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Research The Groningen Research Institute for the Study of Culture (ICOG) Research Research centres Research Centre for Arts in Society

Contentious Spaces: Uncovering the Hidden Narratives of Socialist Built Heritage

From:Fr 27-10-2023
Until:Sa 28-10-2023
Where:Jantina Tammeszaal, University Library

The University of Groningen’s Architecture and Urbanism welcomes scholars from humanities and social sciences to discuss the heritage of the state socialist architecture and urbanism and the accompanying processes.

Following the end of state socialism and socialist ideology in Europe in the final decade of the past century, a new layer of architectural heritage has come to play a role in the formation of the contemporary cities’ built environment and urban and socio-cultural identities. Since the momentous shift instigated by the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, we have seen a development of a new discourse dealing with the heritage of state socialist spaces. Over the course of the past thirty years, scholars have engaged in the historicization of the architecture of the period and the examination of the projects and processes that had come to define the formation of this new layer of arguably contentious heritage. The widespread and varied modernist architectural vocabulary, extensiveness of typological examples, lingering bureaucracy of the state socialist apparatus, and the links between ideology and the built environment have come to illustrate the discourse.

In various formats - papers, workshops, round tables, as well as for multimedia presentations - Contentious Spaces will investigate the conservation and preservation of modernist heritage and examine the historicization of modernist architectural vocabulary in East-Central Europe, Eastern Europe, Balkans and Russia.

The keynote lecture will be given on 27 October by Carmen Popescu of the Ecole d'Architecture de Paris-Val-de-Seine.

Visit the conference website for more information.


The conference is organized by Maja Babić and Tino Mager.

Tino Mager is an assistant professor of History and Theory of Architecture and Urbanism, and works on the topic of heritage in the digital era. Maja Babić studies socialist and post-socialist architecture, and is an assistant professor at the Department of the History of Art, Architecture, and Landscapes.