CALL FOR PROPOSALS Summer Session 2020

CALL FOR PROPOSALS Summer Session 2020

Home and Belonging

Urban Studies: Between Creativity and Power 

Nordic Summer University Summer Session

26 July – 2 August 2020

Location: World Wide Web/Local initiatives

NSU 2020 will take place in an adjusted format because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

All the important updates and detailed information about the NSU Summer Session can be found here:


We invite scholars, emerging researchers, urban practitioners, artists and creative industries specialists, institutional representatives and non-governmental sector activists to take part in a symposium organized by the NSU study circle Urban Studies: Between Creativity and Power. The symposium will offer an opportunity to take part in stimulating presentations and discussions to co-produce knowledge by sharing research and practical experiences and discovering innovative theoretical and methodological approaches tothe everyday life in the city. 

Theme of the symposium: 

Home and Belonging

The participants are invited to address the meaning of home, which is complex and multifaceted in the times of extended mobility and nomadic practices (migration, tourism, multiple homes, homelessness etc.). We see the current events of global pandemic COVID-19 as especially provoking environment to readdress the meaning and practices of home and belonging. Home as a construct has a deep emotional meaning and often intertwined with nostalgia emerging from childhood memories, feeling of comfort, privacy, attachment, security and belonging. Losing one’s home can feel like losing one’s self. However, home can also have conflicted or variable meanings presenting tensions, alienation and exclusion. Recently, home has also experienced certain transformations with all kinds of integrated media as, for example, can be evidenced in the “smart home/house” and the “home-office”, thus overlapping with other places and spaces. The topics of exploration include, but are not limited to: 

  1. what counts as home;
  2. how home is lived and experienced by people as a place
  3. the significance of home as a space;
  4. the accessibility/inaccessibility of home; 
  5. how power dynamics and socio-economic conditions impact the concept of  home;
  6. how technology can influence how and where we feel at home; 
  7. how home is gendered and contested.

The adjusted format: Traces

Given the unprecedented global situation and the related restrictions caused by COVID-19 pandemic, the NSU Summer Session this year will be implemented in an adjusted and alternative format. As a physical meeting of large groups in the summer will most likely be restricted, NSU has come up with a proposal of an alternative format for the summer activities.  The proposal for the participants this year is to create a Trace (please see below for more detailed description). It is opening a space for traditional and unconventional collaborations and academic research, experiments, unusual meet-ups, creative interventions and other innovative approaches, taking the advantage of the current environment, instead of collapsing under the restrictions. Since it is a “trace”, the documentation, accessibility and shareability aspects are crucial.

What is a Trace?

A trace is defined as the outcome of our Circle’s activities in the Summer Session 2020. A trace is documented and can be archived or presented as a form of evidence. A trace can have a variety of formats: it can be an article written or co-written by you or a discussion held among our Circle’s members, it can be a virtual meet-up or a localized interdisciplinary micro meet-up between members of different circles in a form that is permitted, an online podcast or interviews – you name it! The format is not restricted in any way; however, as coordinators we will organize a shortlisting procedure of the proposed traces. We will evaluate the potential outcome, creative and academic contribution, quality and shareability of the proposed trace.

Also, the Board of NSU has defined the following guidelines for the shortlisting of the proposed Traces:

  1. produced by a single individual or group of participants;
  2. sharable and open to all during the Summer Session time frame;
  3. fitting to NSU’s overall goals, aims and vision;
  4. related to the circle’s theme;
  5. created with its main language English or a Scandinavian or Baltic language;
  6. those who make a trace must be a member of NSU (pay membership fee) & participate in the democratic forum of NSU (may become a delegate for the General Assembly meeting);
  7. the team or individual creating a trace needs to provide some promotion material considered as an INVITATION to the trace, before the Summer Session with: picture & 200-500 words;
  8. those who make a trace need to provide a brief report of the trace to their coordinator (form to be provided by NSU, including amount of participants, goals, etc.) after the trace has been produced.

As always, NSU is particularly interested in supporting people who are at the outskirts of the Nordic region – the Baltic and West-Nordic communities as well as those with special needs. So please do inform us if your application of a Trace grant falls under the regional support or if the pandemic has had particular financial consequences to you. 

To submit a proposal of a Trace, please send it via email to the coordinators Laine Kristberga and Anete Ušča (circle1nsu@gmail.comby 31 May 2020:

  1. A written proposal (max. 350 words). This should include a title and a short description of the topic, its format and its outcome (add visual materials, if necessary);
  2. A short bio (max. 200 words).

The NEW deadline to submit proposals is 31 May 2020. Accepted applicants will be informed by e-mail and a preliminary programme will be announced on the NSU website, where you can also find more information about NSU and sign up for the newsletter.

The accepted participants will be notified by the 15 June, including all the relevant details regarding the registration. 

Grants and Scholarships

A Trace will enable you to also receive a grant, which supports the creation of that trace. Each circle will be able to suggest 6 traces to be given a grant of 7000 Danish Krones for each trace. Traces can be made individually or together with other participants. In case we receive a large number of exciting proposals for the Traces, we will consider a possibility to split the grants in slightly smaller amounts, to encourage a greater diversity of projects. 

The participants will need to pay the Nordic Summer University’s annual membership fee. The membership fee facilitates the existence of the Nordic Summer University, which is a volunteer-based organisation. In the times of COVID-19, there are two optional choices: 

Annual membership fee: €25 

Annual membership fee: €10 

Nordic Summer University (NSU) is a Nordic network for research and interdisciplinary studies.

NSU is a nomadic, academic institution, which organises workshop-seminars across disciplinary and national borders. Since it was established in 1950, Nordic Summer University has organised forums for cultural and intellectual debate in the Nordic and Baltic region, involving students, academics, politicians, and intellectuals from this region and beyond.

Decisions about the content and the organisational form of the NSU lay with its participants. The backbone of the activities in the NSU consists of its thematic study circles. In the study circles researchers, students and professionals from different backgrounds collaborate in scholarly investigations distributed regularly in summer and winter symposia during a three-year period.

Circle 1 Urban Studies: Between Creativity and Power is established to address, evaluate and re-evaluate the understanding of the growing complexity of the urban environment, where people cohabit, share and create a culture of politics, communication, and the arts as much as the public space. Consequently, in the study circle questions of co-existence will be addressed in relation to power hierarchies, cultural production, and urban development initiatives. The circle invites to stimulate and strengthen a dialogue among both established and emerging academics and practitioners from interdisciplinary fields covering philosophy, anthropology, sociology, geography, political science, literature and arts to challenge and develop new knowledge, innovative perspectives and experimental approaches. 

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