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Inicio arrow Ciudades imaginadas. Sevilla arrow Seminar Urban Imaginaries: a round-trip

Seminar Urban Imaginaries: a round-trip

Director: Armando Silva
Venue: International University of Andalusia (UNIA). Monasterio de Santa María de las Cuevas, Av. Américo Vespucio 2. Isla de la Cartuja (Sevilla)
Date: 3rd >> 4th January 2006
Guest Researchers: Miguel Ángel Aguilar, Franco Bianchini, Jude Bloomfield, Fernando Carrión, Pedro G. Romero, Tulio Hernández, Carlos Monsiváis, Verónica Pallini, José María Paz Gago




Proposal for the Construction of an Imagined Seville (SI)

Imagined SevilleCertain cities seem to be perfectly portrayed by a picture, a story, a discourse. We have, for example, the Paris described by a heterodox Marxist like Walter Benjamin in Passages, the Paris crossed over by the drifts of the Situationists, but also the Paris which, after the fires in its banlieues, awaits its discourse. In his Imaginary Institution of Society, Cornelius Castoriadis invited us to work materially, hands on, in a field, that of social imaginary, that had traditionally been left alone, abandoned to the administration of different authorities. When UNIA arteypensamiento became aware of the notion of "urban imaginary" as elucidated in the Urban Cultures from the Perspective of their Social Imaginaries project that Colombia's Armando Silva was developing, the possibility of portraying the city of Seville in the project, in a kind of round-trip, became apparent immediately to us. The instruments and the arguments being put forth were both familiar and effective towards the redimensioning of a city that had profited from its imaginary; a city that had made of its "imagination" a successful production. An imagination that has often been commandeered and swollen with narcissistic discourse at the service of spurious interests, or adulterated in a bid to accommodate whatever passing guise authority had taken at a given moment in time. This time it seemed that we could be contemplating the chance to give the citizens back their voice.

Imagined SevilleUNIA arteypensamiento and the Delegación de Cultura del Ayuntamiento de Sevilla, within the framework of the Sevilla Entre Culturas' Festival will, with its seminar Urban Imaginaries: A round-trip, begin a study on Seville as the starting point in the extension, in a round-trip, of the Urban Cultures from the perspective of their social imaginaries project which has now come to Spanish, Mediterranean and Northern European cities after having been initially developed in cities in Latin America. For that purpose we have brought together a group of researchers and institutions, such as the Centro de Arte Sevilla (caS), Sevilla Global (Area de Economía del Ayuntamiento de Sevilla), and Consejería de Obras Públicas y Transportes de la Junta de Andalucía, interested in participating in the methodological and institutional extension of the project.

This initiative is a continuation of what has already been done in the Urban Cultures from the perspective of their social imaginaries project, developed in Latin America and Barcelona, coordinated by the Convenio Andrés Bello and directed by Armando Silva from 1998 to 2005, which has resulted in a series of research techniques that seek, from the perspective of the anthropology of civic desire, to capture and respond to the contemporary urban lifestyles found in the comparative study of the different cities under scrutiny.

Imagined SevilleAfter the Urban imaginaries: a public reality seminar, held in Seville from 27 to 30 June, 2005, on research methodology in urban cultures from the perspective of their imaginaries, the project now continues with the current seminar which will develop along two lines of work: one with informative purposes and academic content open to the public; and another relating to the operative work of professional meetings that will organise work agendas amongst participants from the different cities interested in the methodology of the project.

The development of the Urban Cultures from the perspective of their social imaginaries project has compiled a significant amount of numeric information as a result of the many statistical surveys crossed with studies carried out by other international, national and local institutions. Additionally, it has generated the creation of numerous sound and visual files, in the form of audio tapes or CDs, video tapes, photographs and files of material representative of local cultures through images of their cities, such as postcards, CD and record covers and family albums. This material has been used as the production basis for thirteen books published by Taurus, one for each of the cities studied to date (Barcelona, Bogotá, Buenos Aires, Caracas, Mexico City, Montevideo, Quito, Santiago de Chile, and so forth). These general results constitute a knowledge base, and research, management and team strategies for research groups and networks that can be very useful to those who wish to delve into the grand map of contemporary urban cultures being put together in Latin America, and facilitate extension of the project to Europe and the Mediterranean region.

