Symposium “Urban Utopia: Art and Culture as a Tool to Explore and Research Cities”

September 12, 12.00 at Wagner Hall

September 13, 12.00 at Boļševička

This year’s edition of the Survival Kit symposium will gather international and local actors to discuss the nature of urban utopia, considering opportunities for our society and urban life.


“May abandoned spaces, deserted urban landscapes and the wastelands of our society stimulate and transcend our behavior and imagination?”

To embrace the diversity of cities and question the urban development of our society, the two day’s symposium will take the form of an open and interactive communication between audience, participating artists and lecturers. 11 lecturers representing philosophy, arts, social designing, architecture, planning, art history and urban activism, will share their experiences and knowledge to illustrate how society can benefit from urban utopia.

The symposium of the contemporary art festival aims to question possible changes of urban society. Since the great failure of recent modern utopia we have seen the emergence of alternative and creative activities. Urban utopia needs unoccupied interspaces and niche. These spaces often remain unknown, hosting minor ideas or ideologies, are judged insignificant and are seldom seriously taken in consideration. But utopia promotes creativity, fostering societies’ change management:

“In which way can an artistic and independent institution manage to resist in critical situations such as dictatorship or revolution?”

“Is it possible that heterotopia plays a significant role in contemporary urban societies?”

“Can heterotopia be a tool to revive public spaces?”

The symposium seeks to elaborate these examples and unfold those stories allowing us on the one hand to question theories of modern utopia and on the other hand sketching realistic scenarios for our cities.


Inputs and presentations by:

Joseph Imorde (art historian, Germany), Catalina Niculescu (artist, Romania), Charles Bourrier (social designer, Latvia), Airi Triisberg (curator, writer, Estonia), Karolina Keyzer (Stocholm city architecht, Sweden), Iliana Veinberga (art historian, Latvia), Bert Theis (artist, Italy), Jekaterina Lavrinec (researcher, Lithuania), Joachim Otto Habeck (social anthropologist, Germany), Ania Szremski (curator, Egypt), The Strelka Institute  Russia) 

More info about program:


The event is free of charge.

Working language is English.


The symposium is curated by Solvita Krese, Latvian Center of Contemporary Art (LCCA), co-curated and moderated by Jonas Büchel, Urban Institute (UI) and coordinated by Santa Mičule (LCCA) and Kevin Josse (UI).

Supported by: Rīgas dome, nodibinājums Rīga 2014, Latvijas Republikas Kultūras ministrija, Tūrisma attīstības valsts aģentūra, Eiropas komisija, FärgfabrikenEuropean Cultural Foundation, „Lattelecom”, Kolonna Hotels Group”,  Abavas vīna darītava.

Radio Naba, IR, Rīgas Laiks, Studija, Veto Magazine, Arterritory, Satori, Delfi, Easyget, Riga This Week, Echo Gone Wrong, EuroAWK.


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