CALL FOR PAPERS / Deadline 25th May 2018

OPEN SESSIONS: 29th-30th June 2018
VENUE: Fabrica de Creació Fabra I Coats/Barcelona
Art , design and urban spaces from research and action

Are "neighbourhood" and "culture" antagonistic, analogous, combinable, contrasting, outdated areas of study? The relationships between culture and neighbourhood are often complex and unclear. It is not the same to speak of culture in the neighbourhood as it is to speak of “a neighbourhood culture”. Some neighbourhoods concentrate most cultural infrastructures, and others are true deserts. Neighbourhoods without cultural infrastructures have aroused a great interest among creators, as they embrace a very high symbolic capital, in spite of being outside the map of cultural activities. There are urban planning operations which have used culture to speculate and negotiate with spatial transformation, and to displace local ways of life. There are true connections and disconnections between neighbourhoods and culture.

NEXUS + E-SPACE / OPEN SESSIONS will take the form of active meeting, in which to discuss, empower and draw attention to case studies regarding hybridisation between neighbourhood development and artistic practices. Rather than answering a question with multiple answers, or creating new theses, the Open Sessions will offer a space of exploration, including debates and exchanges of experience in social and art projects, facilitating connections between neighbourhood  and socio-cultural strategies.
Rather than creating new theses, the aim is to relax the connections between neighbourhood and culture, to analyse existing projects and to test out possible courses of action. Rather than bringing together a showcase of model projects, the intention is to create a pool of experiences which bring artistic practices to the neighbourhood. To create a space for critical analysis, to review the possibility of connecting spaces to those who live among them, and to artistic and cultural activity. To raise the profile of the culture generated from stories, identities, conflicts and situations which arise in urban contexts. The neighbourhood as a space for research and cultural production in which to activate proposals from the field of creation, focusing on art and design.

In many cities, the idea and the reclamation of the neighbourhood are undergoing a resurgence. In Barcelona the concept of “the neighbourhood” is gaining strength, and is claimed as a stronghold of identity, belonging, authenticity, local community, reality; a solid place from which to cope with the flows of contemporary mobility. The projection and vision of the city are usually summarised in its slogans. From the previous "Barcelona Inspira", aimed at generating a business-friendly space for creators, entrepreneurs or young talents, we have moved on to "Sóc de Barri" (I’m from the neighbourhood), which emphasises the fact of living and participating in the construction of the city and of neighbourhood culture. This integrating, revitalising and nostalgic perspective upon the neighbourhood contrasts with a reality filled with disconnections, labour mobility, precariousness of spaces and lives, a lack of identification with place, among other problems. Given this new discourse, there are several issues related to the isolation and the connection between differing concepts of the neighbourhood, and their relationships to culture. From the point of view of artistic practices, we consider that the neighbourhood is, and always has been, a place for exploring narratives, analysing urban configurations, collective constructions, image construction, prefigured imaginaries.
These open sessions bring together processes and projects deployed in several cities, which reveal how neighbourhood and culture can become the motor for multiple actions combining creation, critical , social, and political action, deployed within the context.

Is there such a thing as neighbourhood identity? How do we understand the relationship between neighbourhood and culture? Is there a neighbourhood culture? Venues, services, relationships, symbology, circulation, community, housing, work, public space; which of these articulating elements of the neighbourhood are related to cultural action? Are culture and quality of life related? How is the capital made from cultural projects based on popular involvement distributed? Is culture a space of precariousness?  Is the neighbourhood a favourable environment in which to tackle precariousness? Can the arts introduce changes to neighbourhood cultures ?  Is there research in the field of art and design applied to  neighbourhoods under a process of transition towards social and urban transformation?

The Open Sessions include Debates, a project showcase, local project exchange tables.

Interventions on the conceptual principles between neighbourhoods and artistic practices, research and applied design, with debates and open dialogue spaces.
The proposed lines of work are:

- Arts residencies and art practice in a specific context.
- Schizophrenia between the local and the visitor.

- Cultural, livelihood, and spatial precariousness

Is applied art and design research a useful tool for neighbourhood transformation?

(The detailed programme is going to be published shortly)

The project showcase combines international guest projects, and projects selected through an open call for projects observing:
- Research projects in art and design applied to specific urban contexts.
- Projects, or art and design programmes, which affect, which raise awareness of, or which are actively involved in, a specific urban context.

An exchange for pooling information and experiences, as well as discussing venues, local agents, projects and organisations which may be active in weaving the social and cultural fabric of the neighbourhood. These round-tables have been designed to promote and publicise active initiatives in the urban context, and to break projects down into their different components, in order to learn more about those factors which contribute to their success, as well as the difficulties which stand in their way. The selection of projects is carried out by members who form part of the Local Observatory.


Open call for papers (research and communication) to participate in the “Project Showcase” section  during NEXES/ Open Sessions about Neighbourhoods and Art Practices. 

Who may apply?
The call is aimed at artists, designers, architects, anthropologists, urban geographers, sociologists, art historians, and students of these and other disciplines which contribute research within the proposed subjects.

Conditions of participation

-The authors of papers selected in this call will participate in the conference as part of the official programming.

- Each contributor who participates in the NEXES | Open Sessions will perceive 60 euros in concept of fees.
- Each contributor will have 15 minutes to present the paper as part of of the conference.

- Papers may form part of the digital publication to follow the conference which include the topics and projects proposed by NEXES - iD Barrio BCN. 

- A certificate shall be issued by  EINA, Centro Universitario de Diseño y Arte part of the extended campus of the Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona, that will accredit participation as speaker in the NEXES/ Open Sessions on Neighbourhoods and Art Practices.

- IDENSITAT, EINA-UAB, Fabra and Coats Fábrica de Creació will use photographs and images generated during this event for their specific communication, and / or publications derived from the conference. 

Requirements to participate

- Fill in and send the form, with the material, in a single PDF document before May 25, 2018.

- Summary (Abstract) of the paper, with a maximum length of 400 words, and a list of 4 key words.

- Summary CV (maximum 2 pages). 


Communications selection

Selection in this call will be made by members of Idensitat and the Design Research Group for Social Innovation. Art and Design in / for the Transition 


Open Sessions on Neighbourhoods and Art Practices is part of NEXES and E-SPACE. It is organised by IDENSITAT and EINA, Centro Universitario de Diseño y Arte adscrito a la Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona, with the support of, Fàbrica de Creació Fabra i Coats and MINECO FFI2015 -64138-P Generating Knowledge in Artistic Research: Towards an Alternative Account, Meeting points of Philosophy, Art and Design. IP. Gerard Vilar, and Art For Change programme of Fundación CaixaBank