Last Thursday and Friday, I was co-organiser of a conference, "Cityscapes in History: Creating the Urban Experience". My colleague Heléna Tóth and I hosted 29 panelists plus 4 keynote speakers at the Center for Advanced Studies here in Munich. Having first had the idea for the conference last October, it has felt like a sprint to get everything organised, from the original CFP to the timing of the coffee breaks, and I'm still recovering!
We kicked off the event with a walking tour of the city last Wednesday afternoon, which we guided ourselves, and it was fun showing people around our new home, despite the rain.
The conference went better than I could have hoped, and our plans to generate interdisciplinary conversation seem to have succeeded. I learned a lot from all the presentations I saw, including Manan Ahmed (of Chapati Mystery) who spoke about digitising maps and retaining cultural information. So much was packed into the two days, I'm still marveling that we got so many great participants to come from all over the world. We even had the famous Lucy Inglis of Georgian London showing her work on where the different ethnic groups lived in the 1700s.
Our keynote speakers were very generous, Lizabeth Cohen spoke about being a historian who wanted to use architectural and landscape studies in her own work (which was particularly relevant and informative for me); Nicholas Temple spoke about religious space in all kinds of forms (with thought-provoking resonances); Richard Dennis captured the cultural relevance of modern urban life with the "architecture of hurry"; and Philip Ethington gave us a whirlwind history of Los Angeles, from megafauna to Richard Nixon, showing that perhaps some things do stay the same ;)
We are very grateful to Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität and the CAS for their funding and support. We were particularly spoiled with the catering, which included hot food for lunch and plum cake for afternoon tea!
Heléna and I will be editing a volume based on the conference, and I'll update here with how that progresses.