Call for Papers:

What after crises? Cultural articulations of urban futures.

The crisis is a concept that currently organizes many scientific debates and crosses disciplinary divisions, since problems of disappearing resources, mass migration of people and animals, overpopulation, economic collapse, atrophy of democracy or ideological radicalization enforce multi-level analyzes (see e.g. Batty 2018; Florida 2017; Klinenberg 2016; Brenner 2016). The sense of crisis – in the field of science and beyond it – means that we are nervously looking for the solutions; some of them are regressively oriented – to restore the past order. Others, however, enliven the imagination and force a journey into the future. Cultural studies, often carrying out a strong methodological reorientation, adopting new onto-epistemologies, entering new, theoretical and practical alliances, have an increasingly important place in finding solutions and in many disputes about the future.

However, the special importance in this diagnostic and prognostic thinking should be attributed to urban studies. For it is cities (metropolises, urbanized areas, suburbs and archipelagos of towns) that are now becoming battlefields for space and resources, laboratories of change, and battlefields in positional wars on symbols, ideologies and visions of the future. In relation to the experience of crisis, the role of cities has been and still is understood differently. The “urbanization” of reality on a planetary scale can be a catalyst for any critical situation, considering at least a climate context. Cities may also be the first victims of a financial collapse. In a situation of migration crisis, cities open or close to newcomers, turn into bastions, temporary camps, ghettos or new homes.

It is not difficult to notice that the official reports on the state and future of cities are still dominated by the economic optics, emphasizing the potential of cities for the development of science and technology, innovation, individual and collective creativity, while culture appears primarily as the fourth pillar of sustainable development (Hawkes 2011). Considering the fact that – in the field of cultural studies – this concept has already been subjected to critical reflection many times, we want to go beyond the scope of this discussion. Therefore, we propose to launch an extended cultural perspective. First, we are interested in complementing the narrowly understood concept of “urban culture” – often reduced to architecture, literature, visual arts or film, in which artistic futurology, post-apocalyptic visions, utopias or dystopias become the key task. Therefore we propose new forms of articulation of diagnoses and solutions which are to be found, among others, in artivist actions, protest movements, political initiatives, designing of new technologies, the practices of institutions, inhabitants and newcomers. Secondly, we encourage any other participants to the dispute on the future of cities, whose opinions are still rarely taken into account in official reports and development strategies, including urban activists, journalists, local communities of residents, and – due to non-anthropocentric reorientation – non-human actors.

We invite you to test different cultural articulations of urban futures in the following thematic areas:

  • new ideas explaining and anticipating urban futures in the cultural discourse about the city;
  • the impact of rapidly changing culture approaches on urban development perspectives;
  • multicultural and intercultural narratives in new urban policies, as well as in urban images and ideas of techno- and nature-cultures;
  • new ways of redesigning and developing of degraded urban spaces;
  • artistic and activist mapping of crises and checking the ways out of them;
  • creative, subversive, non-normative, boldly experimenting and undermining the status quo practices in the cities;
  • daily “rescue practices”, bottom-up social innovations or grassroots activism (e.g. free smog measurement systems, DIY kits for plastic recycling or open-source platforms for participatory democracy).

The editors of the issue are dr hab. Agata Skórzyńska (Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań) and dr hab. Małgorzata Nieszczerzewska (Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań).

Please submit texts of no more than 40,000 characters by 5 th of August 2020 to the following e-mail address:

You can find more information about the editorial requirements on our website.

Deadline: August 5, 2020