Exploring in-between spaces/places

Monday Sept 13th – 10.00-12.00

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Antoine Dutrieu – Temporary use is has-been. What’s next?

Antoine Dutrieu works as a project developer for Communa, a nonprofit organisation specialising in temporary use of vacant buildings. For almost two decades, he has been actively involved in a wide range of community projects. His core interest lies in space-making and cocreating proofs-of-concepts of more solidary, use-based and creative ways of inhabiting a city. His vision revolves around joie-de-vivre, mindfulness, the Commons, DIY, recycling and ‘artivism’.

Ronald Crouzé – Transformation, friction and disruption: democratic education in urban contexts.

What is the city’s politicizing potential? What is the role of democratic education and how important are undefined spaces? In this talk, education is considered not as a socializing practice, but as a subjectivizing, disruptive and transformative force in an urban context. Ronald Crouzé is preparing a doctoral thesis at the Department of Educational Sciences at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel. His research focuses on informal and non-formal civic learning in an urban context.

Ine Van Zeeland & Jonas Breuer – Embodied experiences: Walking in between the physical and the digital city.

Most public spaces are monitored and our smartphones ensure we are under observation wherever we are. Today’s smart technologies offer many benefits, but a ‘culture of surveillance’ feeds anxieties of never being left alone. Jonas Breuer and Ine Van Zeeland, researchers at imecSMIT (VUB), investigate innovative ways to

include various stakeholders in making urban space ‘smart’, and the central role of data.  Inspired by Lefebvre’s ‘Right to the City’, they look at how data protection rights can play a role in making urban space not only technologically enhanced but also citizen-centric.


Decolonising the city

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Tuesday Sept 14th – 12.30-14.00

Stephanie Collingwoode Williams – Big city life: we try forget bye.

Stephanie Collingwoode Williams is an anthropologist, social worker, trainer and activist. She is an expert in anti-racism, intersectionality, climate justice, feminism, queerness and bi-raciality. Stephanie was raised in Ghana, has studied in the Netherlands and Belgium, where she has been involved in various climate justice movements and anti-racist movements, such as Code Rood and Kick-Out Zwarte Piet. She has also participated in various actions against the glorification of Belgium’s colonial history. Recently, she has been active as spokesperson for the Belgian Network for Black Lives, who organized Black Lives Matter marches in Belgium. Among other things she is also a speaker, enjoys sharing thoughts on a magnitude of issues, writer and curator for decolonial art projects.

Fien Criel – Cripping accessibility into the city.

Fien Criel is a political scientist (Ghent University) with a Masters’ in Conflict and Development. Confronted with institutional ableism, she broke a pact to never write or work from her own disabled experience and analysed the university’s inclusion policy. She recently moved from Ghent to Brussels, and confronted with inaccessible urban architecture, she explores her love/hate relationship with both cities. She is currently collaborating with the arts centre Voo?uit to transform it into a more inclusive house for everyone.

Kate Meier & Willeke Bert – Bridging or Breaching? Citizen participation and private urban development.

What are meaningful ways for diverse actors to share, develop and exchange resources in order to create and sustain caring, resilient neighborhoods? How can atypical neighborhood users, such as commuters, organisations large and small, and businesses contribute to the development of ‘caring’ neighborhoods? Willeke Bert and Kate Meier are co-researchers at Odisee Hogeschool and are involved in the Brussels-based MaN’Aige project (funded by Innoviris) about the development of caring neighborhoods in Brussels.

Collaborative City-Making

Wednesday Sept 15th -12.30-14.00

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An-Sofie Smetcoren & Sarah Dury – Challenges for co-constructing communities in research practices.

Sarah Dury is a tenure track assistant professor in Adult Educational Sciences (VUB) and has been part of the Belgian Ageing Studies research team since 2008. Her research focuses on participation, social inclusion, and compassionate communities. She is the coordinator of the Compassionate Communities centre of expertise (COCO) which performs pioneering work in developing, implementingand evaluating the Compassionate Communities model around the world. Furthermore, she co-supervises a project CIVISANO (2019-2021), which aims to develop healthy communities through participatory research and community capacity building with Sciensano. She also coordinates an Erasmus+ project See Me (Social inclusion through Meaningful ageing) on how to improve the quality of care and social inclusion for older adults. Sarah teaches the course co-creation, social design and innovation. An-Sofie Smetcoren is assistant professor at the Department of Adult Educational Science (VUB). Her research focuses on how urban environments influence daily life (e.g. access to services and care, access to housing) of its inhabitants and thus how processes of social inclusion and exclusion take place in different types of communities (e.g. cohousing community, Age Friendly Communities, Caring Communities,…). More specifically, she looks at how the physical (housing, urban planning) and social (relationships, networks) environment can contribute to quality of life and subjective well-being. Her particular interest lies in engaging with the experiences of and to give voice to those in vulnerable and disadvantaged situations.

Jef Van Laer & Annelies Duerinckx – Citizen science as a solution for local issues.

Annelies Duerinckx is the founder and coordinator of Scivil, the Flemish center for citizen science. Scivil promotes citizen science, brings stakeholders together and supports initiators of citizen science projects. Annelies advises the Flemish department of Economy, Science and Work on citizen science, gives advice to current and future citizen science projects and

organizes thematic working groups, lectures, info moments and workshops on citizen science.  Jef Van Laer worked is a highly experienced science communicator. For years, he has advised, guided and coordinated science communication and citizen science in the Expertise Centre for Science Communication of Vrije Universiteit Brussel. In September 2019 he joined Scivil, where he mapped the citizen science field in Flanders. At Scivil, Jef advises citizen science projects and stakeholders and informs parties in the social quadrangle in presentations, information sessions and workshops about the different aspects of citizen science.


Cities in Transition

Thursday Sept 16th – 12.30-14.00

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Gregoire Wallenborn – Energy communities: making neighbors collaborate around tough issues.

Grégoire Wallenborn is Professor and Senior Researcher at the Institute for Environment Management and Land Planning (IGEAT), at the Université Libre de Bruxelles. He is interested in issues that encompass energy, environment, technology and daily life, and has coordinated numerous interdisciplinary studies on household energy consumption through various aspects. He currently works on the development of energy communities.

Hari Verlaet – Youngsters as transformative agents?

Hari studied ecology and environmental management at the ULB. Then, he did couple of missions in Madagascar and Mauritius as field biologist. Back in Brussels, he created and still manages an educational program named “Plateforme DD” that focuses on science throught sustainable developement in Brussels for the science awaraness departement of the ULB (Département Inforsciences). Every year around 800 children between 10 and 16 participate at the activities and set up scientific, artistic and citizen projects to play a role in the transition in Brussels. Based on this experiences he will argue why he feels it is important to consider children and youngsters as key-stakeholders for driving urban transitions.

Mia Schmallenbach – ValueBugs: closing ecological cycles through circular urban hubs. 

Graine d’Ortie is interested in exploring the potential of bugs at the level of collective management. How? Through the design of local “hubs” pooling several specialties that work in symbiosis: the production and management of detritus of black soldier flies, earthworms, a mushroom farm, a mini brewery, as well as several other activities. These “hubs” would be designed to become multi-scaled devices, cloneable in diverse urban areas, generating jobs as well as local production and management of resources for greater urban resilience.