Central to the teaching of spatial disciplines (architecture, landscape, planning, human and social sciences), walking has become an essential tool for addressing the question of territory as a place of action and sensitive reality. In France and elsewhere, field observation walking workshops are gaining popularity as an educational tool to renew the approach to territory. Celebrated by early 20th century philosophers and writers for its ability to link bodily experience to the inhabited world, walking is used as a specific method of reading and interpreting spatial dynamics; ruptures, thresholds, fragments, enclaves, landscape identities… This trivial everyday practice has been a preoccupation of transportation policies for more than a century, and remains a fertile ground for experimentation for many professions linked to the understanding and transformation of territories, and in particular those involving multidisciplinary approaches. Since the end of the 1990s, walking has become a way for professionals and residents alike to claim new practices of collective use and negotiation of public spaces.
The session invites educational, reflective and critical communications that question the triple belonging of the practice of walking as an object of research, a method of in situ investigation, and an operational tool. We explore the contribution of walking to the critical reading of territories from an interdisciplinary perspective (geography, sociology, urban planning, architecture, living arts, etc.). We also seek to identify the avenues that walking offers us to question spatial relationships under an iterative look between scales (from the porch to the neighbourhood square, from the station to the rural footpath). The session is open to all pedagogical modes (theoretical, methodological and analytical teaching, initiation to research, etc.), from the bachelor’s degree to the doctorate, to long-established lessons as well as to more recent ones. The session opens with multiple entrances that the walk offers to get closer in flesh and blood to a volatile and complex concept, that of territory. Questions of atmosphere, emotions, sociability and imagination are all possible avenues for deepening the debate.
The panel welcomes submissions from all disciplines in English, French and Spanish
The call for papers is open until January 15, 2023
The proceedings of the 4th International Congress on Ambiances are now available for download via the HAL open science platform here. Conference abstract as follows:
After the Congresses of Grenoble (Creating an Atmosphere, 2008), Montreal (Ambiances in Action, 2012) and Volos (Ambiances, Tomorrow: The Future of Ambiances, 2016), this 4th International Ambiances Network Congress, entitled “Ambiances, Alloaesthesia: Senses, Inventions, Worlds” questions the renewal of the forms of feeling in a world that is undergoing major changes. It aims to consider how the contemporary environmental, social, technological, political and ethical changes are likely to affect the sensitive worlds, their ambiances, and the ways of experiencing them.
This conference brings together more than a hundred scientific contributions coming from an international base of academics, practitioners, artists and PhD students working on ambiances and atmospheres. They offer an up-to-date account of the variety of themes and issues within this field, showcasing the latest research and methodological approaches. Organized in sixteen themed sessions, the presentations examine the ongoing preoccupations, debates, theories, politics and practices of this field, drawing on multidisciplinary expertise from areas as diverse as anthropology, architecture, computer science, cultural studies, design, engineering, geography, musicology, psychology, sociology, urban studies and so on.
→ Visit the E-conference website
→ Visit ambiances 2020 webpage on ambiances.net
By James Horrox
We humans are nomadic creatures. For 99 percent of our existence as a species, anthropologists believe, we’ve been on the move. Some scientists have argued that a propensity for travel, novelty and adventure is actually encoded in our DNA. Either way, we don’t take well to confinement.
Confinement, however, is precisely what’s defined our shared experience of the last twelve months. For many, the sudden inability to travel much beyond our own neighborhoods brought with it a very real, very natural sense of claustrophobia. But being forced to stay close to home, while obviously limiting our experience in many respects, also opens up possibilities for experiencing the things around us in a new, perhaps more intense way, channeling our desire for novelty towards experiences that may be close at hand, but which we’ve never previously thought to explore.