Public spaces are often considered “neutral” similarly as they would be „free“ of charge. Yet individuals make different uses of public space, depending on their gender, socio-economic belonging or race. Accordingly, they face different constraints too. In order to observe these differences, you just have to walk around. That are what exploratory walks are all about: observing for instance in a supermarket, on a square, at the train station, in a park or in places dedicated to sports and making brief diagnosis of the situation of public spaces.
Public spaces are not static. They move along with the power relationships that underlie them. And to move these power relations, we have room for manoeuvre (agency), notably through feminist activism. We can refuse to accept the norms and develop tools to defend ourselves from the violence to which this refusal exposes us. Simply because we are agents of change. Not individually but collectively.
Public spaces are political. Their uses are political. In this workshop on “Reclaiming the city”, we will talk about commitment and means of action to empower those who, through an academic career, a university career or simply their daily lives, wish to act collectively so that the public space belongs to everyone.
Coline de Senarclens, author of „Salope ! Réflexion sur la stigmatisation„, will animate the workshop. She will also talk about her experiences as an activist in feminist associations and as a project manager in the equality opportunity office of the University of Geneva.