Communicative Cities & Cultural Diversity: Symposium 2018

A SYMPOSIUM with speakers including Myria Georgiou (LSE), Paul Carter (RMIT), Audrey Yue (NUS), Mark Andrejevic (Monash), Kristy Kang (NTU), Eddie Patterson (UOM), Danielle Wyatt (UOM)

Contemporary cities are historically distinctive lived environments marked by high degrees of cultural diversity. This diversity takes various forms, from long-term impact of national and transnational migrations to the growing pluralisation of public cultures, as different groups have sought to contest the assumptions and forms of male-dominated, heteronormative conceptions of public sphere and public space. At the turn of the 20th century, urban sociologists such as Simmel recognised that the scale of the modern city created a novel situation: living among 'strangers' meant that urban inhabitants were 'thrown' into an existential situation define by a new diversity in one's neighbours.

Today the cultural diversity of contemporary cities is marked by new tensions. Formal support for multicultural diversity and the growing visibility of new forms of cultural expression from a range of previously marginalised urban actors is counterpointed by heightened tensions about diversity. Awareness of the extent to which modern 'public culture' and 'public space' was historically organised around structural exclusions based on race and ethnicity, gender, sexuality and embodiment is being matched by the growth of digital systems capable of turning cities into highly surveilled spaced defined by fine-grained 'software sorting' of inhabitants.

This symposium will build on the understanding of the communicative city developed in two earlier gatherings: the Communicative Cities Symposium held in Melbourne in 2016, and the Communicative Cities and Urban Space Symposium held in Shanghai in 2017. In keeping with the co-constitutive approach adopted at those meetings, the Symposium will use the optic of the 'communicative city' to explore the contemporary condition of cultural diversity, while at the same time using 'cultural diversity' as an analytical frame for refining our understanding of the forms and practices of a communicative city. The one-day symposium will involve a series of presentations, with significant time reserved for collective discussion. We will address the following questions: How does diversity and complexity in the communicative city:

  • affect the uses of public space by people from diverse backgrounds (including ethnicity, age, sexuality, gender and bodily ability)?
  • provoke new practices and relations of urban communication and cultural expression?
  • require alternative frameworks for understanding culture and governance?

Event details

Date: Thursday 6 December 2018
Time: 9.00am - 5.30pm
Venue: Arts West (Building 148) Room 553 (North Wing) University of Melbourne Parkville 3010

Enquiries: rupc-info@unimelb.edu.au

Bookings: Bookings are requested for this free symposium.