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Performative Urbanism Roskilde University

Performative Urbanism is a crossfield between the courses Performance Design and Cityplanning at Roskilde University. Performative Urbanism explores the hybrid practice field between art, performance, architecture, activism, and science, which are currently emerging in a number of cities worldwide. On one hand one you can observe 'a social turn' in art and an increasing number of pieces and performances that use the city spaces as a stage, and in some cases, intervening in the ongoing urban development processes and the 'social drama' in the city. On the other hand, both strategic planning and the urban activism has become more likely to use artistic and performative strategies and tools, and new constellations between planners, investors, artists, architects, designers, activists, action researchers and citizens have seen the light.

The students of this course are given the opportunity to co-create the form of examination of this course. Students explore situative and intervening performances or participation processes with widely different practices, which in everyday speech can be termed art, performances, events, branding, cultural policy, urban development, citizen participation, and activism. This constitutes not merely a pragmatic examination of potential fields of activity for graduates, but a theoretical and empirical step in the development of a scientific optics on a new practice field; a step where the societal implications are seen as inseparable from the interior, professional relationships, and practices. The outcome of this are two anthologies, written, edited and published mainly by the students.


The second anthology (published October 2015) represents yet another element of this exploration (the first anthology was published in December 2014). In Performative Urbanism #2 are the words as different facets of a performative urbanism. Its aims are not only externally formulated in cultural or urban action, but the course also has its own internal and trans-disciplinary intuition, operation and outlook on the context in which they work. Such independence and secession from existing agendas could easily be described with the concept of autonomy - autonomy, which may be present in both the arts, politics, and science worlds.

The anthology shows several examples of how this artistic, political, and scientific autonomy appears in a current performative-urban perspective. One of the many intentions behind the anthology is to document cities' development, and contribute to a relatively unknown field with new knowledge.


The making of the anthology has been really motivating, mainly because your work as a student might be read by many people and therefore make a change in some way. To launch the anthology, the students arranged a reception (October 2015) to celebrate and show the world the product of their work.

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