CAMOC Krakow 2020 Annual Conference: The Right to the City

added 13.01.2020 - update 13.07.2020

CAMOC Krakow 2020 Annual Conference:
The Right to the City
Museum of Krakow, Krakow, Poland, October 1-3, 2020

All over the world, cities are expanding, growing in importance, as centers of social and economic development and education. Henri Lefèbvre was the first to present the concept of The Right to the City (1968), as a collective reclamation of the urban space by marginalized groups living in the border districts of the city. David Harvey took these ideas forward, stating that “the Right to the city is far more than the individual liberty to access urban resources: it is a right to change ourselves by changing the city. It is, moreover, a common rather than an individual right since this transformation inevitably depends upon the exercise of a collective power to reshape the processes of urbanization” (2008).
At the same time, it is in urban environments that many problems of the present day - ecological, economic and social - accumulate. All this is the basis for the development of city museums, although it also poses new challenges for them. Museums as institutions with a great capital of social trust can play a significant role in the observed transformations. Urban museums, rooted in local communities and therefore more accountable to society, play a special role here. However, this situation raises many questions: how can museums better perform its social functions? Where are the boundaries of such actions and how should they not be crossed? How should controversial issues be dealt with?
These and other questions will be posed to the participants of the CAMOC 2020 meeting in Krakow, our 15th annual conference, organized by CAMOC, the City of Krakow and the Museum of Krakow.

Within the broader theme of the right to the city and city museums, we will welcome the proposals focusing on the following sub-topics:

1. Participation/locality
According to Joan Roca (MUHBA/City History Museums and Research Network of Europe), the right to the city has a series of implications, reflected in the “right to the neighbourhood” and the “right to the centre”, as well as “the right to the memory” and “the right to history”. In this context, the city museum acts simultaneously on a city scale and a local scale: “as an organiser of spaces and narratives and as a connector of neighbourhoods with the city”.
In this session, city museum experts are invited to reflect on how the dialectics between local everyday life and the city as the symbolic space of representation, the space of memories and, simultaneously, of tangible evidence of city history and development, may be understood and rendered visible in city museum strategies, collections and activities. How can the city museum become an agent of social inclusion and sociocultural cohesion? How can it fulfil the role of a cultural hub for the city, arrival point for a visitor, and a safe and inclusive space for everyone?

2. Who has the right to the city?
This session invites contributions that explore how city museums address the problem of “Who belongs?” or “Who has the right to the city?”. Diverse issues may be tackled under this research question: changing demographics, migration and immigration, relations between “insiders” and “outsiders”, as well as between residents and tourists, in cases of mass tourism and its conflicting relation with the right to the city. Many cities worldwide have experienced benefits of being attractive destinations for visitors, but also identified great challenges: how do cities and city museums cope with overuse, negative impacts brought by visitors and paradoxical situations when tourists destroy exactly what they seek for? As increase in mass tourism or demographic changes often overlap with processes such as population concentration, and an increase in inequalities and exclusion, the question of belonging becomes more intricate and also more relevant to explore in the city museum context. How can city museums contribute to understanding and mediating complex relations between visitors and residents, (im)migrants and residents, “insiders” and “outsiders”, and (productive) differences they bring into play in urban space?

3. Urban revitalization
This session invites contributions of city museum experts looking into urban revitalization processes and reflecting on the future of public space and housing. In these processes, on one hand, there is a desire and opportunity to reinforce inclusivity - equal access to public services, to housing, to public space for all people, and a possibility for all to participate in shaping places and cities; but, on the other hand, speculation tends to turn public spaces into contested spaces and generate inequalities. How can city museums contribute to developing new forms of participation in urban revitalization processes and thus help creating a more inclusive, participative city?
4. Confronting with post-truth
The increasing and problematic phenomenon of denial of science, evidence, facts, and even dismissal of truth itself has been broadly recognized as one of the most upsetting tendencies of our epoch. The aim of the session is better understanding of the impact and scope of the so-called “post-truth” in the context of city museums and reflecting on the possible action: the questions of conveying authenticity through museum collections and programmes, clarifying urban reality through acknowledging multitude of voices, which sometimes may even be opposed, creating a safe space and reliable base for learning, debate and interpretation of cities’ past, present and future.

