Mobility Studies Curriculum 2020

Site-specific art installation at the railway station of Padua

The Department of Historical and Geographic Sciences and the Ancient World (DiSSGeA) invites applications for its new curriculum in Mobility Studies within the MA Program in Historical Sciences and encourages students from all over the world to join one of the most renowned universities in Italy a and to study in a very lively, creative and interdisciplinary environment.


Variations on Mobility Creative Commissions 2019

with Royal Holloway Centre for the GeoHumanities

The DiSSGeA Department of the University of Padova and the Royal Holloway Centre for the GeoHumanities are pleased to announce the funding of 4 Creative Commissions on the theme of ‘Variations on mobility’.

Virtual, physical, potential and corporeal fluxes; networks, routes, circulation and stasis of human and non-human entities: Mobilities have become a frame through which we sense spatial practices and relations at multiple scales and levels (local, urban, national, transnational, global; intimate, intersubjective, interobjective, social, collective).

This joint edition of Creative Commissions calls for creative collaborations that explore the relationship between mobilities and the humanities experimenting with the potential of art and creative methodologies in the study, imagination and expression of mobility issues. In particular, applicants were invited to consider the arts and humanities as a frame through which to explore the historical implications of mobility, as well as the constitution of mobile phenomena in both space and time (from antiquity to contemporary history, from present times to possible futures).

We selected four exciting creative collaborations to support:

1) Of Steel and (un)stillness (Pedro Figueiredo Neto, Ricardo Miguel Falcão and Paulo Morais) exploring the relationship between mobilities, humanities and visual and sound art, through an exploration of the experiences of the routiers that drive old cars from Portugal to Senegal.

2) Flying Boat(Stephen Connolly and Layla Curtis) Flying Boat is a GeoHumanities project concerned with a legacy of the spatial and mobile imaginary enacted by the Empire Flying Boat, a live-air service connecting Great Britain with its colonies from 1937-1940, and some time post-war.

3) Pearls from China (Daniele Brigadoi Cologna and Ciaj Rocchi & Matteo Demonte) is an animated short documentary project exploring the mobility of goods and migration flows from China to Europe in the 1920s.

4) The Former State Project: A Journey through Yugoslavia(James Riding, Jack Wake-Walker and Simon Barraclough) a performative retracing of the landscapes of Rebecca West’s (1941) Black Lamb and Grey Falcon: A Journey through Yugoslavia.

(selection committee: Tania Rossetto and Giada Peterle form Dissgea – University of Padova; Veronica Della Dora, Harriet Hawkins and Sasha Engelmann from the Royal Holloway University of London Centre for the GeoHumanities).

The Creative Commissions will run from 1/10/2019 to 1/7/2020.

Street Geography

Site-specific art installation at the railway station of Padua

The Street Geography. Drawing cities for a sustainable future project stemmed from the collaboration between several geographers at the DiSSGeA (University of Padova) and the Progetto Giovani Office (Cabinet of the Mayor of the Municipality of Padova) with the aim of encouraging the dialogue between scientific research, art-practice, and the citizens of Padova. At the foundation of the project was the idea that academic knowledge should contribute to the conceptualization and realization of more meaningful and sustainable cities. The three keywords of the project, namely Neighborhoods, Mobility and Waterways, were intended not only as geographical concepts that contain some of the most significant contemporary urban phenomena and dynamics at the local and global levels; they were also used as the key concepts around which the artists have developed their site-specific installations to create a public art exhibition that crossed the city of Padova from north to south, along the tramline’s route, from September to October 2018.

Together with the curators at the Progetto Giovani Office, each artist collaborated with a geographer, who provided reflections on the key concept and the associated site. Engaged in this partnership, the three artists developed their own site narration: Fabio Roncato with a diffused installation titled At the Antipodes There is the Ocean for the Arcella neighborhood, Mónica Bellido Mora for the railway station, Caterina Rossato with an installation called Distances for the Lungargine Scaricatore at Bassanello. These works aimed to question the ways that the people live in cities, the issues of co-existence, and the meanings of change, movement and relationships in our shared and highly mobile urban spaces. In particular, A STATION OF STORIES: MOVING NARRATIONS was the site-specific art installation realised in the railway station of Padua by illustrator and cartoonist Mónica Bellido Mora (Mexico City, 1990), in collaboration with the Italian publishing house BeccoGiallo. The railway station functioned as a stage for a comic-strip story with the station itself as the protagonist. In Mónica’s story the building comes alive; as a non-human narrator, it speaks with its own voice and tells citizens, commuters and tourists about its daily repetitive, but also ever-changing, routine. The comic author’s illustrated panels invited visitors to perceive the station in new ways, focusing on the interconnection of mobile routes, existences and stories that cross in the same space. The story’s point of view made possible to consider the multiple values of transit spaces, interpreted as sentient beings that contain narratives, which are multilayered in space and time.

Thus, the railway station was transformed into a place of new relationships and experience, awareness and imagination.

