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“What does being invisible in the city mean”? The main question at the HUB4 Conference, Making visible the invisibles

29 September 2023
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Exploration of the unseen facets of the urban life was the main theme of CIVIS’ Hub4 International Conference ”Making visible the invisibles - Research on Inequalities and Injustices in Cities”. The event, which took place between 27-29 September 2023, at Université libre de Bruxelles, was also included in the physical mobility section of a Blended Intensive Programme (BIP) under the same theme.  

photo: Robin Lebrun

The event examined different thematic areas (nature, politics, society, technology, etc.) and focused on five main topics:

  • Hidden Urban Nature
  • Biases and incomplete perspectives in research
  • The equity in spaces
  • Social Invisibility
  • Innovations and transformations in governance and the digital world

By uncovering hidden aspects of urban life, challenging biases in research, and promoting equity and social inclusion, diverse fields researchers tried to shed light on the hidden inequalities and injustices in urban spaces. Fruitful interdisciplinary exchanges contributed to uncovering several invisibilities of our world - whether because some phenomena are hardly accessible, or because we usually pay little attention to them.

photo: Robin Lebrun

The conference encouraged collaboration in tackling complex issues, such as:

  • How can we identify blind spots in urban research?
  • What methodologies reveal hidden urban phenomena?
  • How can participatory research address underrepresented voices?
  • How can research on invisibility be effectively communicated?

The purpose of the entire conversation was to unearth the hidden layers of urban life, challenge the status quo, and contribute to a more inclusive and just urban future, by making the invisible visible. 

photo: Robin Lebrun                                                                            photo: Donia Matine

The BIP Making Visible the Invisibles organized around the event aimed to teach Master and Doctoral students how to participate in a scientific conference. After 2 days of preparing posters of their own research projects, the students presented them at the conference, exchanging thoughts and ideas with the other participants.  

In the spirit of unveiling invisibilities, several visits in the city were also organized, focusing on the hidden nature, the space of the water, and artists' studios in the city.