CFP: Experiencing Change and Uncertainty: Urban Representations in Conversation with the Built Environment

Nancy Stieber Announcement
Subject Fields
Architecture and Architectural History, Art, Art History & Visual Studies, Cultural History / Studies, Urban History / Studies

Experiencing Change and Uncertainty: Urban Representations in Conversation with the Built Environment

Session at “Beyond the Gaze:  Interpreting and Understanding the City”, Associazione Italiana de Storia Urbana (AiSU)

13-16 September 2023, Ferrara

The Urban Representations Interest Group of the European Architectural History Network (EAHN) has been hosting conference sessions that consider the human experience of the city and in particular the emotional response to it. In previous sessions at conferences, we have focused on issues of density and of crisis. We turn now to the ways in which visual representations can manifest changing attitudes toward the urban landscape as they reinterpret it over time, provoking new design- or project-based approaches to urban space or the urban environment. The makers who produce visual representations of urban space make fundamental choices about what they show, and how they frame their depictions, whether their medium consists of perfunctory digital snapshots or time-consuming sketches, paintings, prints, or film. These views embody choices that are decidedly editorial. Through their own narrative voice, they can reveal an animated conversation among many actors, reflecting varied intentions and responses by those who shape the built environment and those who use and observe it. Over time, the selfsame buildings and spaces can elicit visual representations that reimagine those places in radically different ways, reinterpreting them to reflect contemporary concerns and issues that may or may not coincide with the original intentions of architects, planners, and patrons. In particular, such representations may indicate changes in the way those landscapes are experienced day to day, conveying a range of emotional reactions including delight and intimidation, empowerment and repression, admiration, disgust, pity, despair, or pleasure. Changes in the perception of urban landscapes as manifested in varying representations of the same place may be the result of disasters like war, floods, earthquake, or fire; they may reflect changing habits of consumption or gender roles; they may derive from demographic changes, social upheaval, or economic shifts. We invite proposals that investigate the re-interpretation of particular urban spaces over time through the voices speaking via visual representations. Specifically, we seek papers that demonstrate how such representations reveal changes in our consciousness and awareness of the built environment. Topics across a broad range of time periods and geographies are welcome.  Please address any questions to Anat Falbel:

Proposals should be submitted by May 21st to