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COST Action 18126 Writing Urban Places proposes an innovative investigation and implementation of a process for developing the human understanding of communities, their society, and their situatedness, by narrative methods. It focuses particularly on the potential of narrative methods for urban development in European medium-sized cities.


Dear members of the Writing Urban Places Action, 

As we write this newsletter, we enter the final year of our COST Action Writing Urban Places. In the past few years, we have been able to establish and expand this dynamic and diverse network, which brought people from various disciplinary and geographical backgrounds together - physically, in our meetings and training schools in different European cities, and virtually, in webinars and zoom meetings, email correspondences, website posts and padlets. Our meetings gradually moved from a focus on working groups, to cross-working group workshops. Since September 2021, when after covid-19 restrictions were gradually lifted and in-person meetings became possible again, we have met in Tallinn, Porto, Osijek, Tampere, Canakkale and Skopje, for fieldwork events and training schools.
This newsletter - and the Open Meeting following on Oct 19th -  will present short reports on the most recent events, in Canakkale and Skopje. Meanwhile, many publication initiatives have been realized and are still in progress. This fall we expect the launch of three new publications: the Repository of Methods, the Writingplace#7 journal issue on fieldwork, and a book presenting the results of the workshop in Canakkale. Meanwhile, the coming period holds promises for our Other Destinations translation project and an issue of NALANS.
Our great ambition for the coming year is to publish a Writing Urban Places book, reflecting on the work that has been done, its relevance for ‘new narratives for the European city and enduring evidence for future research and projects. The book will contain work by all four working groups and will present, as case studies, the mid-size European cities where we have held our meetings, training school and fieldwork activities. Further, the plans for this coming final year include a fieldwork event / training school in Tirana, Albania, and the last event in Delft, Netherlands, where all outcomes will be presented.

From the Action Chairs, 
Susana Oliveira & Klaske Havik


Open Meeting #2

On the 29th of June, Working Group 1 organized and hosted online the seasonal Open Meeting to discuss the news, events, and calls included in our 8th Newsletter. This new space of open conversations and collaborations responds to our engagement to continue improving communication among ourselves.


Narrating Hiedanranta:
Stories of Objects and Subjects of Urban Places 

The workshop Narrating Hiedanranta: Stories of Objects and Subjects of Urban Places was held in Tampere, Finland, from 8 – 10 June 2022. The three-day workshop took place in a former industrial complex called Hiedanranta, located on the shores of Lake Näsijärvi and inhabited by diverse cultural actors/activists that work on individual as well as collective projects rendering a unique, haptic, and creative character to the site. The area, however, is currently undergoing a dramatic transformation. Due to a large urban development project, the material substrate of the site as well as the internal dynamics of Hiedanranta are being affected. Some buildings have already been demolished and several cultural actors have been permanently displaced. Within this context, the local organizing team in Tampere - Elina Alatalo, Dalia Milían Bernal and Panu Lehtovuori - organized the workshop to gather, understand and retell the stories of different actors and their relationship to their sites of action exploring visual methods, poetic practices, and narrative interviews. Read more on our webpage.

Here are some of the local activists that we met in Hiedanranta. 


The three-day workshop kicked off with a powerful and thought-provoking presentation by professor Luc Pauwels about visual methods and their trajectory and history within the social sciences, followed by a guided walk through the different spaces in Hiedanranta. And in the evening, all the participants gathered in a café in the city center of Tampere to learn the story of different grassroots movements in the city through short films - a visual tour guided by Dalia Milián Bernal and Elina Alatalo joined by some of the members active in some of the places presented. You may watch the recording here.

And here are some testimonials and takeaways from our participants.

Thinking & Experiencing Urban Places

Organized and hosted by İstanbul Bilgi University Department of International Relations, Turkey, the Seminar New Ways of Thinking about/and Experiencing Urban Places: ’77 Minor Terms for Writing Urban Places’ gathered our COST Action members Sernaz Arslan, Giuseppe Resta, Sonja Novak and Klaske Havik on June 9, 2022.

COST Connect – New European Bauhaus

On 9 and 10 June, our action vice-chair Susana Oliveira and communication manager Jorge Mejía Hernández participated in an event with other COST Actions related to the creative industries and the built environment. Read more on our website.

The city and the myth:
Journey to Çanakkale 

The fieldwork organized by Giuseppe Resta, 18 – 20 July 2022, consisted of landscape explorations of what is believed to be the setting of the mythic Troy, overlooking the Dardanelles strait. Following the outdoor itineraries, the participants produced a photographic essay and collected a personal visual interpretation of Çanakkale, writing a short fictional piece accompanying their visual material, collected in a personal travelogue, which will reflect the experience of the journey that each participant took on in Çanakkale, exploring the narrative potential of the myth and the site.

