Youth on the Move: performing urban space in the Global South

Dr Ying Cheng, Dr Min Tang, and Mr Anuj Daga

Funding period: 1 May 2023 – 31 July 2024
Type of funding: Seminar Series

Host institutions: Centre for African Studies, Peking University (China), Lagos Studies Association (Nigeria), French Institute of Pondicherry (India), College of Architecture and Urban Planning, Tongji University (China), and School of Environment and Architecture, University of Mumbai (India).
Dates: May 2023 (online), June 2023 (Lagos), October 2023 (online), and Spring 2024 (Beijing).
Lead organisers: Dr Ying Cheng (Peking University), Dr Min Tang (Tongji University), and Mr Anuj Daga (University of Mumbai)
Contact: Dr Ying Cheng

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Abstract: The neoliberal restructuring of the Southern cities has had a far-reaching effect on the ways in which youth move and perform urban space. Such urban condition has often trapped youth in a prolonged state of “waithood” or “boredom”. Howerer the youth constantly remake time and space of their everyday urban environment through “hustling” “circulating” or “detaching”, in turn formulating practices of desire and deviation for meaningful existence.

This seminar series observes emerging socio-spatial practices of youth in African and Asian contexts, and examines their modes of moving and meaning-making through an embodied politics of performance. The conceptual lens of ‘performance’ highlights the interplay between body and urban space and acknowledges the interconnectedness of young people’s lives and the spatial transformations of the city. While youth indexes a range of people across spectrums of class, gender, caste, including migrants, labour, women, early career researchers or students; practices of movement are oriented towards livelihoods, home making, political actions, translocal migration and artistic practices.

Through two virtual lecture series, an artist workshop in Nigeria (Africa), and an early career scholars’ workshop in China (Asia), the seminar series gathers urban scholars, architects, artists, curators and local youth groups and asks: how does the youth perform Southern urban space, and what practices of (im)mobility do they produce? The seminar series aims to unpack the multi-layered, mobile ‘Southern urbanity’ and promote interdisciplinary dialogues between southern scholars and artistic practitioners.

Project Website