Annual conference

GCfE 15th Annual Conference 13-14 May 2021

Communities in Europe between continuity and transition

In the midst of the global Covid-19 pandemic, the notion of community has taken on a powerful meaning of solidarity and support: ‘Mutual Aid’ communities have burgeoned everywhere in the world, delivering foods and medication to the elderly and vulnerable; technology provided unprecedented levels of connectivity through which communities could be formed; new and creative forms of activism have emerged in the shape of crowdfunding campaigns to salvage independent shops as well as theatres and other cultural institutions.

On the other hand, in the face of environmental, social, and economic challenges, neoliberal discourses worldwide have encouraged people to think in terms of individual responsibility instead of collective causes and solution-finding. The European far right has put emphasis on the idea of a homogenous, sometimes labelled ‘racially’ pure national community – an idea which is restrictive to the individual’s identity/ies and to the plurality and diversity in society. Technological developments and the rise of social media have reinforced political polarisation and the compartmentalisation of society.

These parallel developments show how communities have the profoundly impactful capacity to exclude as well as to include. Because commonality forms the basis of most communities, it only allows for a certain degree of deviation from its norms, uniting principles or rules.


Day 1: Thursday 13 May

Zoom link

(Meeting ID: 864 0516 9164 + Passcode: 157984)

10.00-10.30 - Welcome & Opening: Franziska Wolf

10.30-12.30 Panel 1: Communities of Care

Chair: Frankie Morgan

  • Michael Barnes (University of Birmingham, UK), Alex Bond (independent researcher), Oak Lawrenson (independent researcher), and Dean McColl (Goldsmiths, UK) - Queering Discord: Building a Digital Home for LGBTQ+ Communities of Care.
  • Ferdinando Errichiello (University of Naples Federico II, Italy) - Italian Local Community Efforts During COVID.
  • Dr Zoran Kojcic (Petit Philosophy Association, Croatia) - Fragile Community: How Philosophical Dialogue Helped us Heal? 
  • Ettore Bucci (University of Pisa, Italy) - Communitarian Prophecies in Southern Italy.

12.30-14.00 Lunch break

14.00-15.30 Panel 2: New Conceptualisations of Communities

Chair: Thomas Wood

  • Jake Williams (University of Birmingham, UK) - Shazam Walks & Voice Notes: Soundscape, Urbanism and Sonic Territories.
  • Imran Hashmi (University of Birmingham, UK) - Pessimistic Conceptions of Community: A Case Study.
  • Soph Benja Petzelberger (Humboldt University of Berlin, Germany), Vica Kravtsova (Bridging Feminisms), and Alexandra Frank (Bridging Feminisms) - Feminist Utopias Bridging Feminisms in the Countries of the Former USSR and in Germany.

15.30-16.00 Coffee break

16.00-17.00 Keynote: Dr Nadine El-Enany (Birkbeck, UK): TITLE TBC

Chair: Dr Thomas Brodie

17.00 End of Day 1

Day 2: Friday 14 May

Zoom link

(Meeting ID: 835 6201 8598 + Passcode: 494108)

09.00-10.30 Panel 3: Governing Communities

Chair: Céline Hocquet

  • Constantina Lazaridou (University of Birmingham, UK) -A Legal Perspective on the Altering Identity of the European Union and the European Court of Justice’s (ECJ) Approach: A European Community of Human Rights?
  • Giuseppe Iglieri (University of Molise, Italy) - De-Europeanization or New Europeanization? The Perspective of European Community from EU East Enlargement to the Response to Covid-19 Pandemic.
  • Natasha Nicholls (University of Birmingham, UK) - The role of UK communities in refugee resettlement.

10.30-11.00 Coffee break

11.00-12.30 Panel 4: Narratives of Belonging

Chair: Amina Zarzi

  • Dara Sljukic (Independent Researcher) - What Language do I Speak? Notions of Community in Post-Yugoslav Exile Literature.
  • Felisha Bahadur (Muthesius Academy of Fine Art and Design, Kiel, Germany) - Parade Créole: Artistic Dress for a Nomad Community.
  • Marianna Karakoulaki (University of Birmingham, UK) - Journalism   and   Vulnerable   Communities:   Lessons   from   Reporting   Refugees’ Stories.   

12.30-14.00 Lunch break

14.00-15.30 Panel 5: Citizenship as Community

Chair: Sonia Lamrani 

  • Sarah Jacobson (Michigan State University, USA), The Intersection Between Citizenship, Immigration, and Community Building: Southern Italian Migrants and Housing Activism in the 1970s.
  • Joana Voss (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, The Netherlands) - Walling In, Walling Out: Citizenship Revocation and the Subject Walled In.
  • Klaudia Muca (Agiellonian University, Poland) - How to Build an Inclusive Public Debate? Polish Women with Disabilities on Strike.

15.30-16.00 Coffee break

16.00-17.00 Keynote: Dr Tom Western (University College London, UK) - Creative Citizenships: Imagining and Mobilising Communities in Athens

Chair: Marianna Karakoulaki

17.00-17.15 - Closing: Marie Allègre

End of the Conference

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