Call for participation festival “Art and the Future City” (19-20th January 2017)

What might the city look like at the end of the 21st century? The festival Art and the Future City (19-20th January 2017), organised by Brussels Arts Platform in collaboration with Beursschouwburg, RITCS School of Arts and Doctoral School of Human Sciences - VUB, focuses on understanding how future cities can be imagined, conceptualised as well as performed and practiced. The call for participation - contributions, either in the form of papers, presentations, artistic interventions, performances and/or screenings - is now open until the 15th August (edit: the call has been extended until 15th September). The festival is curated by Peter Van Goethem, who will also share the insights from his own PhD "Screening the city: a cinematographic archaeology of the city of Brussels".

As we look to the future, the world will be shaped by its cities. The future will be increasingly urban, as the majority of the population will move to live and work in urban hubs. It is estimated that in a few decades, more than fifty per cent of the earth’s population will live in cities or their suburbs. Hence, cities will become the ultimate destination of the new generation and will play a key role in the lives of everyone in the world. How these cities look, feel and operate has long been (and is still) a topic of interest and inspiration for many artists, designers, architects… Through their artistic work and practice, they imagine and depict what the city of tomorrow might look like.

Artists place themselves on a spectrum between two extremes: a utopian or dystopian vision of the future. On the one hand, the future city is imagined and characterized by their unique cultural and architectural qualities, social inclusion, possibilities for economic development and democratic justice. They are hubs of knowledge and sources of growth and innovation. On the other hand, the city is shaped by demographic and environmental problems, corruption, dark ideologies, social inequality and exclusion.

Although many of these visions of future cities aren’t yet constructed or remain fictional, this does not mean we can’t learn from them. They offer a challenging perspective on social, political, economical and ecological issues. They illustrate how a city can become uncontrollable or how it will remain a centre for innovation and freedom. Nowadays, the organization of the urban public space and the urban fabric is already developing more and more towards a field of artistic collaboration between artists, designers, (landscape) architects, policymakers, technologist and urban planners.

With the belief that artists are essential and of huge influence to the City of Tomorrow, the festival Art and the Future City explores what role the artist plays and which vision he/she has in perceiving, shaping and mapping the fabric of the future city? New and alternative forms of urban living are imposing new demands on cities. How can the future city be built and managed, taking these demands into account? How will it function socially, economically and politically?

The festival is aiming to bring together a diverse range of researchers, individual artists and artists’ groups from across all fields to focus on the theoretical and practical challenges facing the city of tomorrow. We welcome an equally diverse range of contributions, either in the form of papers, presentations, artistic interventions, performances and/or screenings.

Please see the attached file for more information on the focal points of the festival.


The deadline for proposals is the 15th of August 2016. Proposals should be sent to Peter Van Goethem (email).
EDIT: the call has been extended until 15th September 2016!
Please include:
I. An abstract / summary description of the proposed contribution (maximum 500
II. A recent CV of participant(s).
III. An indication of technical or other requirements for the contribution/presentation. Especially for artistic interventions, performances and screenings, it is important to have a clear sense of any technical or spatial requirements.
All materials must be received by the 15th of September 2016. Please note that audiovisual content and related material must be submitted online via upload to VIMEO (or similar) and should remain online for at least one month following the deadline. This can of course be password protected.
Time frames for papers and presentations are 20 or 40 minutes. For artistic interventions, performances and screenings please include an indicative time frame.

Acceptance notices will be sent out by 15th September 2016.
EDIT: as the deadline for the call has been extended, acceptance notices will now be sent out by 15th October 2016.

Brussels Arts Platform is offering a travel grant for a foreign researcher giving a presentation at the Festival. Candidates wishing to take advantage of this are requested to include an estimate of their travel and accommodation costs in their application. For more information about this, please contact Annelore Brantegem (email).