States of Mind and the City: Place and Wellbeing Symposium Oct. 2014 Istanbul

States of Mind and the City: Place and Wellbeing Symposium

15-17 October 2014, Istanbul



The “States of Mind and the City: Place and Wellbeing”  Symposium is intended as a multidisciplinary platform to bring together perspectives on the meanings, challenges, and potential in geographically interpreting wellbeing in urban settings. The event will explore the city as a geopolitical site of emotional wellbeing and mental health by drawing on Istanbul’s past, present, formal, confined, improvised, informal, fictional and lived therapeutic landscapes. Some examples of these places include hospitals, mental institutions, parks, green/grey lots, trails, seafronts, gardens, coffeehouses, neighbourhood markets, spice and herb shops, barbershops, springs, spas and public baths, art venues, cemeteries, mosques, churches and other holy places. Some other examples might be assessments of walkability, soundscapes or the city skyline. In these examples the site-specific aspect is less fixed, more dynamic, and the healing aspect might be related to visceral experiences of movement, rhythm and angle/vista.

Place and Wellbeing

Place is crucial to how we think, feel, act and relate to others. The Symposium is a platform to explore wellbeing as a performative continuum of embodied action and place-based experience. In its 2005 definition the World Health Organization refers to mental health as “a state of wellbeing in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community”. A geographical interpretation of wellbeing thus draws attention to the role of place in bodily, emotional and social formulations of health. The symposium will expand in this direction and the contributions are expected to further the discussion on to what extent everyday places of health and wellbeing allow for the political, ecological, health and planning related possibilities for liveable cities.

Call for Papers

We would like to invite contributors who work on the interrelated fields of health, space/place and society with a focus on cities and the urban environment. We welcome contributions that take a critical, interdisciplinary approach to the links between space, place, wellbeing and/or therapeutic landscapes. We look forward to the participation of researchers as well as practitioners and creative writers, artists and photographers working in or across various fields including but not restricted to: geography, environmental, health and medical sciences, anthropology, psychology, cultural studies, sociology, film & television studies, architecture, history, urban planning, art history, archaeology, literature and political science.


Discussions could include research, artistic and other works addressing one or more of the following themes:

▪                Everyday health practices; ordinary, ad-hoc places and practices of wellbeing

▪                Therapeutic landscapes of work, leisure, home, recreation

▪                Wellbeing and urban encounters (with human and non-human others, animals, plants, bridges, skyline …)

▪                Emotions and wellbeing in places of conflict, dissent and resistance

▪                Wellbeing and green/blue/grey places (sea, springs, forests, lots, roadsides …)

▪                Intersectionality and wellbeing; therapeutic landscapes of gender, race, generation

▪                Therapeutic landscapes of cohabitation (free range animals, dog shelters, aqua-worlds, botanic gardens …)

▪                Past (Byzantine, Ottoman…) and contemporary therapeutic places

▪                Migration, displacement and wellbeing

▪                Therapeutic landscapes of sex

▪                Therapeutic landscapes of exchange (gift giving, exchange networks …)

▪                Political economy of therapeutic landscapes (shopping malls; park, seafront redevelopment projects …)

▪                Medical, institutional therapeutic spaces: hospitals, access to health services

▪                Wellbeing and infrastructure: (e)motions, (dis)ability, mobility (public and private transportation, accessibility, traffic, cycling, walkability …)

▪                Therapeutic landscapes of (self) care and social reproduction

▪                Wellbeing and sound-, music-, smell- and food-scapes

▪                Wellbeing and places of surveillance and control (gated, monitored, protected areas)

▪                Therapeutic landscapes of faith (mosques, churches, holy springs, wells, ritual sites)

▪                Therapeutic landscapes of memory (monuments, museums, ruins …)

▪                Children’s therapeutic landscapes

▪                Therapeutic landscapes of film, TV, literature, myth, fiction

▪                Digital therapeutic landscapes and the city (e-health services, social networking …)

▪                Art and therapeutic spaces (public, private, street art



DFG Emmy Noether Research Group “Changing Imaginations of Istanbul. From ‘Oriental’ to the ‘Cool’ City”, Institute of European Ethnology, University of Munich, Germany in collaboration with Istanbul Studies Centre, Kadir Has University, Istanbul, Turkey


Submission information

Please submit abstracts of 200-300 words for 20 minute papers along with a short biography (200 words max.) to Dr. Aslı Duru ( by Tuesday, 10 June 2014.



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