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Collectives in Action: An Update from the Urban Institute’s September Schools

By February 16, 2021 No Comments

Launched in September 2020 by Professor AbdouMaliq Simone, the September Schools represented the Urban Institute’s commitment to:

  • generating new theoretical frameworks for understanding urbanization processes;
  • working collaboratively with partners across the world to develop new methodologies of research and engagement;
  • developing new pedagogical instruments for knowledge production and conveyance and;
  • providing a systematic response to the intellectual and political challenges occasioned by the Covid-19 pandemic.

These September Schools instigated multiple collective working groups of various durations, organized around a series of cutting-edge themes, and primarily composed of early career researchers.

Urban Popular Economies

Co-convened with the Consejo Latinamericano Ciencias Sociales (CLACSO), this working group considers issues of urban social reproduction, livelihood, and urban formations through a multiplicity of ground-level practices operating simultaneously within and outside the prevailing logics of capital accumulation. The collective has developed a glossary of critical concepts (to be published in Cityscapes), is preparing a collectively written article for a forthcoming special issue of Public Culture, and preparing a monograph for consideration by the University of Manchester Press.

Re-tooling Mobilization and Advocacy in Contexts of Massive Urbanization

Comprised of researchers from Lagos, Johannesburg, Cairo, Rio de Janeiro, Karachi, Delhi, Manila, Istanbul, and Jakarta, this working group considers modalities of urban politics and collective life in mega-urban regions of the Global South. The collective has developed a three-part article for the magazine of Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, and is preparing a special issue for the Geography Journal.

The continuous unsettlements of “estates” in Europe

Co-convened with the National Museum of Denmark, this collective explores the state of unsettlements as an entry point for thinking about the genericity of living in heterogeneous urban spaces: the shifting material and social forms, the overlapping registers of financing, the syncopated histories, and the repurposing of resources, assets and values. An international conference will be held on March 1-2, 2021, a research clearing house website has been established, as well as a series of new research projects in Athens, Copenhagen, Naples, and Istanbul.

The work of these collective working groups constitutes an existing and innovative pedagogical programme:

  •  Urban Popular Economy Collective Writing Workshops. March 11th, April 15th, May 13th
  •  Massive Urbanization Collective Workshop  February 24th, March 22nd
  •  The Continuous Unsettlement of Housing Estates in Europe Working Group Conference, March 1-2
  •  Black Urbanism Consultative Forum. March 24th

The September Schools, and ongoing collectives, build on established relationships and networks of the Urban Institute and colleagues at the University of Sheffield. If you are interested in finding out more about our collectives and approach to collaborative working, please get in touch.