collective organization that combine serendipity, activism and strategy. Existent ‘guides’ to commoners are often misrepresentative of the everyday tactics of commoning, offering linear step-by-step instructions out of the particular context at hand. Because commoning practice assumes a multitude of forms in everyday living, it is by definition hard to represent these practices and transmit the knowledge to others. This project will deal with the challenge of representing the everyday complexity of the 'patterns of commoning'. The aim is to enable interactive forms of listening and patterns creation, to document these patterns and disseminate them with representations that are non-linear but effective. The ultimate aim is to develop a process able to encourage commoning processes via the transmission of knowledge of commoners to other commoners.

Claiming the Streets: Using the Past to Challenge the Present and Imagine the Future of Urban Public Spaces

Awarded to Danielle van den Heuvel, James Symonds and Luca Bertolini

This joint seed grant supports the organization of a conference that brings together scholars from different disciplines as well as policymakers and other stakeholders in the community to tackle questions on the in- and exclusivity in the city. The organizers specifically want to look at the street as a site of contestation and emancipation. The conference should be  a site of encounter between hitherto separate enquiries into the past, present and future of city streets, and between academic enquiries and practical experiences.

Gaming the City: Participatory Coding Playshops

Awarded to Carolyn Birdsall and Rivke Jaffe

Digital gaming has become an increasingly important everyday pastime and a leading global cultural industry. Both the production and consumption of games have a strong urban dimension. Yet the impact of digital games and gaming on urban life, and vice versa, is poorly understood. This project on gaming and urban life, seeks to understand how game architecture and game-based urban imaginaries enable new forms of sociality. This joint seed grant supports the organization of two participatory coding playshops, as a pilot study through which the urban dimensions of gaming is explored. 

Turning Garbage into Gold: the Journey of Food Waste and their Economy of Worth in Urban Space and Platforms

Awarded to Ying-Tzu Lin, Elisa Fiore, Letizia Chiappini, Willem Boterman, Tim Verlaan and Peter van Dam

In this pilot research, scholars from CUS and ACHI will carry out a project on food waste and production of urban space. In particular, processes of decommodification and recommodification of comestibles taking place and interacting with urban space are analysed. How does food devaluation - i.e. its decommodification - almost paradoxically becomes the precondition for the circulation and revaluation of devalued surplus? This cycle of commodification, de-commodification and –when waste becomes reused- sometimes re-commodification, doesn’t take place in a vacuum. There are geographies of this cycle that are part and parcel of the landscape of food and food waste. By tracing and mapping out where and how the de-commodification of food happens, and even given new value of waste, the landscape where non/anti/de-commodification takes place in the city can be sketched out. Taking food waste and its journey of devaluation and revaluation as a lens, academic debates and broader societal implications on the cultural history of food and food waste, as well as the ethics of food consumption, and the role that food and food waste play in engaging urban commons, can be opened up.

 

Urban Infrastructures: An Interdisciplinary Playshop

Awarded to Rivke Jaffe, Kasia Mika and Janna Coomans

In recent years, social sciences such as geography and anthropology have witnessed an “infrastructural turn”, focusing on roads, electricity networks, sewage systems and so on to understand how these sociotechnical systems distribute people, resources and risks across space. Meanwhile, research in the humanities - specifically history and cultural studies - has similarly begun to study the uses and meanings of such architectures of circulation, engaging with infrastructure as an important lens for understanding urban life across different historical and cultural contexts. This “playshop” aims to generate an interdisciplinary conversation within the UvA between such scholars working on urban infrastructures who oftentimes work in parallel scholarly and disciplinary spaces.