Mapping entrepreneurial neighbourhoods

A European Haniel Program Summer Academy

May 17–21 2021.
Introductory Session for Lüneburg participants: 14.04., 16–18
Joint kick-off: 06.05., 16–18

Course Content

“If the city is a text, how shall we read it?”
Joyce Carol Oates, Imaginary Cities: America

“The city is not only a text to be decoded, it is also a space to be written.”
Graeme Gilloch, Myth and Metropolis

“In a dérive one or more persons during a certain period drop their usual motives for movement and action, their relations, their work and leisure activities, and let themselves be drawn by the attractions of the terrain and the encounters they find there.”
Guy Debord, Theory of the Dérive

At the beginning of the 21st century, cities are, once again, at the center of intellectual and political attention and debate. Cities are laboratories for the configurations and significations of (post-)modernity, brimming with creativity and entrepreneurship. Nowhere are there so many potential fields of interaction as in the urban habitus: potential specialist or different vocations, dispositions or lifestyles will find articulations somewhere within urban spaces. Simultaneously, cities are the first to sense and to respond to new changes, whether economic, political, cultural, social, or religious. In an ongoing process of social formation and deformation, participants of urban life invent ways of making their voices heard. Urban spaces are contested arenas where a multiplicity of interests, perspectives and discourses make their claims.

When urban spaces become the focus of inquiry, they tend to be perceived as architecturally built environments, physical containers for human conduct, put into place and remodelled by city planners and builders. By focussing on the distilled material forms, however, the dynamic production and reproduction of city space is too often left aside.

Departing from simple but detailed and personal yet reflected experiences of urbanity, we will focus on theories and observations which allow to understand the city as a geographic, discursive, cultural, social, and above all, affective and atmospheric space. We will inquire how the ordering and organization of urban life is continuously forged and challenged where new possibilities for work, citizenship and lifestyle emerge. There is movement and change, desires and passions, tensions and conflicts, politics and ideology that shape and reshape a city (and are shaped and reshaped by it in return). Studying urban spaces thus presents a potentially endless variety of observations, exemplifications and interpretations as well as potentially-to-be-written stories that re-vision and change the images and representations of public life in our cities.

In this year’s Academy, the city will be looked at as “inventive and creative spaces of affects and atmospheres” with surprising possibilities and perpetual uncertainties where creativity, entrepreneurship and innovation become realized in specific neighbourhoods. Often, this entails the contestation of established urban realities and (re)constructions of urban publics, which bring along such different affects as hope, anxiety, frustration or liveliness. This year’s course will focus especially on the multiple atmospheres and affects through which the neighbourhoods of various European cities can be experienced and felt, and lived and enlivened as they cope with multiple challenges (e.g. increasing tourism, gentrification, refugees, pandemic and ‘social distancing’) and respond locally with inventive and entrepreneurial dynamics. We ask the question how city life is differently produced and organized through various affects, rhythms, intensities, sensations and atmospheres as we walk different neighbourhoods of the city or get involved in some of its new activities or entrepreneurial projects.

With the various European cities (Berlin, Copenhagen, Paris, Venice and Zürich) as empirical base, teams of students are expected to conduct small ethnographic field studies by looking for and identifying themes in connection with various affective qualities and intensities that move and bring movement to urban life, its people and creative projects. Studying urban life through atmospheres and affective cartographies can be done through, for example, interviews, observations, pictures, sound recordings and video-takes, drawings and maps, reports and articles; the teams will then transform their empirical work into stories and performative accounts of affective and atmospheric space, by comparing the fieldwork from different European cities and so contributing to the affective cartography of Europe’s entrepreneurial neighbourhoods. As different projects are joining together their mappings and stories, the colours, sounds and rhythms of this creative cartography of affects and atmospheres comes alive.

Preliminary note

This summer academy—focusing on urban fieldwork of creativity and entrepreneurial neighbourhoods—will take part with various European universities by way of a virtual collaboration between students in different European cities: Paris, Venice, Copenhagen, Berlin (for the Lüneburg students) and Zürich (for the HSG-students). As we anticipate that international travelling will still be restricted in the middle of May, we will undertake this course with de-central fieldwork instead of meeting—as we have usually done in past versions of this course—in Berlin. In case, the COVID-19 situation might improve, we would still be able to return to this model and invite you to join us in Berlin.

Number of participants per university: 9 students.

If you would like to participate, please send a mail outlining your interest in the summer academy to timon.beyes@leuphana.de until April 5th, 2021.
You will be notified until April 9th, 2021.

 

General Information

The European Summer Academy is enabled by the German Haniel Foundation, and brings together MA students from five different European business schools and universities: the University of St. Gallen, the Copenhagen Business School, Leuphana University Lüneburg, Ca’Foscari University of Venice, and Paris Dauphine University.

In case the Academy can take place physically (in Berlin), thanks to the generous support of the Haniel Foundation we can offer free accommodation during the course from Sunday to Friday, as well as a travel cost refund.

Introductory sessions will take place independently at each of the participating universities. In case of a virtual collaboration, there will be a joint “second kick-off” through video conference on May 6th. On Monday morning (May 17th, 2021), all summer academy participants will come together virtually for the beginning of the block seminar and the course will run until 17:00 on Friday (May 21st).

