Publications of Access and Agency

Posted on by Genise Choy

As part of the Global Urban Humanities Initiative Colloquium called Reading Cities, Sensing Cities we have asked students and visitors to write responses to each of the weekly guest lectures.

October 2, 2014
Experiments in Online and Print Journals on Cities: Urban Pilgrimage and pARTicipatory Urbanisms
Padma Maitland (Architecture and South and Southeast Asian Studies), Lawrence Yang (East Asian Languages and Cultures), Karin Shankar (Performance Studies), and Kirsten Larson (City and Regional Planning and Architecture)

Presentations available here.
Video of the conversation available here.
Padma, Lawrence, Karin, and Kirsten shared reflections on their research and the process of curating their respective publications coming out in Spring 2015.

by Alana MacWhorter

While the ‘ivory tower’ complex in academia is still very much alive and well today, there will always be the courageous few who challenge this normative stance and take great leaps to give life to their subject of study. Urban Pilgrimage editors Padma Maitland and Lawrence Yang, and pARTicipatory Urbanisms creators Karin Shankar and Kirsten Larson have endeavored to do just that and ensure their research serves as a catalyst for others’ critical investigations into global urban humanities.

Urban Pilgrimage, Room One Thousand, UC Berkeley

Both student-led research projects and respective culminating publications explore the power of interactive academic collaboration through the compilation of diverse narratives on urban art, politics and the collective consciousness of place. pARTicipatory Urbanisms’ work critically deconstructs the traditional positions of art, artist and audience by crafting a dialogue between São Paulo and New Delhi activists and their political processes, while the gentlemen of Urban Pilgrimage depict their publication as an online and print interface interweaving stories of transcendence and everyday life within contemporary urban fabrics.

Ciclistas Bonequeiros São Paulo, Brazil

The colloquium opened with an intriguing pairing of concepts this week: motion and juxtaposition. These concepts, when considered within the dynamic framework of motion and space, illuminate the breadth of urban issues engaged in the projects of Urban Pilgrimage and pARTicipatory Urbanisms. In retrospect, I believe the complementary projects can be distilled into yet another pairing of concepts: access and agency. The journals provide a space for one to access a global discourse on urbanism, and to gain agency by being a part of these narratives and ultimately identifying as a part of this collective consciousness. Urban Pilgrimage and pARTicipatory Urbanisms have been exemplary in crafting these transformative platforms by engaging diverse audiences into a complex, global discourse, which inherently through its means of creation deconstructs traditional power structures and bolsters a contemporary stream of empowered narratives and urban memory.

Please refer to the Global Urban Humanities publication page to find more information on these projects and their upcoming release dates.

Alana MacWhorter is a graduate student at the UC Berkeley College of Environmental Design working toward a joint degree in Landscape Architecture and Urban Design.