Scientific committee:
Joana Sousa Monteiro, CAMOC Chair / Museum of Lisbon
Michal Niezabitowski, Director, Museum of Krakow/CAMOC Board member
Katarzyna Winiarczyk, Curator, Museum of Krakow
Joan Roca i Albert, MUHBA / City History Museums and Research Network of Europe
Catherine C. Cole, CAMOC Vice-Chair
Sarah Henry, CAMOC Vice-Chair / MCNY
Jenny Chiu, CAMOC Board member
Jelena Savic, CAMOC Secretary

September 30, 2020 / Tuesday
Participants’ arrival to Krakow and informal welcome by the local organizers

DAY 1 - October 1, 2020 / Wednesday
Conference sessions
Evening reception

DAY 2 - October 2, 2020 / Thursday
Conference sessions
Closing event with an exhibition opening

DAY 3 - October 3, 2020 / Friday
Specialized visits to museums and sites within the city of Krakow,
organized by the Museum of Krakow

DAY 4 -October 4, 2020 / Saturday
Excursion day in the Krakow region
CAMOC Grants for the Krakow 2020 Conference
To encourage colleagues to participate in CAMOC’s activities, we will award at least two travel grants of five hundred Euros (€ 500) each for ICOM/CAMOC members who intend to take part in the CAMOC 2020 Annual Conference. Up to two more grants funded by ICOM will be directed specifically to our young member(s). The grants will provide assistance for airfare (economy fare) and accommodation. Other expenses related to the members’ participation, such as insurance coverage, visa costs, local transportation, meals, will not be covered by these grants, under any circumstances.

Successful applicants must fulfil the following criteria:
  • To be individual members of ICOM and preferably of CAMOC, in good standing, for a minimum of 2 years as of the grant application date;
  • To be working in the museum field for a minimum of 2 years, as of the application date.
Also, preference will be given to:
  • applicants who submitted successful proposals in response to this Call for Papers;
  • members from the countries belonging to Categories 3 and 4;
  • members who haven’t previously benefitted from CAMOC grants.
The grantees will also be exempt of the conference fees. After the conference, all grantees will be required to write a detailed report about the Annual Conference for publication in the CAMOC Museums of Cities Review and the CAMOC website. The report must be in English and submitted by February 15, 2020.

To apply, please send a motivation letter explaining your cause, accompanied with a CV and proofs that you fulfil the above criteria to with the subject “CAMOC grant application”, no later than January 31, 2020. Please also let us know if you can assure any additional sources of funding for your travel, as the awarded amount may not cover participation costs in full. All grant applicants will be informed of the outcome by March 10, 2020.
CAMOC Krakow 2020 Annual Conference:
The Right to the City

Please prepare an abstract of your proposal in English (up to 350 words), together with a brief biographical note (up to 75 words), and send them in .doc format to the CAMOC 2020 Organizing Committee at until February 14, 2020.

Elements of the paper proposal:
  • Author(s)
  • Affiliation
  •  ICOM membership number
  • E-mail address
  • The session theme your proposal fits best
  • Title of the proposal
  • Abstract (max. 350 words)
  • Keywords (max. 5)
  • Short biography (max. 75 words)
The scientific and organizing committee may opt for varied participation and interaction models for this conference (standard oral presentations, ignite sessions, round tables). Please note that the presentation models will be precisely defined and further guidance provided upon completion of the evaluation process, depending on the number and profile of the successful applicants.

Important dates
Deadline for abstract submission: February 14, 2020
Notification of acceptance: March 1, 2020
Grant award notification: March 10, 2020
Early bird registration deadline: August 31, 2020

For enquiries regarding this Call for Papers, please contact Jelena Savic, CAMOC Secretary, via:
For enquiries regarding the Museum of Krakow and the host city, please contact Mr. Krzysztof Haczewski, via: