Roma’scapes: Geographies of Mobility in Urban Wildness

PhD Project supervised by Chiara Rabbiosi (2020-2024)

Urban wildness is a little explored topic because of its very nature. One reason for this neglect is to be found in urban wildness both as a dynamic concept as well as an ever-changing entity. How to study a mobile and innately undefined object? Rather than considering it merely as a forgotten space or a natural resource, this project aims to interact with urban wildness as a subject. To foster a relational approach, the project explores urban wildness going through it and involving all senses in the production of knowledge.

A preliminary part of the research will focus on the evaluation of methods and instruments of enquiry, their capabilities and limits of observing and recording this mobile subject: from fieldwork diary to photography, from audio-visual methods to performance.

Going deeper, the project will attempt to build a relationship with urban wildness inhabitants, such as plants, animals and people. It is in fact their entanglement that makes urban wildness a living, dynamic, mobile subject. Collaborative labs will be opened on the field to enquiry and enhance a collective representation of urban wildness ‘from inside it’. Finally, the project will pay special attention in the making of synesthetic artefacts, out of the multiple wildness representations archived, to disseminate this new knowledge.

The research will be developed by specific case studies, in different European cities, following the footprint of the stereotypical “nomads” that are believed to be the main inhabitants of urban wildness: the Roma. Are Roma the only living in urban wildness? Who is living on the move in contemporary cities? Is mobility a choice?

The interaction with urban wildness, in different contexts, will open new possibilities of conceiving and representing the geographies of mobility in the contemporary city, raising the issue that to live on the move mainly means a restriction on the very possibilities of movement in contemporary Europe.