The project began by using (although suspect) the old instruments of sociology and anthropology, while in contention with cultural and visual studies, and later, in extending the project, it was redimensioned in the scope of its artistic and visual practices beginning with its participation, invited by Okwui Enwezor, in Documenta XI, but it is now that it would evolve into a political tool. This is due to the positive experience of the municipal governments in the different cities where the project has been implemented and because it pretends to give back to the citizenry the political tools that the citizens, through the force of their own imaginaries and often going against the tide of their own history and geography, have been able to build.




Tuesday, 3rd January, 2006
· 19:00 h.
Presentation of the seminar by Armando Silva and Pedro G. Romero
What are the imagined cities in Latin America and why is Seville acting as the hinge that opens up Europe and the Mediterranean region to the project?

· 20:00 h.
Talk by Carlos Monsiváis
Cities today in America, literature, news and grass-roots movements

Wednesday, 4th January, 2006
· 10:00 h.
Presentations of Imagined Cities
Imagined Caracas, by Tulio Hernández
Imagined Buenos Aires, by Verónica Pallini
Imagined Quito, by Fernando Carrión
Imagined Mexico City, by Miguel Ángel Aguilar
Imagined Bogotá, by Armando Silva

· 19:00 h.
Round table
The powers of imaginary in Europe and the Mediterranean region
Participants: José María Paz Gago, Franco Bianchini and Jude Bloomfield; Moderator: Armando Silva.

* All talks are open to the public.




Miguel Ángel Aguilar (México City, México)
He is a professor of and researcher in Social Psychology at the Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana - Iztapalapa, in Mexico City. He specialised in the Concept and management of urban spaces at the Institut Superieur d'Architecture -La Cambre, in Brussels, Belgium and completed a Master of Urbanism from the School of Architecture of the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. From 1994 to 1996 he participated in the Study Programme on Urban Culture at the department of anthropology of the Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana- Iztapalapa, funded by the Rockefeller Foundation and coordinated by Néstor Garcia Canclini. He is a member of the editorial board of the journal Ciudades, published by the Red Nacional de Investigación Urbana and the head of the Space and Society research section of the department of sociology of the Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana - Iztapalapa. He is author of works such as: "Vivienda multifamiliar y vida cotidiana: una exploración sobre hábitat y fronteras", in the book entitled La ciudad desde sus lugares. Trece ventanas etnográficas para una metrópolis (2001); Apuntes sobre la vida urbana contemporánea: de las experiencias fragmentadas a las restituciones imaginadas (2001); co-author with Raúl Nieto and Mónica Cinco of the article entitled "Ciudad de presencias: dimensiones evaluativas y sensoriales en las evocaciones de la ciudad de México" (2002); "The full, imagined and invisible center of Mexico City", in the book entitled Urban Imaginaries from Latin America (2003); El miedo a la ciudad o el metro y arte de la desaparición (2004); co-author with Rosalía Winocur of the article "Ciudad y medios de comunicación: un recorrido desde la antropología" (2005) and La dimensión estética en la experiencia urbana (2006).

Franco Bianchini (Leicester, United Kingdom)
He is Director of the International Cultural Planning and Policy Unit, and course leader for the MA in European Cultural Planning at De Montfort University, Leicester. He is also an Associate of Comedia, with whom he is collaborating within the framework of the research project The Intercultural City: Making the Most of Diversity, focused on intercultural practices and economic life in UK cities and sponsored by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation. His books include Planning for the Intercultural City with Jude Bloomfield (2004); Culture and Neighbourhoods: A Comparative Report with L.Ghilardi (1997); The Creative City with C. Landry (1995); Cultural Policy and Urban Regeneration: the West European Experience with M. Parkinson (1993) and City Centres, City Cultures with M.Fisher (1988). He has acted as advisor and researcher on cultural planning strategies and projects in various European countries, on behalf of organizations including the Arts Council of England, the Council of Europe, the European Commission and the European Task Force on Culture and Development. He has lectured on urban cultural policy and planning issues in various countries, including Ireland, Sweden, Finland, Latvia, Russia, Poland, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Italy, Australia, Colombia, China and Japan. He was appointed in June 2001 by the President of the European Parliament to the selection panel responsible for designating the European Capital of Culture 2005.

