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Symposium: “Metro-Milieu: (Alter)Rurality As A Relational Gap Between Inhabiting Scales” May 23–26, 2019



Thursday, 23 May 2019

17.30h              Event and exhibition opening at the main hall
18.00h             Lecture 1: Pieter Versteegh, Entrepreneurship: Commons and Care
19.00h             Lecture 2: Nataša Teofilović, Alter-digital – The Role of Digital Art in Rural Environment

Friday, 24 May 2019
8.30-10.30h     Morning walk (Meeting in front of the event venue)
11.00-12.30h   Research presentations and discussion
Participants: Anna Sofe Hvid, Mo Michelsen Stochholm Krag
12.30-13.30h   Break
13.30h               Lecture 3: Michael Woods, The Future is Rural?
14.30-17.30h   Student workshops presentations and discussion
17.30-18.00h   Break
18.00h               ROUND TABLE DEBATE


The Faculty of Architecture in Belgrade and ARENA (Architectural Research Network) are inviting You to participate in the International Symposium:

Metro-Milieu: (Alter)Rurality As A Relational Gap Between Inhabiting Scales

May 23 – 26, 2019

University of Belgrade – Faculty of Architecture, Bulevar Kralja Aleksandra 73/II floor, Belgrade, Serbia

(alter)Rurality, post-urban, human habitat, resilience, innovation, architecture, territorial planning, human geography, economy, cognitive psychology, digital arts and media

The contemporary notion of rurality is tensioned between intelligences of autonomy and networking. Rural space is disposing stability in terms of specific economical units – from household to local community, closely networked in the nexus of rural environment. On the other hand, rural space is connected to numerous economical, sociopolitical and cultural relations to urban conditions, both considered necessary and more and more endured as constraints. This tension is ambiguous – simultaneously problematic and nourishing for rural life modalities. It results in peculiar mechanisms and procedures inherent to situations of in-betweens – often of largely understated importance, such as that of food economy systems entirely disconnected from local stakes.

We are here emphasizing the aspect of economic reasoning on the fringe of two distant scales of inhabited environment – connected to the urban in the sense of a metropolitan inscription in global economy and local with the connotation of ambiental rooting. The metropolis, etymologically a mother-city, is one of problematic contemporary connotations: of size, of polarity, of exemplarity, single unit of global financial economic and political power. The metropolis of today tends to substitute itself to the welfare-state in an unprecedented neoliberal growth race. It has annexed, absorbed rural space, nature, and the entire biosphere as its economic, political and sociocultural sub-system. Rural space has become a resource landscape for urban use within metropolitan/global economical growth purposes: a space providing production of consumables and energy, housing, leisure and holiday resort, depository of pollution, waste and rejections (Guillot/Versteegh).

Rather than opposing two scales (in their geographic meaning of qualities) of inhabited environments in a binary lock-in inevitably returning to this predominant figure of rural resource landscape, we introduce the notion of metromilieu, let us say metro-environment in English. The stronger French term metromilieu, by is pleonastic character, emphasizes its etymological meaning of a motherly, uterine space or environment. It opposes the predatory polarity of the metropole competing for global productive power and suggests a smoother continuity of connectedness – always umbilically related to earth as a complex finite motherly state of precarious nature sustained by collaboration and surrounded by care. A metro-milieu is an environment that houses scales of locally rooted, bottom-up phenomena of resilience, giving them meaning within a new global economic construct – searching global compatibility without giving away to global neoliberal growth economy.

Through the notion of Metro-milieu or Metro-environment we want to invest the current relational gap between inhabiting scales while giving it a globally compatible and holistically constructed identity. Within a school of architecture, this means that the ancient paradigm of the house on a site, of the city in a landscape needs to be deconstructed, that a new paradigm needs to be constructed from a holistic, that is a broad interdisciplinary field.

Four sub-themes will be developed by guest key – note workshop and/or round table leaders:

  • Assembling Rurality in The Metro-Milieu (Professor Michael Woods, Human Geography)
  • Architecture, Design and Cognition (Professor Vasilije Gvozdenović, Cognitive psychology)
  • Entrepreneurship: Commons and Care (to be confirmed)
  • Alter-Digital – Presence and The Role of Digital Art in Rural Environment (Professor Nataša Teofilović, Media and communication)

Event research concept: results through reversed interdisciplinary praxis

This event seeks to invent new forms of collaboration connecting research, teaching and practice, locally and internationally, engaging 2nd and 3rd cycle studies. Whereas in architecture the contributions of “other” disciplines are often viewed as peridisciplinary services, we will explore a reversed interdisciplinary approach where the “other” discipline takes a central position.

  • new or reversed interdisciplinarity: work as architects under leadership of a different discipline, from a different disciplinary angle, along specific sub-themes;
  • working on a rooted site in multi-scale specific (alter)rural settings;
  • key-note conferences, workshops, round tables, exhibition, walks, debates;
  • a publication is intended to follow.

Key-note guests

Pieter Versteegh / Architecture and rural planning
Michael Woods / Human geography (sub-theme 1)
Vasilije Gvozdenović / Cognitive psychology (sub-theme 2)
Nataša Teofilović / Digital art (sub-theme 3)
to be anounced / economy (sub-theme 4)

Scientific committee

Vladan Đokić, Faculty of Architecture, University of Belgrade
Pieter Versteegh, ARENA / Psyché, Fribourg
Chris Younès, GERPHAU / ESA Paris, France, ARENA
Zoran Lazović, Faculty of Architecture, University of Belgrade
Ana Nikezić, Faculty of Architecture, University of Belgrade
Sophia Meeres, University College Dublin, ARENA
Dominic Stevens, DIT Dublin, ARENA
Ben Stringer, Westminster University, London, ARENA
Michael Woods, Aberystwyth University
Nataša Teofilović, Faculty of Media and Communications, Singidunum University, Belgrade
Vasilije Gvozdenović, Faculty of Philosophy, University of Belgrade
Đorđe Stojanović, Faculty of Architecture, University of Belgrade
Anđelka Bnin-Bninski, Faculty of Architecture, University of Belgrade, GERPHAU, ARENA

Abstract submission

The call for participants is open to students, researchers and practitioners of any discipline feeling related to the theme of the event. Participation proposals (abstracts) should state a research intention or subject and should explicitly develop how/why they respond to the main theme and one of the sub- themes.

Submissions should comply to the following:
– abstract maximum 3000 characters;
– mention of the chosen sub-theme, name of the author, short bio-note (max 800 characters) institution or organisation, contact information;
– up to 3 images are welcome (300 Dpi Jpeg);
– Word format, Arial 10, flush left,
– deadline for submission: March 29th 2019 April 20th 2019,
– submission:

Organisers reserve the right to alter sub-themes or sub-theme distribution of if needed for logistic reasons.


  • Submission of proposals:  March 29th 2019 April 20th 2019,
  • Notification of acceptance: April, 2019
  • Event registration (early birds): April 17th, 2019
  • Event registration closure: May 3rd, 2019

Participation Fee

– 30€ early-bird, national
– 150€ early-bird, international
– 50€ full registration, national
– 200€ full registration, international

All information available at the official Symposium website:

BOOKLET: Symposium: “Metro-Milieu: (Alter)Rurality As A Relational Gap Between Inhabiting Scales” May 23–26, 2019