Skopje Brutalism Trail 

The fieldwork organized by Slobodan VelevskiMarija Mano Velevska, Blagoja Bajkovski and Ana Rafailovska, 28-30 September 2022 in Skopje, North Macedonia, focused on buildings from the brutalist legacy of the city dating from the 1970s and were approached from a theatrical perspective. The aim was to explore the meaningfulness of architecture that goes beyond the discursive or visual observations of spatial attributes. During the workshop, the participants established their own relationship with a particular abandoned building in a lively residential area in the city of Skopje. Following onsite investigations, they developed their personal understanding of the workshop’s three main themes: brutalism (brutalist architecture), solidarity/community building and creative writing in relation to the abandoned building.

STSM Grants 2022 

“My Osijek: Other Perspectives of Dwelling the City” 
Angeliki Sioli

The project “My Osijek: Other Perspectives of Dwelling the City” took me to the mid-sized Croatian city Osijek at the end of August 2022. I had the chance to examine two novels, that describe the city, and juxtapose them to the contemporary urban and human topography. These novels were: A Past Rescued From Oblivion (originally published in German, Croatian 1994/ English 2020) by Wilma Vukelich (1850-1956) and Unterstadt (2009) by Ivana Šojat Kuči (born in 1971). They both capture Osijek, transitioning from the 19th to the 20th Century, with remarkable historical accuracy. Unterstadt additionally describes the city at the beginning of the 21st Century, as its protagonist returns to Osijek to discover the (hi)story of her family. Both novels are written by female authors, have female protagonists, and portray the struggles of different communities (families of German descent and Jewish respectively) in their attempt to integrate and define their identity within the urban context. Read more here.

STSM Grants 2022 

Urban Mythologies 
Sergios Strigklogiannis

Through the Short Term Scientific Mission of  ‘Writing Urban Places’, the research was brought to the city of Basel in order, on the one hand, to get acquainted with local myths and the way they are visible in the city, and on the other to analyse how the main narratives (and counter-narratives) are connected with specific urban issues of the city. The research focus was inspired by the rivalry between two parts of the city Kleinbasel and Grossbasel which has its roots in certain historical events and is dramatized in its public spaces and in local folklore stories and myths.  Read more here.

COST Action Writing Urban Places looks at what our future urban cities reveal

The majority of the global population currently lives in urban areas, and this is expected to increase in the future. Thus, the current context of European cities offers unprecedented challenges for urban planners, architects, and policymakers. Factors like migration, ageing of the population, gentrification, and demographic shrinkage have an impact on urban identities. Read more.
The page has also been added to the Alpha Galileo media website

The workshop The city and the myth was presented on the Yeditepe University in Istanbul webpage.
The workshop Skopje Brutalism Trail was presented on the webpage of the Faculty of Architecture, of the SS. CYRIL AND METHODIUS UNIVERSITY IN SKOPJE .
The workshop Skopje Brutalism Trail in Skopje's Радио МОФ
The workshop Skopje Brutalism Trail in Skopje's newspaper Независен Весник
During the past quarter, WG1 has started taking preliminary steps toward the final period of our action. Adjustments have been made to our website, aiming to make it more accessible, attractive, and capable of meeting the demands of other working groups. This ongoing process has been complemented by an equally evolving presence in social media.
As proposed we have gotten some attention from local media from the cities where we have developed our fieldwork projects and events. Adding to that process we have issued a press release that has been circulated through specialized platforms, aiming to get more attention from journalists and the broader public.
In this direction, our next steps demand that we shift from simply registering and communicating news and events, to engaging in active conversation with a broader public via key figures and institutions that can help us amplify our communication. With this objective in mind we cordially invite you to let us know if there’s a particular individual or institution beyond academia that seems particularly interesting to start a conversation with, first by following them on social media, and then by addressing them directly with aspects of our work that could be especially interesting or dear to them. Please send us your suggestions via your WG leaders or by filling in this form as soon as possible.
Next to this increase in our media activity and presence, we have continued exploring possibilities for our final publication. Within the limits defined by COST, we aim to reach a broad and diverse public with the results of our work over the past years.
The spring and summer of 2022 were for WG2 by no means without activities: we organized an online meeting for WG2 members in two sessions: one being organized on the 26th of May, and the other on the 2nd of June 2022. There were more than twenty members present at those meetings where we discussed ongoing activities, but more importantly, the parameters of the mid-sized city. WG2 has also participated actively in the Open Days of our COST Actions organized by WG1 with special breakout rooms where we discussed ongoing activities such as the Other Destinations project. We also presented the Vademecum in a hybrid event at Bilgi University in Istanbul on 9th June 2022. Furthermore, the Canakkale workshop organized on 18-20 July 2022 in Turkey was a great success. There will be an extended report on this fieldwork event and preparations to publish a booklet with workshop results are underway, so stay tuned and check out our website every so often. Our members also organized an STSM in Osijek, for which there will also be a report.  
Since then, we have very actively started contributing to the final COST publication (book) and our members will be the leading organizers of the final event of our COST Action in Delft. Thus, our agenda for the upcoming period revolves around finishing the Other Destinations project, a special issue of the NALANS journal, contributing to the final COST book and starting the preparations for the closing event in Delft.

