CfP: Arts and the City

Arts and the City
International Conference
Budapest, Hungary 23—24 May, 2019
Károli Gáspár university & the Hungarian Academy of Sciences


ANDREW GIBSON, Royal Holloway, University of London

BERNARDINE EVARISTO, writer, London (author of Lara, Soul Tourists, and Blonde Roots, among other novels)

NOÉMI SZÉCSI, writer, Budapest (author of The Finno-Ugrian Vampire and Mandragora Street 7, among other novels)

Abstracts are invited for an international conference on arts and the city organised by Károli Gáspár University’s Institute of English Studies and the Institute of Philosophy at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. Papers exploring various forms of art in the modern urban environment are welcomed. We are particularly interested in the portrayal of cities in literary texts, films, and the visual arts as well as the history of architecture, street art, and performing arts. The conference aims to map the role of the arts in the context of urbanisation, global capitalism and digital technologies, focusing on urban paradigms such as the modern city, the creative city, the playable city, and the smart city, sustainable city, liveable city, among others. 

The modern city has often been conceptualized as a work of art as well as a wasteland or jungle, characterized by cluttered connections between artistic styles, social institutions, and ideological practices. Charles Baudelaire and Walter Benjamin, for instance, have famously explored the impact of urban space on artistic sensibilities in 19th century Paris, raising larger questions concerning Western modernity and the Janus-faced aestheticization and mechanization of urban life. Since the spatial turn, art critics such as Rosalind E Krauss have focused on the expanded space of art forms including painting, sculpture, and architecture among others, exploring the impact of art on space. Though sociologists identify a profound urban crisis in contemporary global cities manifested, among other dimensions, in the dampening of artistic or musical creativity (Florida 2017), contemporary global cities such as London are, in fact, being redesigned to accommodate the arts, often with the aim of foregrounding marginalised narratives. The conference aims to map these intersections: we invite proposals that address the impact of urban space on artistic developments in their historical and cultural contexts as well as theoretical contributions and case studies that explore the role artworks perform in the urban environment. Papers focusing on modern cities, including contemporary cities, are welcome; proposals exploring new ways artworks engage with the built environment (campus art, street art, paint-up competitions, city novels, etc.) are particularly encouraged.  

Submissions of creative works including unpublished short stories, photos, poems, short films, and installations that explore any aspect of urban life are also welcomed.

Papers on the following themes will be particularly welcomed:

  • Performing arts and the city
  • Histories of architecture and the city
  • Theories of architecture and the city
  • Cultural heritage and the city
  • Painting and the city
  • Literature and the city
  • Film, visual culture and the city
  • Live music sculpture and the city
  • Globalization and East Central European cities
  • Gender and urban art forms
  • Art and urban density
  • Public spaces and performative art
  • Utopia and dystopia
  • Science fiction and fantasy
  • Segregation, peripheral urban cultures
  • Contemporary literature and the creative economies
  • Street art, murals and the city
  • Inclusion and indifference in the postmillenial city
  • Migrant narratives and the city
  • Tourism and the creative city

Registration fee: 

Early Bird (until 30 April): 

Full price: 55 EUR; partial fee waiver: 40 EUR

Student: 40 EUR; partial fee waiver: 25 EUR


Full price: 65 EUR; partial fee waiver: 45 EUR

Student: 45 EUR; partial fee waiver: 30 EUR 

Partial registration fee waivers are available to participants from low and middle income countries, please apply before 31 March, 2019.

Application deadline: 15 February, 2019.

Please submit abstracts via the conference website: Facebook event:


Organising committee: 

Ágnes Györke, Associate Professor, Károli Gáspár University

Borbála Jász, Researcher, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Institute of Philosophy

Tamás Juhász, Associate Professor, Károli Gáspár University

Veronika Ruttkay, Associate Professor, Károli Gáspár University


Student helpers: 

Zsolt Bojti, PhD Student, Eötvös Loránd University

Shrimoyee Chattopadhyay, PhD Student, University of Debrecen 

Dániel Panka, PhD Student, Eötvös Loránd University