Inaugural lecture Nanna Verhoeff: Screens on Streets: Media for the Open City

Prof. dr. Nanna Verhoeff. Foto: Ed van Rijswijk
Prof. Nanna Verhoeff. Photo: Ed van Rijswijk

Prof. Nanna Verhoeff is Professor of Screen Cultures & Society at Utrecht University's Department of Media and Culture Studies since 1 September 2020. Her inaugural lecture is entitled 'Screens on Streets: Media for the Open City'.

Screens on streets

We encounter more and more screens and other media on the street. They address us and reflect on urban, public space and our position within it. Verhoeff introduces a conceptual framework that provides insight into how screens as media architecture both shape and set public space in motion.

It also helps us to see and understand how screens as interfaces create relationships between the city and its inhabitants or visitors, and between those people themselves. By considering screens as media architectures and interfaces, we can gain insights into how they can play a productive role in processes of change within our society.

Media for the open city

What can screen media do for the open city? According to Verhoeff, the 'open city' is first and foremost an inclusive city that moves with, and responds to, the developments in the world. The open city is also a city full of contradictions that are part of processes of change.

Screen media can both make an important contribution to the public debate about these difficult, sometimes painful processes, and help develop proposals for an inclusive city.

An agenda for the Humanities

Research into the open city and the way media (can) shape an open society requires interdisciplinary and interprofessional collaboration. Not only institutions and policy makers need to be at table; local residents, artists, and activists also need to be involved.

Publicly engaged humanities are indispensable in this, in particular with a practice-oriented perspective on the conceptual and methodological foundations of such collaborations. In the inaugural lecture, the added value of such "creative" humanities is elaborated on with case studies and collaborations.

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Hybrid: online (click here) and for invited guests in the Utrecht University Hall