Conference Theme

Major environmental pressures culminating in ecological crises, the impact of the debt fiasco experienced in several European countries, financialization practices causing massive housing crises and land grabbing and inhumane responses to the large number of refugees arriving in Europe have all reinforced socio-economic and spatial inequalities. In light of these complex and multifaceted crises affecting our cities and regions, there is a renewed urgency to re-think socio-spatial and socialecological justice and the role that engaged research can play in that. Spatial planning, development, and geography studies have sought to tackle these key issues, e.g. through the critical research lenses of social innovation and territorial development, the landed commons, political economy, political ecology and forms of action research. This collective endeavour includes an effort to broaden the voices and perspectives in research and action strategies, particularly from the Global South.

The aim of the Lesvos Conference is to provide a forum for sharing experiences, practices, critical reflections, methodological as well as empirical advancements on research for and about socialecological and socio-spatial justice. What tasks do social innovation and territorial development research have today and in the future? What role can the territorial commons play for greater sociospatial justice? What methodological and structural constraints and challenges exist for actionresearch in social and social-ecological change strategies? These and other pressing questions will be the focus of what we hope becomes a stimulating gathering of academics, activists, policy makers, artists.. To make the Lesvos Conference happen, we warmly invite your proposal for panels, workshops or activities in the following themes :

Track 1: In the future the landed commons must prevail

How can the commoning of land and land uses (not) be a way out of socio-economic polarisation and segregation?

Historically, up to a few decades ago, all commons were 'landed'; today the meaning of commonality has been extended to other, so-called intangible resources such as knowledge, IT or air quality. The 'Landed commons' track explicitly considers 'commoning' in its territorial dimension. We invite you to present your experiences and knowledge on plots, areas, spatial networks, etc. whose uses and use rights are negotiated and governed through communitybased and hybrid governance arrangements. What is the vision on Landed Commons and on Commoning, and how are actors committed to putting that vision to practice? What images are guiding actors? Which politico-institutional logics and socio-psychological factors determine their positioning and strategies? How can future landed commons be built/coconstructed? In relation to the wider conference topic on Making space for socio-spatial and socio-ecological justice in research and action strategies, we also welcome contributions that shed a critical light on the commoning practices themselves: Are they actually fostering greater social-spatial inclusion and justice? How do they evolve? Are there conflict dynamics going on? What are the actual values of commoning practices for a wider community? From a methodological standpoint, we are also interested to -collectively- learn about the role of research and action in the co-construction of landed commons.

NOTE: The INDIGO research project has taken the initiative for this particular focus in the conference, based on the study of, for instance, collective housing projects, agricultural land trusts or commoning processes in the governance of slow paths. We warmly welcome contributions on different material and formal objects, i.e. on a variety of cases and on different critical theoretical conceptualisations in the building of landed commons.

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Track 2: Who needs Social Innovation in the future?

The future of Social Innovation and Territorial Development research and action

With an eye towards the satisfaction of human needs, innovation in governance relations, and the promotion of socio-political change, social innovation studies align with the ethos of socio-spatial and social-ecological justice. A series of large research projects on social innovation have been conducted since the 1980s when it was initially theorized in the field of urban studies. Prominent examples of such projects in the European context include IAD, URSPIC, SINGOCOM, DEMOLOGOS, KATARSIS, as well as SOCIAL POLIS.

In light of the current pressures, aforementioned in the introduction, this track aims at challenging and critically reflecting on social innovation research and practices. What roles can social innovation research play in molding socially-just future societies and spatial territories? In what ways can social innovation be further embedded in social-ecological justice and socio-ecological systems research? Contributions which enhance knowledge transfers and cross-learning between disciplines and perspectives, from the global south in particular, are very welcome.

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Track 3: In the future action research will go underground ?

What is left of action research when institutional support disappears?

Action Research, transdisciplinary research and scholarly activism are all approaches to social-ecological transformation that go beyond usual institutional and disciplinary boundaries. They generate insights about the conditions of life in the wake of the aforenamed social and social-ecological crises and methods or approaches of how to change them. It requires an insightful understanding of socio-political constructs where research about and for social and ecological transformation develop in a mutually reinforcing relation. These research approaches require endurance: the forging of partnerships within existing networks of actors do not happen overnight, nor do the insights just 'pop up' from participant observations. We welcome panels, workshops, roundtables and other activities that specifically focus on epistemological and methodological issues of action research under the umbrella of the wider conference topic. These can include questions such as where, how and with whom to develop action and knowledge amidst these multiple crises? How to organize for critical knowledge dialogues to exist? Do we need to deprofessionalize research? How to collectively and critically recover history in Europe? We particularly also welcome intrinsically reflexive contributions that discuss the possibility and future of action research in contemporary research structures (and the changing appreciations of it for that matter). Will action research go underground in the future?

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Track 4: In the future no one will speak about justice?

Inspired by Paul Feyerabend's claims that radical change and innovation occur at the fringes of disciplinary logics, we want to reserve a space for ideas that might not fit within the conference's rubrics. To combat an overly curated programme of topics, we are leaving this track open for the concerns, ideas and opinions which had not been foreseen or are squeezed out by epistemological assumptions. In this sense, we ask a broad speculative statement with the hopes of prompting a range of diverse responses that can expand, challenge, or develop the overarching conference theme of justice. We welcome alternative voices, ideas and critical reflections.

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