Theory Forum / School of Architecture / The University of Sheffield / 13-14 November 2012

Blind spots exist in every society, culture, and urban fabric. They can be spatial, social, economic, or policy related. On the one hand, blind spots are typically situations and topics that are obscured by other themes; they fall outside our radar because they are neither considered topical nor pressing enough to be addressed by policy or planning. On the other hand, blind spots also describe necessary places of informality; places and spaces which are overlooked by the authorities, by planning or other users, and thereby allow for indeterminate, unregulated, informal, non-prescribed and open uses.

We also understand blind spots as those cities and urban conglomerations that are usually overlooked or sidelined by the Euro-centric canon of urban history or an urban discourse that focuses on those global, fast growing metropolises that provide us with a high level of imagery, staggering data and socio-spatial extremes.

Blind spots also relate to approaches, research and teaching projects that look beyond the conventional approaches of architectural and urban history in order to value and champion other ways of surveying and of accounting for cities; ways that aim at transforming the tools with which both citizens and architects might understand cities. In this sense, blind spots refer to different perceptive and representational methods through which one can describe urban conditions.

Call for contributions

We invite proposals for talks, exhibitions, performances, walks, or events relating to the notions of URBAN BLIND SPOTS outlined above. We are explicitly asking for cross-, trans-, or non-disciplinary approaches and forms of expressions. Talks can follow the form of a conventional academic presentation but we would also like to encourage proposals for presentations in other formats such as staged conversations/discussions, films, exhibitions, or other project documentations. The Theory Forum is attended by Masters students at the School of Architecture as part of their course, and speakers will be asked to participate in debates and seminars involving students.

Please send a 500 word abstract or presentation description by 15th September 2012 to theoryforum2012@sheffield.ac.uk, as a PDF attachment to an email, with “URBAN BLIND SPOTS” as the email subject. The abstract should be anonymous to allow for a blind review process. Please include your contact in the body of the email.

All proposals will be double peer-reviewed. Selected contributions will be invited to submit a paper for publication in a special edition of field: [http://www.field-journal.org/index.php].

Theory Forum
The Theory Forum is an annual two-day cross-disciplinary platform of events organised by the Sheffield School of Architecture, featuring diverse talks, workshops, walks, film screenings and exhibitions.

This year’s focus and forum title is URBAN BLIND SPOTS. It is the 14th event of this series and follows on from recent high profile international conferences and events such as Digital Worlds (2011), At Home (2010), Ecology (2009), Agency (2008) and Alternate Currents (2007).

URBAN BLIND SPOTS hopes to bring together a range of people from different disciplines, academia and practice, exploring and discussing the various notions of blind spots in relation to cities and the way they are produced, used, perceived and portrayed. It is aimed to be a testing ground through which the multi-faceted manifestations and understandings of blind spots can be explored and theorized.

Submission of abstracts: 15th September 2012

Confirmation of acceptance: 5th October 2012

Submission of full papers; full exhibition/performance/event concept: 1st November 2012

Conference registration: 1st November

Theory Forum: 13th and 14th November 2012

Publication of field: November 2013

Theory Forum 2012 will take place on 13 and 14 November as a multi-faceted habitat of adaptable spaces with diverse talks, workshops and interventions. It will be held at Sheffield School of Architecture as well as is blind spots across the city.

Participation is free of charge and open to the public. Non-SSoA members will have to register by 1st November 2013

This year’s forum is organised by Dr Florian Kossak, Dr Tatjana Schneider and Dr Stephen Walker. URBAN BLIND SPOTS is part of on-going research on Radical Urbanism (Kossak/Schneider) and Urban (Hi-)Stories (Kossak/Walker). It is conducted in association with the SSoA Research Centre AGENCY and the MA in Urban Design Programme (MAUD).

Theory Forum 2012: Urban Blind Spots
Sheffield School of Architecture
University of Sheffield
The Arts Tower, Western Bank
Sheffield S10 2TN
theoryforum2012@sheffield.ac.uk / f.kossak@sheffield.ac.uk / t.schneider@sheffield.ac.uk / s.j.walker@sheffield.ac.uk
+44 (0) 114 2220341