Jude Bloomfield (London, United Kingdom)
She is an independent researcher on urban cultures, cultural policy planning and citizenship, a translator and poet. Through research on resistance to fascism in Italy and Germany and later work on urban redevelopment and regeneration, she experimented with biographic methods and visual and photographic sources. She taught modern European politics and history at University College London for eight years, and is currently a research associate of the International Cultural Planning and Policy Unit, De Montfort University, Leicester. She is a collaborator with Comedia, currently as metholodolgy advisor and life story researcher on the Comedia, Rowntree-funded project The Intercultural City: Making the Most of Diversity. Her most recent publications are Planning for the Intercultural City (2004); Crossing the Rainbow (2003) a study of the multicultural and intercultural performing arts in nine European countries and "'Made in Berlin' Multicultural Conceptual Confusion and Intercultural Reality", Journal of International Cultural Policy (2003).

Fernando Carrión (Quito, Ecuador)
He is is an architect specialised in decentralisation issues, historic city centres, civic security, urban policies, local development, housing, and urban development and planning. He carries out teaching activities in several American universities, and research at institutes such as CLACSO, SIAP, CAE, consulting for UNESCO, Corporación Andina de Fomento (CAF), PGU-AL, ILDIS, CEPAL, OEA, and OXFAM, among others. During the course of his professional life he has received national and international awards, including the 1987 Isabel Tobar Award from the City of Quito, the 1992, 1998 and 2002 International Biennial of Architecture Awards, and the First Union of Iberian-American Capital Cities Research Award in 1995 in Madrid. He has participated as a teacher, speaker and lecturer and in various courses, workshops, congresses and seminars in different Latin American countries, in the United States and in Europe. His published works include: El regreso a la ciudad construida (2000); Lugares o flujos centrales: los centros históricos (2001); Seguridad ciudadana ¿Espejismo o realidad? (2002); Descentralización en la comunidad andina de naciones (2003); Regeneración y revitalización urbana en las Américas: hacia un estado estable (2004); Quito Imaginado (co-authored) (2005); Pobres las ciudades pobres (2005); and Seguridad ciudadana: entre la seguridad y la ciudadanía (2005). He is currently an editorialist for the Hoy newspaper, a city council member from the Metropolitan District of Quito, Coordinator of the CIUDAD de FLACSO-Sede Ecuador Study Programme, and President of OLACCHI.

Pedro G. Romero (Seville, Spain)
He is the Director of the Centro de Arte de Sevilla (caS) and a member of the content team of the UNIA arteypensamiento. Since 2000, he has worked on the Archivo F.X. and Máquina P.H. projects, focusing on iconoclasm and flamenco, respectively. He has curated various projects and exhibitions, among the most recent of which we would mention Vivir en Sevilla. Construcciones visuales, flamenco y cultura de masas desde 1966 (2004). He contributes regularly to dance and theatre programmes, especially with flamenco dancer Israel Galván. His published works include: La vida cotidiana en la Puerta Osario y la Puerta la Carne (1997); Los fondos de arquitectura en la cultura barroca y popular sevillana (1999); Los comienzos del espectáculo en Sevilla (1999) and Sacer. Fugas sobre lo sagrado y la vanguardia en Sevilla (2004).

