Osijek: Urban Chronicles in Empirical Context Ph.D. Training School

The Training School Urban Chronicles in Empirical Context was held during 26-28 April 2022 in Osijek, Croatia, and provided participants with the opportunity to engage in lectures, city walks, analyses of local urban chronicles, discussions, and workshops. As a host institution, the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences Osijek offered a three-day training school from the perspective of literary and cultural identity, combining theoretical and practical approaches, and linked to the doctoral program “Literature and Cultural Identity.”


Day 1 – Tuesday 26th April 2022

City Walk: “Wilma Vukelić’s A Past Rescued from Oblivion,” Assist. Prof. Stephanie Jug, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences Osijek

Day 2 – Tuesday 27th April 2022

Introduction: Prof. Susana Oliveira, University of Lisbon; Assist. Prof. Katarina Žeravica, Academy of Culture and Arts Osijek; Assist. Prof. Giuseppe Resta, Yeditepe University Istanbul

Lecture: “Space in Literature,” Prof. Leo Rafolt, Academy of Arts and Culture Osijek

Day 3 – Thursday 28 April 2022

Workshop: “A City of One’s Own – the City as Game,” Prof. Susana Oliveira, University of Lisbon

The purpose of the workshop “A City of One’s Own – the City as Game,” was to record, by means of note taking, collecting and sketching, perceptions and impressions of the city of Osijek, based on some principles of psycho-geographical drift. The results of this voluntary drift and its exploration will later be materialized in a collective mapping of the city, gathering all participants’ drawings, poems, stories, collages, songs and so on, all that may be part of the absorption of the place.

Each participant had his or her own sketchbook and drawing tools and took advantage of both walks organized at the local institution and by the training school organizers, as of its own personal incursions and experiences of the place. The results were submitted on an online platform in order to be selected and edited for a collective map.

Workshop: “Writing Out the City of Osijek: the Nature and the Urban, the Wounds and the Strength,” Assist. Prof. Sonja Novak, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Osijek

The creative writing workshop was coupled with the plaster workshop and aimed at developing a character that would be placed into the city of Osijek and would, in form of a short story, narrate different elements of the city that the participants chose and decided to emphasize. By means of visual and language prompts, the participants would during the writing workshop, devise their protagonist(s) and create their background or ongoing events in the story related to Osijek, with a final stage of emphasizing the city and the urban place as a chosen conceptual metaphor, e. g. city as a zoo or animal, city as organism, city as a woman… In connection with the plaster workshop, the creative writing workshop activated both the mind as well as the hands of the participants, generating wonderful short stories and objects depicting among others, the Osijek river Drava and its literal and symbolic meaning, the stars that are still visible in a city that does not yet suffer from lights pollution, the scent of blooming flowers and the greenery that is abundant in the city, the struggles and wounds of the war struck are and its inhabitants, as well as the opportunities the city provides for them  if they open up to it, embrace it and become more aware of it.

Workshop: “Plaster-of-Osijek: Souvenirs and Memorabilia,” Giuseppe Resta, Assist. Prof., Yeditepe University Istanbul

The workshop aimed at establishing a correlation between the space of narratives and that of reality through artifacts that participants have created with plaster casting. The idea of souvenir as a token that condenses memories of a journey originated among religious pilgrims. But starting with the Grand Tour travellers would collect such small-scale replicas as a demonstration of cultural and aesthetic transcendence. Within this framework, participants designed and produced one cast object that is addressed in their narratives, introducing an additional dimension to their short story. Haptic, smell, and visual feelings were conveyed by mixing the plaster with organic materials, colors, and fabrics used by their character.

To a certain degree, every output is unexpected and not fully controllable as the mixture flows, breaks or dry after the mould is removed. These are souvenir from an imagined journey of an invented character who has visited Osijek.

City Walk: “Ivana Šojat’s Unterstadt,” Assist. Prof. Sonja Novak, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences Osijek

Presence in Local Media:

Sveucilisni glasnik, No 77, p. 13, February 25, 2022

(English translation)

“The international training school for Ph.D. candidates and young scientists will be held at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences in Osijek, April 26-28, 2022, as part of the doctoral program “Literature and Cultural Identity,” in collaboration with scientists from the COST network CA18126 Writing Urban Places, New Narratives of the European City, and the Osijek Academy of Arts and Culture. The goal of the project Writing Urban Places led by prof. Klaske Havik from the Delft University of Technology is to develop an interdisciplinary approach to understanding relations between communities and the space in which they live, with special emphasis on European medium-sized cities such as Osijek. The doctoral school entitled “Urban Chronicles in Empirical Context” will combine the theory, methodology, and practice in creating and experiencing urban space in literature, and its goal is to discover local urban narratives containing information about socio-spatial practices, understanding, and perception, but also expectations from the space we have built and that surrounds us. As sources of important sociological and anthropological data, local urban narratives entail values that the participants of the planned international doctoral school will recognize and experience through reading selected texts that are located in the city of Osijek and by visiting the sites mentioned in the texts. The organization and implementation of the event are carried out by the organizing team of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences Osijek (Assistant Prof. Sonja Novak, Assistant Prof. Stephanie Jug, Full Prof. Kristina Peternai Andrić, Full Prof Zoltan Medve, Assoc. Prof. Ljubica Matek, Assist. Proef. Jasna Poljak Rehlicki, research assistants Iris Spajić and Marijana Mandić), while from the Academy of Arts and Culture Osijek Full Prof. Leo Rafolt and Assist. Prof. Katarina Žeravica will participate as lecturers. International lecturers from the COST network of the Writing Urban Places project are Assoc. Prof. Ph.D. Susana Oliveira (Faculty of Fine Arts Lisbon, Portugal), Assist Prof. Giuseppe Resta (Yeditepe University, Ankara, Turkey), Full Prof. Ramona Mihaila and Assoc. Prof. Ph.D. Onorina Botezat (both from Faculty of Foreign Languages and Literatures, Dimitrie Cantemir Christian University in Bucharest, Romania).”

Radio UNIOS Osijek, April 25 2022 – http://radio.unios.hr/sveucilisni-glasnik14-25-04-22/
Synopsis: “Presentations of the International School for Doctoral Students and Young Scientists, which will be held from April 26 to 29 at the Faculty of Philosophy in Osijek. There are participants from 20 countries, and it connects urban culture with literature.”

HRT radio Osijek, Statement of Assist. Prof. Sonja Novak, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences Osijek

Osijek Express, April 26, 2022

Osijek 031, April 25, 2022 – Opening of the International Doctoral School “Urban Chronicles in Empirical Context”


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