Knowing and Living (in) the City – differently!

The DAAD-funded Partnership ‘Urban Transformation and Placemaking: Learning from cities in South Asia and Germany’ organized an international workshop in Heidelberg between the 2nd and the 8th of July 2023. Over 20 students from participating schools shared a week of field visits, joint fieldwork and discussions with professors, experts and stakeholders of knowledge and experience in and of the city. An interdisciplinary faculty and student group researched in disciplines such as urban geography, art and architectural history, urban planning, art, and visual and media anthropology. Questions motivating in the workshop included: What new ways of seeing are allowed by looking into the past of the city from perspectives that challenge its mainstream historic discourses? How to make cultural diversity in the city visible?  What does regarding Heidelberg as a “sustainable city of knowledge” mean? And, is urban commoning possible? 

Three geographical areas of the city allowed us to approach the research lines for the workshop: the Altstadt, or Historic District, was a place to question the ways in which we understand the past as a maker of the city, and how cultural diversity is allowed or restricted within it. The Bahnstadt and Patrick Henry Village, in the south, exposed the concerns, policies and priorities with which large “new” developments of the city are being constituted, claiming agencies of sustainability and the building of a city of knowledge. Residential associations and initiatives in the west presented possibilities of “commoning”: groups of people deciding to live together in community structures that defy traditional notions of property or real estate dynamics. Reflection spaces before, during, and after field visits were a space to entangle lived experience, share the sensorial impressions of the outings and propose relations, ideas and further questions. An interesting parallel workshop was held by a small student collective within the excursion, aiming to seek possible answers to the question: how does language impact the way in which we study and research urban transformation? As a result of the workshop, historical, temporal, spatial and discursive layers of the university city were excavated, which allowed to enrichen the student´s understanding of it and pose an array of new questions surrounding it. 


Prof. Dr. Christiane Brosius
Heidelberg University

Christiane Brosius teaches Visual and Media Anthropology at the Heidelberg Centre for Transcultural Studies (HCTS). Her main research fields are urban transformation in South Asia (mainly Delhi and Kathmandu), cultural heritage, art/ivist production and social relations such as intergenerational exchange[...]

Prof. Dr. Brigitte Sölch
Heidelberg University

Brigitte Sölch is Chair of Architecture and Modern Art History at the Institute for European Art History at Heidelberg University. She is also co-editor of the Journal of Art History, Member of the CCSA (Center for Critical Studies in Architecture),[...]

Sagar Manandhar
Kathmandu University, School of Arts, and Department of Art and Design

Sagar Manandhar, Born in 1985 in Kathmandu, Nepal. He has completed his Bachelor in Fine Arts and Master in Fine Arts from Banaras Hindu University, BHU, Varanasi. He is now working as an Assistant Professor at Kathmandu University, School of[...]

Prof. Dr. Tarini Bedi
University of Heidelberg in Germany

Dr. Prof. Tarini Bedi is Professor of Anthropology in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Illinois at Chicago and a 2021-2023 Expanding Internationality Visiting Professor at the University of Heidelberg in Germany. She is also a fellow of Tasveerghar, the digital[...]

Ulrike Gerhard
Heidelberg University

Ulrike Gerhard´s area of research is Urban Geography. Questions of global and globalizing cities, recent urban transformations, planning issues as well as processes of commercialization, financialization and touristification have been examined with it. Current projects analyze the meaning of home[...]

Sujan Chitrakar
Kathmandu University

Sujan Chitrakar is associated with KU Art+Design since the time of its inception in 2003. He led the Department from 2005 to  2019. Prior to this, he served as an adjunct faculty member at Tribhuwan University and Khwopa Engineering College.[...]

Prof. Dr. Arunava Dasgupta
School of Planning and Architecture

Arunava Dasgupta is an architect and urban designer currently engaged as Head of the urban design program in the Department of Urban Design at School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi.  As founder member and Vice President of the Institute[...]