Call for Papers | London, Rio, Tokyo Olympics Symposium | Goldsmiths, University of London, 8-10th June 2017. Call ends April 30, 2017

Mega-sporting events help to reveal the complex processes of continuous urban transformation. The Olympic Games have become notable as the leading global sporting event with its exhaustive media coverage, dramatic competition and staged festive atmosphere.  Each one of the games is also designed to show off the host city: making visible not only the new infrastructures and sporting venues architecture, but the heritage and cultural imaginary of the host nation.  At the same time the Games cannot so easily be insulated from the continuing vitality of the city, as social lives become displaced and urban districts refashioned in line with the new face of the city.  Mega events such as the Olympics, provide a powerful optic with which to take stock of the changes affecting cities and the lives people can live within them. The Olympics Games, then provide a great opportunity to investigate these transformations and open-up a dialogue between urban researchers, artists, activists, policy-makers and the wider public.

These processes become more evident when we consider the Olympics over time and examine a series of games.  In this symposium, we will investigate the changes accompanying the 2012 London Olympics, the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics and the preparations for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.  The meeting will focus on existing research and interventions concerning the ways that global events have been accompanied by urban transformations and new forms of social (dis)advantage and exclusions, in different urban/nation-state contexts. What does the future hold for existing Olympic Cities?  Are there ways of holding mega events which bring genuine benefits to cities and their citizens?  How might the promises of ‘legacy’ be realised in more open and democratic ways?

This is a three-day event:

Day 1: Welcome reception’ Film and documentary screenings; Photography exhibition

Day 2: Academic presentations in plenary sessions; London Olympic site walking tour

Day 3: Workshops and Network Sessions

Call for Papers & Sessions

Day 3 will provide a variety of different session formats, including: workshops; panels; round-tables; screenings; art and photography; poster sessions

We invite participants to deliver a presentation in one of the below topics. We also welcome offers to organise sessions. Whereas the focus on the Day 2 is on the impact of the Olympics on the city, in Day 3 there is a much broader focus on multiple aspects of the Olympics. Here we think of a range of topics such as:

  • Body enhancements – diet, drugs, performance, training regimes
  • The Olympics and Paralympics – ability/disability, eligibility and qualification
  • Technologies – measurement, metrics, recording
  • The cultural programme – performance arts, art, music and food
  • Olympic architecture and spatial design
  • Olympic promotion – branding, image and presentation
  • Staging the games – planning and exhibiting mega-events and spectacles
  • Archiving the games – records, recording and memory
  • Urban impact – infrastructure, transport, housing, public space
  • Displacements – urban cleansing and exclusion
  • Whose games? – access, wealth and the new inequalities
  • Olympic economies – formal, informal and illegal employment
  • Olympics finance, accounting and the balance sheet
  • Olympic ecologies and sustainability
  • Sporting INGOs (international non-governmental organizations) and their global impact
  • Legacies and evaluation

We invite those interested to submit the following information:

(1) Title of your proposed presentation or session you would like to organise;
(2) short abstract of up to 150 words;
(3) short bio with your affiliation and contact details.

Application deadline: April 30th
Notify successful candidates: May 10th

Confirmed Speakers include:

  • Gabriel de Santis Feltran (UFscar and Centro de Estudos da Metrópole/Brazil);
  • Phil Cohen (Living Maps and University of East London)
  • Shunya Yoshimi (University of Tokyo)
  • Yoshitaka Mouri (Tokyo University of the Arts)
  • Paul Watt (Birkbeck)
  • Rafucko (Brazilian activist-comedian).

Collaborating Institutions

  • Centre for Urban and Community Research
  • Institute for Creative and Cultural Entrepreneurship
  • Asia Centre; Goldsmiths, University of London
  • The University of Tokyo, Interfaculty Initiative in Information Studies
  • Graduate School of Interdisciplinary Information Studies, Tokyo University of the Arts
  • Graduate School of Global Arts, Department of Arts Studies and Curatorial Practices.

Participation is free of charge and you can register yourself here


Print Friendly, PDF & Email


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.