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Simulizi Mijini/Urban Narratives is an interdisciplinary inquiry into urban heritage in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and Berlin, Germany. Through artist residencies, student exchanges and discursive events, the project seeks to develop a more inclusive approach to urban heritage that embraces multiple voices and supports diverse readings of urban environments from a ‘bottom-up’ perspective. For more information about the project and the programme of events, which have already included two summer schools, 10 artist residencies and a one-day symposium in Dar es Salaam, please visit our website: www.urbannarratives.org

We now announce a call for abstracts for a two-day international conference at the Technical University Berlin from 16-17 March 2017, which, together with a coinciding exhibition at ZK/U, will culminate the project.

For the Berlin conference we invite contributions that focus on heritage activism in diverse geographical and cultural contexts. Abstracts that address the political ramifications of urban heritage, particularly in postcolonial environments, are particularly welcome. We wish to engage the grassroots movements around the world that are demanding a more inclusive approach to heritage, redefining how places in the built environment are valued and preserved. In addition we will question the role of research and scholarship as well as other forms of political, cultural and arts practice in supporting heritage movements. Rather than convening an academic event, we will create a multidisciplinary platform for activists, scholars, artists, cultural producers, students and local residents to debate urban heritage, present innovative approaches and put forward inclusive solutions.

Abstracts are invited that address case studies in urban heritage activism in relation to the following topics:

(curating urban heritage)

How can information about urban heritage be gathered in diverse urban contexts at a community level? What are appropriate methods and tools for data collection? What role does oral history play? How can the data be archived in an open, accessible and transformable way? What strategies for curating urban heritage ‘from below’ have been successfully tried and tested?

(media and protest)

What can new technologies, such as augmented reality or virtual reality, offer to urban heritage research, curation and communication? What effects have social media had on documenting and archiving urban heritage? How have they affected protest movements? How can technologies be employed to hack or amend existing official heritage narratives?

(activating urban heritage)

Building on the Faro Convention, how can awareness be raised about urban heritage as a common cultural good and human right? What tactics can be used to increase public consciousness and foster local participation in the heritage discourse? How do we begin to (re)determine what is preserved and what is recognised as ‘historically relevant’ at a community level, thereby including diverse, minority and forgotten, ignored, or silenced voices?

(performing and preserving)

How can urban heritage be communicated to a wider audience effectively? How can its significance be understood and supported beyond the community level? What artistic, performative and curatorial strategies have been developed to convey the significance of certain places and practices within communities and neighbourhoods? How can these be used to protect and support their continued presence?  

Submissions and Deadline
Please submit a 300 word abstract including contact details and a brief CV to rachel.lee@tu-berlin.de by 15 December 2016.

Travel Bursaries
A limited number of travel bursaries will be available towards covering the costs of traveling to Berlin.

Book Publication
A selection of contributions will be included in a book publication, forthcoming in 2017. Authors interested in contributing to the book will be expected to submit a 1500 word synopsis of their conference presentation by 15 February 2017.

Dar es Salaam Symposium
The Berlin conference picks up on issues raised at the Reconfiguring Heritage from Below symposium held in Dar es Salaam in April 2016. There speakers from Tanzania, Zanzibar, Kenya, South Africa, Turkey, Belgium and the UK presented heritage case studies and projects from postcolonial contexts.

http://urbannarratives.org/en/events/

Notes
As an interdisciplinary, transnational programme, we encourage contributions from all horizons to apply. We seek to increase the number of women, people with disabilities and non-Western contributors in those areas where they are underrepresented and therefore explicitly encourage them to apply.

This project is funded by the TURN Fund of the German Federal Cultural Foundation.

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