The Street Geography scientific project was realised by Giada Peterle, Tania Rossetto and Mauro Varotto, University of Padova, DiSSGeA. The curatorial project was curated by Stefania Schiavon and Caterina Benvegnù, Progetto Giovani Office, Municipality of Padova. The project was funded by the Erasmus Mundus joint Master in Sustainable Territorial Development – STeDe, the AIIG Veneto, the GAI – Giovani Artisti Italiani.

VenetoNight 2019 – Researchers’ Night

Back in ancient Greece, the public space of the agorà was the one assigned to ‘movement’ and ‘public speech’, two words which aptly describe also the DiSSGeA participation in the Veneto Night 2019, an event which since 2005 allows the researchers of our University to present to the Paduan citizenship the results and methods of their research.

The goal of VenetoNight – Researchers’ Night is to bring the general public – and in particular kids and families – closer to the academic world, also by showing the sometimes unexpected impact of scientific research into everyday life; on the evening of September, 27th 2019, the DiSSGeA stand located in the internal courtyard of the Palazzo del Bo was thus animated by numerous laboratories organized by the researchers of our Department.

Many activities focused on the broad theme of mobility, the key word of the “Mobility and the Humanities” Project of Excellence which is animating much of the Department’s research since 2018; they included:

A game on the Latin vocabulary of travel, which through various recreational activities offered a first approach to the theme of mobility in the ancient world and to the transformations that led Latin to evolve in Romance languages;

A video on the mobility of Padua University students in space, time and knowledge from 1222 to 2022:

an interactive live drawing on Moving across cities and comics, in which the medium of graphic novel offered a chance to cooperatively draw maps of ideal – but perhaps not impossible – future cities;

And a workshop on haptic changing landscapes, in which the dynamic and collaborative construction of clay models allowed younger kids to reflect on the signs and traces impressed by humans on landscape.

In a world crossed by ever more intense flows of people and information, the study of mobility – intended as the variegated and multi-directional movement of people, objects, ideas and texts, both in space and time – cannot but represent a crucial interest not only for the field of Humanities and hence our Department, but also for the entire citizenship, as demonstrated by the great participation of kids and adults which characterized all workshops throughout the evening.

Mobility and the Humanities Project. Annual Conference 2019: Framing Mobilities through the Humanities

The Department of Historical and Geographical Sciences and the Ancient World (DiSSGea) at the University of Padova has launched the five-year (2018-2022) Mobility and the Humanities project to develop interdisciplinary research about mobilities. Drawing from a rich and unique mix of disciplines, with a distinctive reference to the connections between past (from antiquity to contemporaneity) and present times, the newly established Centre for Advanced Studies in Mobility and the Humanities aims to contribute original work to an emerging area of interest that is increasingly examined by other research hubs worldwide. Starting from a collaborative stance, the centre is committed to hosting a Mobility and the Humanities Seminar Seriesthat involves many key speakers from the field.

The project’s first annual conference carries on the aim to position our centre as a place where intellectual exchange and hospitality takes a crucial part in the development of brand-new research directions. Each of the department groups (Nodes) working on main mobility research subjects (namely People, Objects, Ideas, Texts, Theories and Methods) has invited a speaker to further elaborate on and advance its research activities. Through inter-node discussions and a final plenary address, the conference will highlight the DiSSGeA’s specific contributions to a very recently established area of study that sheds light on the role of the humanities in addressing both present and past critical questions on a varied range of mobility issues

Thursday, 5 December

Sala Bortolami, Palazzo Jonoch, via del Vescovado 30

11.00 Introduction
Gianluigi Baldo, Head of the DiSSGeA Department

11.30-13.00: IDEAS node
Aristotle Kallis, Keele University
Mobilities and Hybridities in the ‘Era of Fascism’: Rethinking the Spatial Dynamics of the ‘Third Way’ in Interwar Europe
(Chair: Giulia Albanese)

13.00-14.30 Lunch

14.30-16.00: THEORIES AND METHODS node
Peter Merriman, Aberystwyth University
Mobility, Movement and Process in the Humanities: a Theoretical and Methodological Overview (Chair: Tania Rossetto)

16.00-16.30 Coofee Break

16.30-18.00: OBJECTS node
Julia Smith, Oxford University Places, Spaces, Objects: the “Holy Land” in Early Medieval Europe (Chair: Isabelle Chabot)

Friday, 6 December

Sala Bortolami, Palazzo Jonoch, via del Vescovado 30

9.30-11.00: PEOPLE node

Lynne Pearce, Lancaster University
Dis-Embodied Mobilities: Textual Methods for Exploring Place and Place-Memory (Chair: Margherita Cisani)

11.00: Coffee Break

11.30-13.00: TEXTS node
Stephanie Frampton, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Vade, liber: Mobility Studies and the History of Books (Chair: Margherita Losacco)

13.00: Lunch

14.30-16.00: Plenary address

Giorgio Riello, European University Institute
The Material Turn in Global History