The Right to the City: Urban Struggles across Europe and the USA

15 June 2018


Venue: Hunter Lecture Theatre, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh College of Art, Hunter Building, 74 Lauriston Place, Edinburgh EH3 9DF

Organiser: The (real) Edinburgh Futures Institute (EFI)

This event is presented by the (real) Edinburgh Futures Institute (EFI). To support a 14-day long strike about pension rights at the University of Edinburgh in March 2018, students and staff occupied the Gordon Aikman lecture theatre. The occupiers soon became concerned with the commodification of education, and adopted the name “(real) EFI” to critique corporate cultures at the University of Edinburgh and propose a radical education alternative. After more than 100 workshops and teach-out sessions, the occupiers left to pursue activist projects beyond the confines of this building, including this event.

To celebrate 50 years from the first publication of “The Right of the City” by French theorist Henri Lefebvre, a mini-symposium on contemporary urban struggles is organised by cultural geographer Penny Travlou (University of Edinburgh, ESALA) and choreographer Sophia Lycouris (University of Edinburgh, ECA) to explore strategies of demanding “a transformed and renewed access to urban life”.

The event includes screenings of the films “American Revolutionary: The Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs” 2013, 1 hr 22 mins by Grace Lee (writer and director), and “DAS GEGENTEIL VON GRAU”, 2017, 1 hr 30 mins by Matthias Coers (director), followed by a Q&A session with film directors. There will also be a roundtable with academics and activists (confirmed participants: Penny Travlou, Alessandro Froldi, Angela McClanahan, Tahl Kaminer and Sophia Lycouris).

This is a follow up of an event on housing struggles, which was coordinated by the same organisers in April 2018 as one of the teach-out sessions that happened in the occupied Gordon Aikman Lecture theatre during the period of the University and College Union (UCU) industrial action at the University of Edinburgh, when academic and support staff were fighting to protect their pension rights.