Putspace Summer Symposium in Minsk, Belarus, 1-6 June 2020 (CfA)

“Narrations, Experiences and Contestations of Public Transport in European Cities”

– Due to the current situation confronting us as a result of spread of COVID 19, we will have to cancel the Putspace Summer Symposium scheduled on June 1-6, 2020 in Minsk. The symposium will be postponed to a later stage. We will keep you updated about the new dates –

Call for Applications

The international project “Public Transport as Public Space in European Cities” (PUTSPACE) and Minsk Urban Platform are pleased to announce the project’s Summer Symposium, taking place in Minsk, Belarus, on 1–6 June. The symposium is focussing on “Narrations, Experiences and Contestations of Public transport in European Cities”. The six-day event brings together experts, early and mid-career researchers, artists and practitioners engaging with public transport from diverse more-than-engineering perspectives to understand the public space qualities of public transport (PT). We position public transport at the frontline of contesting what is, can be, or should be public in the city. We come together with four objectives in mind: to critically conceptualise and analyse what kind of public space PT is; to understand urban transformations by attending to PT as one of the most intense and contentious public spaces; to offer a localised and historicised perspective on transformations of public space by examining narratives, experiences and contestations over PT in different European cities; and to contribute to PT-related research and practice in civic mobilisation, planning and policy.

We are interested in the role of various heritage, nostalgia, user rights and other groups in raising concerns about public transport qualities but also suggesting alternative narratives and symbolic meanings that public transport systems in different cities could draw from. Also, memories of public transport systems are crucial in forming ways in which they are experienced today. We seek artistic interventions, social and humanities research perspectives and expert knowledge in which highlight and negotiate the very practical ways in which social aspects (justice, encounters, affects) of public transport use are unfolding. Moreover, by locating the event in Minsk, the symposium critically investigates narratives of Europeanisation and modernisation as they intersect with infrastructures and urban contentions.

The Summer Symposium seeks to tackle this ambition in at least two practical ways.

• We invite interested participants to engage in inter- and trans-disciplinary debates on the more-than-engineering perspectives on PT, reaching beyond a solely academic audience. The programme envisions a broad range of workshops and public discussions with the aim of improving research, communication and activist skills of participants but also engaging with local audiences.

• The symposium actively reaches out to the local public transport system, its users and employees in the city of Minsk, exploring the city’s multi-layered PT history, its contemporary role in public life, and diverse negotiations of its future with system expansions, modernisations and reforms on the agenda.

We invite applications from scholars, artists, and practitioners alike, independently of location, disciplinary affiliation and status. Those interested may include, but are not limited to:

  • PhD researchers and young scholars whose work deals with PT in relation to the above-mentioned questions and concerns;  
  • PT activists seeking to improve public transport infrastructures, working conditions and passenger experiences;
  • PT experts and practitioners, from public bodies, PT operators, industry or consultancies;
  • Artists, writers, film makers engaging with PT in the widest sense of the term.

How to apply

In order to apply, please submit an up-to-date curriculum vitae (two pages max.), and a motivation letter (one to two pages long) which should explain your interest in the symposium and how you relate your work to the PUTSPACE project’s objectives. For further information, please have a look at the project’s website at https://putspace.eu or reach out to the symposium coordinator Tonio Weicker at t_weicker@leibniz-ifl.de. Please submit your application package as a single pdf file via e-mail to L_Adolphi@leibniz-ifl.de by 20 March 2020.

Travel grants

The symposium participation is free of charge. We offer travel grants to selected applicants. Should you be interested in a travel grant, please indicate this in your application package.


The project ‘Public Transport as Public Space in European Cities: Narrating, Experiencing, Contesting (PUTSPACE)’ is financially supported by the HERA Joint Research Programme on ‘Public Spaces: Culture and Integration in Europe’ (www.heranet.info), with the project co-funded by AKA, BMBF via DLRPT, ETAg, and the European Commission through Horizon 2020.