Urban Photography Workshop – Cartographies

An Urban Photography Workshop and walk with Peter Coles (Goldsmiths, University of London) – 5-6 May 2017

Urban Photography Workshop – Cartographies

An Urban Photography Workshop and walk with Peter Coles (Goldsmiths, University of London) – 5-6 May 2017

University of London Institute in Paris & Goldsmiths, University of London
9-11 rue de Constantine 75007 Paris France
Event dates
- , 4 pm CET

ULIP will be hosting Peter Coles, writer, photographer, editor, and lecturer, to collaborate upon a unique two-day workshop on photography and the urban landscape. He will be joined by Anne Zeitz (Université Rennes 2) and Carolina Sanchez Boe (Aalborg University).

The event will offer participants opportunities for teaching, debate, and discussion on the urban environment and its expression in art, including a practical photography session in the streets of Northern Paris. This year’s event will be based around the theme of Cartographies: considering urban archeology and how it can map social change, participants will spend time looking for the traces left on the urban landscape of lives lived and generations moving on and up in and through the city around them.

The event is organised in collaboration with the MA Photography and Urban Cultures at Goldsmiths, University of London and with input from researchers in Urban History and Culture at ULIP.


Friday 5 May 2017 (ULIP) (4 pm – 6 pm)

An archaeology of urban landscape: re-reading the city

Lecture and discussion led by Peter Coles and Anna-Louise Milne, with Paul Halliday.

Saturday 6 May 2017 (10.00 am – 13.00 pm)

Choice of guided walks and photography in Paris, (depending on numbers):

  • Cartographies of Fear led by Anne Zeitz and Carolina Sanchez Boe
  • Shunting and  Stockpiling led by Anna-Louise Milne
  • Tracing the Bièvre, Paris’s hidden river. Led by Peter Coles

For more information on the three walks please scroll down.

Sharing and discussion of images shot in the morning; reflections on the day. (15.00 – 17.00, ULIP)

Sunday 7 May 2017

Free day for self-guided walks with possibilities to link up with others staying for the whole weekend. Peter, Anna-Louise, Anne and Carolina will be happy to offer suggestions.

The event is free but numbers are limited; please register in advance to reserve your place: Click here

Walk 1: Cartographies of Fear

Led by Carolina Sanchez Boe and Anne Zeitz

Several protests emerged in Paris throughout 2016, among them the mobilizations against a government reform of labor laws, against the national and municipal (mis)management of refugees and asylum seekers in Paris, and during the Nuit Debout movement. All involved actors who came from a diversity of civil society organizations or more or less informal networks. At Place de la République, law enforcement agents, experienced activists, first-time protesters, mourners and tourists met and interacted more or less peacefully or violently.

This walk questions the possibilities of photographic, social scientific and artistic representation and involvement during and after social-political demonstrations, protests and sit-ins. What role do and can photographers, artists and social scientists play in the expression of social and political claims in contemporary society? How are the confrontations between those demonstrating and law enforcement inscribed in the urban landscape? And how is it possible to document, visualize and map these issues?

Starting from Place de la République – where the traces of the terrorist attacks of 2015 and of the social movements of 2016 sometimes compete and at others overlap – we will walk through the 11th arrondissement, concentrating on the relationship between art, social sciences and activism, photographic and artistic projects and memory, as well as the urban landscape and its representation and cartography.

  • Meeting Place: In front of the statue, Monument à la République, Place de la République
  • Meeting Time: 10 am, Saturday 6 May
  • Duration: 2h
  • Please bring: cameras, smartphones, notebooks, or any other media of your choice.

Walk 2: Shunting and Stockpiling

Led by Anna-Louise Milne

What remains of the vast network of railway lines and yards that constituted one of the main entry points of goods and people into the city from the middle of the nineteenth century and throughout the twentieth century? How is the space around the site shaped by this infrastructure and its remnants? What traces of this activity can we find, perhaps in new forms of shunting, new forms of stock-piling and transferring.

The area north of the Gare du Nord remains an intersection of people and goods from all over the world. We will walk the perimeter of the original site, observing its form, plotting its legacy on the landscape and attuning our awareness to new mobilities and different paces of transformation. We will find decaying features of the early industrial city and the much more temporary structures that characterize contemporary urban development, as well as flagship experiments in translation of the old into the new, particularly the Centquatre performance centre and the Halle Pajol, two major municipal initiatives conceived as intersections between different populations but also as means of slowing the movement through this area, enabling investment.

On the other end of the scale as well as at the farthest point we will reach from our starting point, we will also explore the site currently used by the Paris city authorities as a refugee camp, the latest example of a “shunting yard” in this area’s long history of transportation, where the objective is to move people as quickly as possible to another destination.

  • Meeting Place: Esplanade Natalie Sarraute (metro La Chapelle/Marx Dormoy)
  • Meeting Time: 10 am, Saturday 6 May
  • Duration: 2h
  • Please bring: cameras, smartphones, notebooks, or any other media of your choice.

Walk 3: Tracing the Bièvre

Led by Peter Coles

A walk along the last stretch of a now buried river, the Bièvre, from the Buttes aux Cailles (13th arrondissement) to the Seine (about 2-3 hours). 

By the mid-19th century, the Bièvre, Paris’s second river, was a stinking open sewer, passing from the suburb of Gentilly, through the tanneries and dyers’ ateliers of the Gobelins district, south of the Latin Quarter, to the Seine near Pont d’Austerlitz. Baron Haussman, architect of the redesign of Paris with its Grands Boulevards, was Prefect of the Seine at the time. As part of his efforts to improve the city’s sanitation, he also authorised the gradual covering over of the Bièvre,

When the 19th-century decadent writer, J.K Huysmans, wrote his essay on the disappearing Bièvre, it was as a eulogy, not to the passing of the last vestiges of idealised bucolic life in the city, but to the loss of this sordid, filthy world that he found so beautiful.

By the first decade of the 20th century, the river had been covered entirely and channelled underground in culverts and sewer pipes with the rest of the city’s waste water.

It is an opportunity to discover the topography of the buried riverbed inscribed on the surface, or bursting through anomalies and imperfections in Hausmann’s rebuilt city.

  • Meeting Place: Metro Place d’Italie (in front of Italie Deux shopping centre)
  • Meeting Time: 10 am, Saturday 6 May
  • Duration: 2h
  • Please bring: cameras, smartphones, notebooks, or any other media of your choice.