Literary Approaches to Possible Futures – KULTVA seminar on future cities

Today I went back (at least virtually) to the University of Turku, where I presented a paper on “Literary Approaches to Possible Futures” (“Mahdolliset tulevaisuudet – näkökulmia kirjallisuudesta”).

On the programme also Kimi Kärki (speaking of Blade Runner) and author Hanna-Riikka Kuisma, who discussed her recent novel Kerrostalo (“High-Rise”).

We had a good audience and an animated discussion, and thoroughly ran out of time to talk of all the questions that came up.

Thanks to all participants and the KULTVA Cultural Interaction Researcher Network who organized the seminar.

The themes of the seminar resonated also with the course I taught earlier this year on hope for the future, a course which developed in a short article (co-authored with the students) which will be published in the next Avain journal (2020/3)



Narratives and Planning – University of Agder, Norway

I recently (23 September 2020) gave a guest lecture on Narratives and Planning to planning students at the University of Agder, Norway.

The situation being what it is, the guest lecture took place online (hope to visit the place in actuality some day!), but that didn’t keep the students from lively discussing and commenting the themes of the lecture.

The one key thing I would like the students to remember: narratives in planning are NOT about communication. Instead, narratives in planning is about ways of structuring knowledge, describing problems, envisioning solutions

… using particular, cultural-specific narrative structures and tropes.

Thanks to Paulina Nordström for inviting me to give a talk and for this opportunity to connect across Northern Europe, and to the students for their active engagement.

More of my recent work on narratives in the context of planning can be found in my forthcoming book The Narrative Turn in Urban Planning (November 2020, Routledge).

The argument as it developed was partly based on my article “The ‘valley of ashes’ and the ‘fresh green breast’: metaphors from The Great Gatsby in planning New York” in Planning Perspectives.

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