Tulio Hernández (Caracas, Venezuela)
He is a sociologist specialised in culture and communications. He is an essayist, editor, cultural promoter and columnist. He is a former professor of the Universidad Católica Andrés Bello and the Universidad Central de Venezuela (UCV) where he was a researcher for the Instituto de Investigaciones de la Comunicación (ININCO). He has also consulted for UNESCO, UNICEF, the Organización de Estados Iberoamericano (OEI), the Corporación Andina de Fomento (CAF), the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and other international bodies. He is an advisor to various Venezuelan cultural institutions and founder and director of the Centro de Investigación y Documentación of the Cinemateca Nacional Foundation (1990-93) and an executive member of FONCINE, FUNDAPATRIMONIO, the Teatro Teresa Carreño Foundation and the Museo de Bellas Artes Foundation, among other cultural institutions. His articles and essays have been published in books and specialised journals. He was founder and director of an important series of articles published as pull-out supplements in the El Nacional newspaper, the most outstanding of which are: Historia de Venezuela en Imágenes, Atlas de tradiciones populares de Venezuela, Rostros y personajes de Venezuela, Cocinar a la venezolana and Atlas práctico de Venezuela. For the last nine years he has been a Sunday columnist for El Nacional, and he currently coordinates the Cátedra Permanente de Imágenes Urbanas in Caracas, sponsored by the Cultura Urbana Foundation, and, together with the Grupo de Estudios de Arquitectura y Sociedad of the Universidad Experimental del Táchira (UNET), he coordinates the Cátedra Binacional de Imágenes Urbanas in San Cristóbal.

Carlos Monsiváis (México City, México)
He is a Mexican journalist, columnist, essayist and narrator. Born in Mexico City, he studied Economics and Philosophy and Letters at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma in Mexico and has, from a young age, contributed to the country's most important magazines and newspaper cultural sections. His extensive knowledge and education, his universal curiosity, his effective writing and capacity for synthesis have allowed him to unravel the fundamental aspects of Mexico's political and cultural life, past and present. A large part of his oeuvre has been published in newspapers, or orally transmitted. His "chronicles", a genre that he has practiced with absolute passion, have been gathered together in books, such as Principios y potestades (1969) and Días de guardar (1971), on the events occurred at Tlatelolco; Amor perdido (1976), on some of cinemas' legendary figures, traditional songs, syndicalism, leftist militancy, politicians and the middle class; De qué se ríe el licenciado (1984); Entrada libre, crónicas de la sociedad que se organiza (1987) and Escenas de pudor y liviandad (1988), on the world of show business; and Los rituales del caos (1995), on the rituals of civic and political debacle. He has also written a book of short stories, Nuevo catecismo para indios remisos (1982); in addition to biographies, Frida Kahlo: Una vida, una obra (1992); essays, such as, Características de la cultura nacional (1969) or Historias para temblar: 19 de septiembre de 1985 (1988); and anthologies, La poesía mexicana del siglo XX (1966), La poesía mexicana II, 1914-1979 (1979) and La poesía mexicana III (1985). Among the many awards conferred to him are the National Journalism Award in 1988, the Mazatlán Prize for Literature for Escenas de pudor y liviandad in 1988, the Xavier Villaurrutia Award in 1995, and the Anagrama Essay Award for Aires de familia: Cultura y sociedad en América Latina in 2000. Among his most recent works are, Yo te bendigo, vida, (2002) on the life and oeuvre of Amado Nervo; Las tradiciones de la imagen (2003); El centro histórico de la ciudad de México (2005), and Los Méxicos de Mariana Yamplosky: ritos y regocijos (2005).

Verónica Pallini (Buenos Aires, Argentina)
She holds a degree in Anthropological Studies from the Universidad de Buenos Aires and is an invited professor at the Universities of Buenos Aires and Barcelona. She is also an invited professor at different institutions and universities in Latin America (such as San Jose de Costa Rica). She is specialised in social anthropology and holds a Master's Degree in Cultural Policies from the Universidad de Barcelona. As a researcher she has focused on the study of local and cultural policies in Latin America. She has written numerous articles and her book, Buenos Aires Imaginada, is soon to be published in the framework of the Urban Cultures from the perspective of their social imaginaries project, directed by Armando Silva. She has received several research grants from, among other institutions, CONICET-Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas; Beca Interna Doctoral; CAB-Convenio Andrés Bello; AECI, Agencia Española de Cooperación Internacional; and the O.E.A. Organización de los Estados Americanos Posgrado. She has worked as a consultant in Buenos Aires for different cultural institutions such as the Legislature of the City of Buenos Aires, the Secretariat of Culture of the Nation, and the Secretariat of the City Government of Buenos Aires. She is currently the Executive Secretary of the Inter-local Network of Latin American Cities for Culture.

