Signs of Urban Change

Venue Birkbeck 30 Russell Square, 101

This event has ended.

Event description

This event is free to attend, register via Eventbrite here

You can download a PDF of the programme here

Since the 1990s, urban scholars have turned their attention to the role of language and discourse in mediating urban change (e.g. Hastings 1999). Extending this ‘linguistic turn’ in urban studies, this symposium broadens the empirical focus to include semiotic objects and systems beyond language to include maps, visual facades, and social media platforms. It brings together cultural geographers, sociolinguists, urban historians, media and communication scholars to discuss how they approach these signs of urban changes from their respective disciplinary perspectives and explore common ground during the day. The event in the evening invites community organisers, public researchers, and urban artists to join the dialogue by presenting how they have each responded to urban change using maps, stories, and material objects. The symposium will conclude with a panel discussion regarding how academics could more effectively collaborate with community organisations and the public to contribute towards positive urban changes.


Day Session 10am-5pm

Room 101, 30 Russell Square

10:00 – 10:30 Registration

10:30 – 11:00 Welcome & introduction (Jackie Lou and Melissa Butcher)

11:00– 11:30 Signs of urban change in Gothenburg: Investigating segregation and gentrification from a linguistic landscape perspective (Johan Järhled)

11:30 – 12:00 Imagining the future, (re)imagining place: examining urban processes of place-making, creativity and social cohesion in east London’s Olympic redevelopment (Melissa Butcher)

12:00 – 12:30 The visual-material politics of urban change (Giorgia Aiello)

12:30 – 14:00 Lunch

14:00 – 14:30 Layers of London: Mapping 2,000 years of change in London (Matthew Davies)

14:30 – 15:00 Social media platforms and the phenomenology of urban transformation (Scott Rodgers)

15:00 – 15:30 The impact of urban change on linguistic landscapes: A tale of two Chinatowns (Jackie Lou)

15:30 – 16:00 The Making of Chinatown: recording and sharing oral histories of London’s Chinatown since the 1960s (Xiao Ma)

16:00 – 16:30 Panel discussion: workshop themes and interdisciplinary collaboration

17:00 – 18:00 Evening break (tea, coffee, nibbles)


Evening Session 6-8.30pm

Room TBC

18:00 – 18:15 Welcome and Introduction (Melissa Butcher and Jackie Lou)

18:15 - 18:45 Our Kind of Town?: Citizen mapping and the re-imagination of London (Phil Cohen)

18:45 – 19:15 Discovering, collecting, and ‘stealing’? (Jazoo Yang)

19:15 – 19:45 Local storytelling in global cities (Ali Pretty with Les Morgan)

19:45 – 20:30 Panel discussion: cross-sector collaborations

Contact name