Urban Futures: Imagining and Activating Possibilities in Unsettled Times (FUTURES)

Bilateral Croatian-Slovenian research project 2020 – 2023

This urban ethnological/cultural anthropological project is dedicated to in-depth research of future-making in selected Croatian and Slovenian cities. Future-making refers to comprehensive understanding of elements which are combined in imagining, anticipating and perceiving futures – cognitively, discursively, and affectively – as well as in modalities of everyday life and engagement that contain a particular relationship towards futures. The process of urban future-making will be analysed from top-down (strategic documents and visions of particular cities) and bottom-up (civil associations and initiatives) perspectives, as well as from individual/personal perspectives (experiences, expectations, practices), particularly of young people. “Future” as a (novel) object of study in ethnological/cultural anthropological terms is considered culturally and contextually dependant, and together with the notions of probabilities and possibilities which are immanent to future, it sets the stage for researching multiple urban futures – desired and undesired, official and alternative, supported and resisted, contested, challenged, as well as invisible, “silenced”, or “stolen”. The project is firmly grounded in ethnography and discourse analysis and is structured around three axes of research: public space (future-oriented spatial-social urban projects and their potential to enhance social integration, inclusion, health, and wellbeing for urban citizens); creativity and innovations (creative hubs developed by various actors to build and promote good practices, education, and social engagement envisioning futures); and civic participation (diverse ways in which citizens enact “the right to the city”, contributing to current debates on effective urban governance as a prerequisite of liveable and sustainable urban futures).  This cross-national project seeks to establish a wider network for comparative ethnological/cultural anthropological (urban) futures research.

Project leaders: Valentina Gulin Zrnić (Institute of Ethnology and Folklore Research) and Saša Poljak Istenič (Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts)

Research team: Tatiana Bajuk Senčar (Institute of Slovenian Ethnology), Marina Blagaić Bergman (Institute of Ethnology and Folklore Research, Croatia), Jasna Čapo (Institute of Ethnology and Folklore Research, Croatia), Katja Hrobat Virloget (Faculty of Humanities, University of Primorska, Slovenia), Miha Kozorog (Institute of Slovenian Ethnology and Department of Ethnology and Cultural Anthropology, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia), Tihana Rubić (Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Zagreb, Croatia), Nevena Škrbić Alempijević (Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Zagreb, Croatia), Nina Vodopivec (Institute of Contemporary History, Slovenia)

The project is funded by Croatian Science Foundation and Slovenian Research Agency

Follow the project at www.citymaking.eu

The FUTURES project continues and extends urban research realized within the project “Citymaking: space, culture, and identity” (Croatian Science Foundation 2014-2018)