 

Subject matter

“If the city is a text, how shall we read it?”
Joyce Carol Oates, Imaginary Cities: America

“The city is not only a text to be decoded, it is also a space to be written.”
Graeme Gilloch, Myth and Metropolis

“In a dérive one or more persons during a certain period drop their usual motives for movement and action, their relations, their work and leisure activities, and let themselves be drawn by the attractions of the terrain and the encounters they find there.”
Guy Debord, Theory of the Dérive

At the beginning of the 21st century, cities are, once again, at the center of intellectual and political attention and debate. Cities are laboratories for the configurations and significations of (post-)modernity, brimming with creativity and entrepreneurship. Nowhere are there so many potential fields of interaction as in the urban habitus: potential specialist or different vocations, dispositions or lifestyles will find articulations somewhere within urban spaces. Simultaneously, cities are the first to sense and to respond to new changes, whether economic, political, cultural, social, or religious. In an ongoing process of social formation and deformation, participants of urban life invent ways of making their voices heard. Urban spaces are contested arenas where a multiplicity of interests, perspectives and discourses make their claims.

When urban spaces become the focus of inquiry, they tend to be perceived as architecturally built environments, physical containers for human conduct, put into place and remodelled by city planners and builders. By focussing on the distilled material forms, however, the dynamic production and reproduction of city space is too often left aside.

Departing from simple but detailed and personal yet reflected experiences of urbanity, we will focus on theories and observations which allow to understand the city as a geographic, discursive, cultural, social, and above all, affective and atmospheric space. We will inquire how the ordering and organization of urban life is continuously forged and challenged where new possibilities for work, citizenship and lifestyle emerge. There is movement and change, desires and passions, tensions and conflicts, politics and ideology that shape and reshape a city (and are shaped and reshaped by it in return). Studying urban spaces thus presents a potentially endless variety of observations, exemplifications and interpretations as well as potentially-to-be-written stories that re-vision and change the images and representations of public life in our cities.

In this year’s Academy, the city will be looked at as “inventive and creative spaces of affects and atmospheres” with surprising possibilities and perpetual uncertainties where creativity, entrepreneurship and innovation become realized in specific neighbourhoods. Often, this entails the contestation of established urban realities and (re)constructions of urban publics, which bring along such different affects as hope, anxiety, frustration or liveliness. This year’s course will focus especially on the multiple atmospheres and affects through which the neighbourhoods of various European cities can be experienced and felt, and lived and enlivened as they cope with multiple challenges (e.g. increasing tourism, gentrification, refugees, pandemic and ‘social distancing’) and respond locally with inventive and entrepreneurial dynamics. We ask the question how city life is differently produced and organized through various affects, rhythms, intensities, sensations and atmospheres as we walk different neighbourhoods of the city or get involved in some of its new activities or entrepreneurial projects.

With the various European cities (Berlin, Copenhagen, Paris, Venice and Zürich) as empirical base, teams of students are expected to conduct small ethnographic field studies by looking for and identifying themes in connection with various affective qualities and intensities that move and bring movement to urban life, its people and creative projects. Studying urban life through atmospheres and affective cartographies can be done through, for example, interviews, observations, pictures, sound recordings and video-takes, drawings and maps, reports and articles; the teams will then transform their empirical work into stories and performative accounts of affective and atmospheric space, by comparing the fieldwork from different European cities and so contributing to the affective cartography of Europe’s entrepreneurial neighbourhoods. As different projects are joining together their mappings and stories, the colours, sounds and rhythms of this creative cartography of affects and atmospheres comes alive.

 

Learning goals

  1. Students learn to understand affective atmospheres of urban neighbourhoods by studying them in an ethnographic way
  2. Students understand and reflect critically upon urban transformation by practices of walking, straying, drifting and witnessing
  3. Students develop ethnographic competences with regards to data collection, data analysis and creative presentation.
  4. Students develop comparative skills of virtual and physical fieldwork.

 

Structure

In order to detect, observe and describe urban traces of newness, creativity and entrepreneurship with regard to a city’s affective unfolding, students are expected to participate fully and actively in all parts of the seminar – both fieldwork and virtual exchange.

The students will work in project teams around different concrete urban locations or neighbourhoods of their local European city which they study conceptually, empirically and practically as they map intensities of atmospheres and movements of affect.

Besides a kick-off and individual conceptual preparation, the course consists of a 5-day learning event, consisting of fieldwork and virtual exchange on methodological and conceptual preparation, and a final (virtual) project presentation.

The five-day on site-ethnographic seminar will unfold in the following way. The first day, we will form project groups and undertake preparatory methodological exercises. The second day, groups undertake fully their fieldwork while we also discuss the conceptual focus of the group’s project. The first part of day three consists of focused fieldwork, while during the second part, groups take on data-organization and data-interpretation. Also, the fourth day consists of ethnographic work and further analysis while developing the storyboard and script of their project. During the final day, groups use the morning to finalize their project presentation, which are performed and reflected during the afternoon.

 

Examination format (Lüneburg)

Written (individual) preparatory paper, to be handed in until May 12, 18.00.
Since the exam format is tied to the summer academy, where full participation is expected, there is no option of re-examination.

 

Preparatory Literature

A compendium of articles will be available at the beginning of the Semester.