José María Paz Gago (A Coruña, Spain)
He is currently the Chair of Literary Theory and Comparative Literature and Director of the Post-graduate Programme in Theatre and Film Studies at Spain's Universidade da Coruña, at which he was Director of Audio-visual Services from 1996 to 2003. He holds a Ph.D. in Spanish Philology from the Universidad de Oviedo and was an associate professor at the Université d'Abidjan in Ivory Coast, as well as visiting professor at the University of California Santa Barbara in the United States, Université Nancy II in France, Università Ca'Foscari Venezia in Italy, and the Universidade do Vale do Rio dos Sinos - UNISINOS in Brazil. In addition, Paz Gago has been the delegate in Galicia of the Sociedad Estatal de Commemoraciones Culturales (National Cultural Commemorations Company) and Secretary General of the International Association for Semiotic Studies (IASS) and is currently President of the Spanish Association of Semiotics and Secretary General of the Latin American Federation of Semiotics. He has organised important congresses on semiotics in Spain. He is a member of the Cervantes Studies Centre at the Universidad de Alcalá and was granted the 2002 Perez Lugin Journalism Award. He is also a member of the editorial boards of Madrid's Primer Acto, París's DeSignis, Indiana's Semiótica, Valencia's Art teatral, Seville's Rythmica, Santiago's Citania and Madrid's Signa, as well as director of the recently established journal La Tribuna. Cuadernos de Estudios da Casa-Museo Emilia Pardo Bazán. Dr. Paz Gago has written over a hundred articles and a dozen books, the most outstanding among which are La estilística (1993); his broad study in Semiótica del Quijote. Teoría y práctica de la ficción narrativa (1995) or La recepción del poema. Pragmática del texto lírico (1999). In the field of Galician literature, he has dedicated a book to playwright Alvaro Cunqueiro, publishes the poetry of Curros Enriquez and has critiqued extensively Galician theatre production. Paz Gago is an expert in the study of the relationship between literature and cinema and is co-editor of the book entitled Cien años de cine. Historia, teoría y análisis del texto fílmico (1999).

Armando Silva (Bogotá Colombia)
He is a writer with a PhD in philosophy and literature from the University of California. He carried out doctoral studies in semiotics and psychoanalysis in Spain, France and Italy. In recent years he has received several awards in recognition of his work as a scholar in the fields of aesthetics and art: in 2005 he won the Prosul competition at Brazil's Universidade do Vale do Rio dos Sinos - UNISINOS to finance the development of a communications and civic project in South America; he was chosen by The Danish Arts Agency to be included as one of the authors in the 2004 Biennial de Sao Paulo catalogue featuring the theme "global imaginaries"; in 2002, Documenta XI published his book Urban Imaginaries from Latin America and invited him, as the researcher who had spear-headed the proposal for an "information society from an aesthetic perspective through books, and visual and audio-visual production", to participate in its exhibition in Kassel, Germany; in 1999 the Convenio Andrés Bello appointed him director of the Urban Cultures in Latin America and Spain from the perspective of their social imaginaries project, which implemented his methodology in thirteen cities to seek out, through the fantasies and perceptions of their citizens, Iberian-American lifestyles; in 1966 he received the award for the best doctoral thesis from the University of California system for his book Album de Familia. He has written sixteen books on contemporary themes ranging between art, communications media and culture. He is a columnist for El Tiempo in Bogotá and a contributor to several international journals such as Italy's Dars, Mexico's Ciudades, Barcelona's Cultura/s, and The Journal of Culture and The Unconscious in San Francisco, California.