WG3 has had a very active and inspiring year. Following the call for contributions to the Repository of Methods — which opened in December —  in early Spring, we held an open meeting to invite network members to contribute to the Repository of Methods (book) and offered a Q&A session to discuss the call. By the deadline, we had received almost 50 contributions. In June, WG3 helped organize the Narrating Hiedanranta workshop in Tampere, where several group members met to brainstorm future activities. In July, our working group supported the workshop in Çanakkale. Currently, we are focusing on the final stages of the editing process of the Repository of Methods book, which we hope will be available soon. This book is the result of a collective effort that will offer a set of methods and assignments to stimulate new approaches in architecture, urban planning, other fields of spatial development, and urban studies. It is also intended to invite creative, often embodied, sometimes playful engagements with the material and immaterial dimensions of urban places, within academia and beyond. Following the publication of the Repository of Methods, WG3 will start working on a book chapter that will discuss the role of urban narratives and the methods to locate, understand and construct them whilst reflecting on the efforts and activities of WG3 to find and gather such methods. Upcoming year, our working group will focus on disseminating the book and, in collaboration with other working groups, we will organize one or two activities to encourage members to use the Repository of Methods (book), undertake one assignment, and report back at our final meeting in Delft.  

The Grand Period 3 of our COST Action was mostly dedicated to organizing a series of fieldwork events in different mid-sized European cities. Working Group 4 (WG 4) as the responsible party has supported and coordinated all initiated fieldwork events from March to late September 2022. Namely, the doctoral training school that was held in Osijek and the first fieldwork workshop in Tampere, Finland that were organized in the first half of the year, and the ones in Çanakkale, Turkey and Skopje, N. Macedonia, in the second part of the year. Workshops in Çanakkale and Skopje were organized within three days, The city and the myth: journey to Çanakkale took place between 18-20 July, while Skopje Brutalism Trail unfolded from 28-30 September. In accordance with the previously established praxis of fieldwork events, the last one will take place in Tirana. This initiative is planned to take part in the mid of March 2023, thus complementing the framework of activities planned for the grand period 4 of the Action. The call for participation for this workshop will be announced on our website no later than November 30, 2022. The team of WG4 is also involved in two editorial initiatives of the Action. The first one refers to the completion of the latest issue of Writing Places Journal No. 7. Currently, this issue is in its final stage of the peer review process and editing and is planned to be published by the end of October 2022. This issue will have a series of texts that approach fieldwork case studies not as a critical overview of historical examples, but as fieldwork cases comprehended and afterward critically examined by the authors of the texts themselves. Members of our working group are also involved in the process of preparing the book dedicated to the activities and research topics of the COST Action CA18126 Writing Urban Places: New Narratives of the European City. For this purpose, they will provide the necessary coordination among each of the contributing parties in the following period. 


Open Meeting #3

Let us meet on Wednesday, October 19, between 13:00 and 15:00 CET.
ZOOM Meeting link.
Meeting ID: 894 1036 9870
Passcode: 333686

 Upcoming events 

> Continue running our internal and external communication, via the website, social media, and local media from the cities where we develop our fieldwork projects and events.
> Engage in an even broader conversation with citizens and institutions, via individuals or organizations that can amplify our messages.
> Produce the Newsletter and organize the next Open Meeting.
> Contribute to the development and production of the final publication.

Finishing the project Other Destinations. Translating the Mid-sized European City
Special issue of the Journal of Narrative and Language Studies
> Contributing to the final COST book and starting the preparations for the closing event in Delft.

> Publication of the Repository of Methods (book).
> Dissemination of the RoM book.
> Activities to use and test different methods, and the final event in Delft.
> Preparing the chapter about the methods for the final publication of the COST Action.

> Organizing the next fieldwork event in Tirana next March.
> Publication of Writing Place #7 - Taking Place: Reflections on Fieldwork.
> Preparation of the participation of WG4 in the final event in Delft.
> Preparing the chapter about fieldwork for the final publication of the COST Action.
Copyright © COST Action 18126, All rights reserved.

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COST Project · Delft University of Technology · Delft, South Netherlands 2600 AA Delft · Netherlands

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