"High Stakes, High Hopes: Creating Urban Knowledge Collaboratively", Prof. Dr. Sophie Oldfield (University of Basel) - Inaugural Lecture

Naturhistorisches Museum, Aula, Augustinergasse 2, Basel

High Stakes, High Hopes creates urban theory in the political and physical realities of everyday southern city life. In a city bursting at its seams, struggling to deliver services, to manage the conflicts that threaten to tear it asunder. In a township neighbourhood grappling with evictions, with the legacies of apartheid, forced to fight for every right, service, and resource. And, in a university up on the city's mountain slopes, tasked to teach the city, to theorise its pasts and futures. This work examines the high stakes at play in a decade-long research and teaching partnership, which has brought this university and the neighbourhood’s civic organization in Cape Town to research the city together to collaboratively build urban theory. In narrating the project and partnership, this lecture will explore collaborative forms of urban theory, immersed in the registers, inspirations and meanings of everyday struggles and learning across the city. This approach brings together multiple voices, registers and accounts, shaping urban theory in shared spaces across the city. In this context of extreme urban inequality, this approach to theorising infuses the personal, political, and public struggles through which urban theory is generated, expertise opened up, and solidarity and commitment built.

This lecture is part of the Inaugural Lecture of new Professorships from the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences for Fall 2017 semester.

Prof. Dr. Sophie Oldfield bio

Neighbourhood residents discussing the partnership's research findings, Valhalla Park, Cape Town
© Sophie Oldfield