The Modern Backdrop: Urban Modernisation and Representations of the Working-Class (1950-1975)

Date / time: 24 March, 12:00 am

The Modern Backdrop: Urban Modernisation and Representations of the Working-Class (1950-1975)

A two-day conference at the University of Salford, UK (on campus) | 25 – 26 May 2023

Call for Papers, deadline – 24 March 2023

Click to download the Call for Papers

The development of social housing estates after the Second World War in Europe initiated in many cities the radical transition of urban environments from 19th-century dwellings to modern housing. The plans and hopes of architects, planners, and city councils when developing modern infrastructure and housing not only focussed on elevating living standards; modern housing estates were also believed to support the development of ‘new communities’ within which preexisting and widespread social problems would dissolve.

Proposals are welcome from scholars in fields such as art and architectural history, media studies, urban studies, cultural anthropology, consumer studies and gender studies.

Conference website: 

We are inviting papers that investigate topics such as:

  • Representations of the Working-Class in material and visual culture (film, TV, photography, painting, literature, etc.)
  • Architectural design and social engineering: theories on the transformative power of architectural design on behaviours of residents
  • Mid-20th century narratives and histories of slum clearance, overspill estates and rehousing
  • Challenges in architecture and planning concerning the process of slum clearance, rehousing, planning, building, and occupying mid-20th century social housing estates
  • Stigmatiser and stigmatised. The role of news media in the stigmatisation process ofresidents and territories
  • The roles of media in affirming and solidifying reputations of social housing estates and their residents
  • The role of city councils in redeveloping urban ‘slums’
  • The exclusion and inclusion of ‘slum dwellers’ in the planning and redevelopment processes
  • Slum clearance and the short and long-term impacts of being ‘rehoused’
  • Effects of media representations on memories of lived experiences
  • Representations of the working class in the fine arts

Please submit a title and 300-word abstract by Friday 24 March 2023 to: Each abstract should include the name and affiliation of the author(s), have a title, and be 300-words.

This two-day conference is part of the research project ‘The Modern Backdrop: Memories of Salford’ and is funded by the Paul Mellon Centre.

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