Home|less: Postgraduate Interdisciplinary Conference


Home|less: Postgraduate Interdisciplinary Conference

University of Kent, Canterbury, UK

20-21 June 2014

Call for Papers

Keynote Speakers:

Prof Gordana Fontana Giusti, Kent School of Architecture (University of Kent, UK)

Dr Marianne Amar, Musée de l’Immigration (Paris, France)


The house shelters day-dreaming,

the house protects the dreamer,

the house allows one to dream in peace.

Gaston Bachelard

On the most literal level we can understand the home as a physical construction which allows for an enclosed, inner space, that provides shelter and protection to an individual or individuals. Although the form that homes take may vary over the world, the needs they fulfil and the range of feelings they evoke are universal: protection, comfort, warmth, safety and privacy. In addition to these basic needs, the concept of home plays a pivotal role in constructing and shaping the individual identity both at a personal and a social level.

If each human being is defined by his or her home, what are the implications of being without a home? What does it mean to be homeless? What are the social problems connected to physical, spiritual and emotional lack or loss of one’s home? And how do ideas of homelessness, like ideas of home, change across time and space?

The centrality of home to discourses of identity, social policy, and culture means that homelessness has implications beyond the spatial, impacting on the political, psychological and ecological spheres, among others. Consequently, any examination of homelessness demands a multidisciplinary approach.

This Postgraduate conference, jointly organised by 3 schools of the University of Kent, aims at exploring the topic of homelessness across disciplines and fields of study. We therefore welcome 250-words abstracts for 20-minute papers and posters (research, art or photography) from all academic disciplines, including architecture and urban planning, sociology, politics, human geography, the arts, literature, history, philosophy, social psychology and ethnobotany. We particularly welcome contributions from postgraduate students and early-career researchers.

Topics may include but are not limited to:

  • Home and the city: homelessness in urban spaces
  • Home and the polis: policies and politics of homelessness
  • Home and society: social integration and group dynamics
  • Representing homelessness: literature, cinema and the arts
  • Ecological implications of homelessness
  • Cultural memory, diaspora, exile and identity
  • Architectural responses to homelessness: shelters and ephemeral constructions

Please submit abstracts for papers or posters, complete with a short biographical note, to kent.homeless.2014@gmail.com by 31 March 2014. Please include the words “Homeless Submission” in the subject of your email.

Successful applicants will be informed by mid-April.

Selected papers will be published in a special issue of Contention: The Multidisciplinary Journal of Social Protest (contentionjournal.org), dedicated to the conference.

If you have any queries or would like to have more information, please feel free to contact us at kent.homeless.2014@gmail.com or check our website: homelessconference2014.wordpress.com/

The organising committee:

Christina Chatzipoulka (Kent School of Architecture)

Christopher Chang (School of English)

Barbara Franchi (School of English)

Luca Di Gregorio (School of European Cultures and Languages)

This conference is organised with the support of the Kent Graduate School.