The graduate students and Directors of the Centre for Urban Conflict Research, University of Cambridge, and the Dipartimento di Architettura e Progetto, Sapienza, gathered in Rome in May 2014 for a three-day workshop. The purpose of the workshop was to establish academic relations based on the common interests of the two groups. A total of ten graduate papers were presented. Each paper received comments from a discussant from the other university. This method allowed for a constructive feedback and a rigorous discussion and was followed by an extended open discussion with the audience of special guests, university lecturers and students. The workshop also included two public lectures by the Centre for Urban Conflicts Research Directors. Dr Wendy Pullan, the Director of UCR, presented her work on museums of national struggle and the institutionalisation of conflict memories, showing how narratives of violent resistance are represented through diverse spatial forms. Dr. Maximilian Sternberg, UCR Deputy Director, presented his work on the bi-communal representations of trauma in Polish-German border towns, examining the development of the social and urban relations between the two parts of towns which were divided between the two states after WWII.
The two day workshop included presentations and discussions on topics related to contemporary urbanism. Smart City, urban sustainability and localism were discussed in relation to different issues such as the encouragement of cooperation between public institutions and private initiatives which would influence the development of the public realm. Contested urbanism was also a subject widely discussed in different aspects such as urban post-conflict reconstruction, mobilities and everyday life in divided cities, the use of different spatial policies, actions and devises as part of territorial negotiations and struggles, and profound architectural and urban changes generated by radical socio-cultural transformation.
The third day was devoted to site visits in Rome. Prof. Marco Brazzoduro from Sapienza Dipartimento di Scienze Sociali, a sociologist who extensively studied the Roma camps in the city, presented a review on the subject. His talk was followed by visits to three ‘authorised’ camps in East Rome - Salviati 1&2 and Salone.
The Rome workshop will be followed by a joint workshop in Cambridge in September 2014.