“Emplotting Urban Change” at the Annual Meeting of Finnish Geographers

Presenting a paper on Emplotting Urban Change: Turning Soft Knowledge into the Built Environment at the Annual Meeting of Finnish Geographers, University of Tampere, 29.10.2015.

The paper is part of a session on soft and hard planning, with Vesa Kanninen, Pia Bäcklund and Simin Davoudi.

Abstract below:

“This paper examines the importance of narrative concepts – emplotment, in particular – for the understanding of contemporary urban planning practices. Planning has increasingly been understood in terms of narrative, as a form of “persuasive story-telling” (Throghmorton 1996). Drawing on narrative and literary theory, however, has been rare in planning theory to date. Narrative emplotment (White 1981) can
provide an analytical framework with which to analyze planning narratives and rhetorics, and the dialogue between planning narratives and stories told by local stakeholders. One of the key arguments made is that narrative theory may constitute a key to examine and adapt cities’ and citizens’ soft knowledge, which is largely encoded in sets of stories (including literature, media narratives, biographies).”

New Publication out: Youngsters as Producers and Consumers of Visual Material – Parkour

New publication out, as part of the parkour research carried out together with Sirpa Tani.

The article (in Finnish), examines youngsters as producers and consumers of visual materials, with a focus on parkour practitioners and the way they use visual materials in their practice of parkour.

The article is published in a book on visual methods in children and youth research, with a wide range of approaches to this fascinating subject.

TANI, SIRPA & AMEEL, LIEVEN 2015: “Nuoret visuaalisten aineistojen tuottajina ja kuluttajina – esimerkkinä parkour.” (“Youngsters as producers and consumers of visual materials – case parkour.”) In Böök, Marja Leena et al. (eds.): Visuaaliset menetelmät lapsuuden- ja nuorisotutkimuksessa (Visual methods in children and youth research). Helsinki: Nuorisotutkimusseura, 149-158.

NORNA 46 & place names as indicators of meaning in Helsinki novels

Today (22.10.2015) at NORNAs 46th symposium “Namn och identitet” (University of Tampere), Terhi Ainiala presents our joint research on place names as indicators of meaning in Helsinki novels. Research on the intersection between toponyms, presencing place, literary geography, and onomastics.

Ainiala Terhi & Ameel Lieven: Ortnamn som indikatorer för ortens anda: namn i Helsingfors-romaner. NORNA:s 46:e symposium: Namn och identitet 22.10.2015. Tampere.

Tainaron: Translation in Dutch out!

Leena Krohn’s Tainaron, one of the most fascinating modern classics in Finnish literature, has appeared for the first time in Dutch translation.


It’s an intriguing novel-as-collection-of-letters, reminiscent of Calvino’s Invisible Cities (and of Auster’s In the Country of Last Things). Rooted in utopian literature, the epistolary novel, and classics from entomology / insect studies, this book is an intriguing reflection on questions of humanity itself, and an excellent introduction into the work of Leena Krohn.

I wrote the epilogue (in Dutch), which can be found here.

One of the most fascinating aspects of the novel is the way in which it envisions an urban environment that is (at times) recognizably Helsinki, but that simultaneously blurs into a variety of overlaying, palimpsestic layers of meaning in which past and future, the realm of death and the realm of dreams, intersect.

The translation of Tainaron in English can be found at Krohn’s website, here.

Sybaris and Other Homes (1869) and the appeal of utopian suburbia

Looking forward to the 5th HLCN symposium, where I’ll present on Edward E. Hale’s Sybaris and Other Homes (1869) and the appeal of utopian suburbia. Other presentations by Jason Finch and Anni Lappela, and readings in urban cultural studies and literary geographies.

Full program below:

5th HLCN symposium, 13.10.2015

University of Tampere
Time and place: 11h-16h
B4075 (English corridor) from 11 to 14
B3112 (by the main stairs, 3rd floor) from 14 to 16.
Pinni B / Kanslerinrinne 1 / University of Tampere

11.00-12.00     Literary Second Cities editorial board meeting (closed)
12.00-13.00    Network meeting: developments in HLCN, possible name change, tasks ahead (open, registration required)
13.00 -14.00    Lunch break

14.00-15.00    Presentations
Anni Lappela (University of Helsinki): “Provincial City and Local, National and Transnational Identities in Russian Realistic Prose Fiction in the  2000s.” Research Plan Presentation.
Jason Finch (Åbo Akademi University): “Everyday Stories: Textual and Visual Cultures of Public Housing in Post-Slum Britain, 1920-2020”
Lieven Ameel (University of Tampere): “Edward E. Hale’s Sybaris and Other Homes (1869) and the appeal of utopian suburbia.”

15.00-16.00    Theory Reading
•    Fraser, Benjamin 2015: “Urban cultural studies – a manifesto (Part 1)” Journal for Urban Cultural Studies 2014: 1, pp. 3-17(15).
•    Neal Alexander: “On Literary Geographies.” Available at: http://www.literarygeographies.net/index.php/LitGeogs/article/view/1-2.

The general meeting at 12.00 will include a discussion about the statutes (see the provisional statutes here.)