Field School: Gentrification and the Makeable City, KU Leuven (Belgium)

About the Field School (from the handout)

The Field School 2019 has the theme of “Gentrification and the Makeable City – The Brussels Canal Zone”. It has as its main goal to study and discuss the ongoing urban transformations in the Brussels Canal Zone by means of intensive fieldwork in an international and interdisciplinary oriented community of lecturers, researchers and students of the various participating institutions. 

As secondary objectives, we intend to: 

  • Deepen knowledge on territorial and social transformations, that could be generalized to other contexts under pressure by gentrification processes.
  • Develop ethnographic methodologies to access this particular problematic.
  • Develop a community of researchers and cooperation networks between EU and African lecturers, researchers and students.

In order to approach this urban setting we will engage in ethnographic fieldwork, using participant observation, the collection of life histories related to the different stakeholders, accessing primary and secondary data, and social and spatial analysis methodologies. The objective is not only to generate understandings of the topics, ethnographic, theoretical and methodological, but to share and valorize these among the various stakeholders and informants. To this aim, we will organize presentations and discussions organized with all the stakeholders at the end of the Field School. 

The Field School combines lectures, debates and intensive fieldwork, integrating several disciplines and involving anthropological, social, economic, political, urban, territorial and environmental studies. The lectures and debates will teach the participants relevant theoretical concepts and insights, methodological approaches, as well as knowledge of the local context, essential to ground the desk research and the fieldwork. There was also a reflection paper submitted at the end of the Field School.

The Field School was held on the 31st of January until 8th of February of 2019 in the Canal Zone, Brussels, Belgium. It was organized by the Institute for Anthropological Research in Africa (IARA) of the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven.

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