Street life and street culture Between Early Modern Europe and the present

Network meetings, 2009-2010

In order to advance the network's objectives, we started out by staging an agenda-setting event to which we invited a broad range of participants. The aim was to arrive at a shared agenda that members of the network would be enthusiastic to explore. We are now planning a series of study days that will pursue different aspects of the network's interests. A closing conference will bring together our findings for a broad audience.

Agenda-setting event:

28 November 2008, Oxford Brookes University
We invited a group of participants, drawn both from the initial proposal members and expanded to include a number of others. We worked around six discrete strands for discussion sessions during the day, which created a series of cross-chronological action points to work on in future activities. These focused on themes of:
1. light and night in the city
2. aspects of "performance" in street crime and the exercise of justice
3. ephemera/performance and street experience
4. civic agriculture
5. i-phones as an example of convergence of technologies to break down boundaries
6. mobile phones and digital street culture
7. transforming the perception of urban noise
8. what is street culture?

A full report in pdf can be accessed through the gallery; in it you will find out about the participants, as well as a some detailed notes of the session discussions.

Study Day 1: ‘Sight and Sound on the Street',
17 October 2009
Research Forum, Courtauld Institute, London

This study day is part of the Street life and street culture: Between Early Modern Europe and the present network, funded by the AHRC as part of the Beyond Text project. This study day will consider themes to do with the senses of sight and sound as they impinge upon and inform the public space of the street.

Study day 2: 19 March 2010, University of Bath.
Surveillance and the Street

Technology alters urban environments and the way that individuals experience a city. We will present discussion papers that explore not only the specific cases of individual technologies that have had an impact on the street and peoples' experience of it in different periods (e.g. carriages, route-finding tools, mobile phone technology etc.), but also the cross-chronological paradigm shifts that technological change can effect.

The day is made up of three sessions:

Session 1 - Mapping/Technology/Control in relation to public space and the street
Carlo Ratti (Director, Senseable City Lab, MIT)
Tom Cohen (York University, Canada)
Richard Ingersoll (Syracuse University, Florence)

Session 2 - Surveillance and defining the boundaries of public space in the street
Elizabeth S. Cohen (York University, Canada)
Alex Stedmon (University of Nottingham)
Anna Minton (Journalist and author)

Session 3 - Surveillance: a creative perspective
Sound&Fury Theatre company

To be followed by a Round Table - concluding, thinking and talking.

10:00-10:30 Registration
10:30 Introduction (Georgia Clarke and Fabrizio Nevola)
10:45 Session 1
12:15 Lunch (a sandwich lunch will be provided)
1:15 Session 2
2:45 Coffee and tea
3:15 Session 3
4:45 Conclusion

Registration is free, but numbers are limited.
To register please email Claire Hogg ( by 8th March.

Session at International Conference of the European Association of Urban Historians, Ghent, 1-4 September 2010
We have a small session on Street life and street culture: Between Early Modern Europe and the present (4 papers).
Our session panel seeks cross-chronological and interdisciplinary perspectives on street culture. In relation to the public space of streets, we are inviting papers that address these major sensory and experiential themes: public space and ephemeral displays; the performative siting of violence, punishment and protest; surveillance, policing and control; gossip and the circulation of news; street sounds.

For further details contact us or see

October 2010: Courtauld Institute of Art, London
Final Conference - full details to follow


Arts & Humanities Research Council: Each year the AHRC provides approximately £100 million from the Government to support research and postgraduate study in the arts and humanities, from archaeology and English literature to design and dance. In any one year, the AHRC makes approximately 700 research awards and around 1,000 postgraduate awards. Awards are made after a rigorous peer review process, to ensure that only applications of the highest quality are funded. Arts and humanities researchers constitute nearly a quarter of all research-active staff in the higher education sector. The quality and range of research supported by this investment of public funds not only provides social and cultural benefits but also contributes to the economic success of the UK. See Arts & Humanities Research Council website.