Deadline for submissions: February 21st, 2021  March 21st, 2021

The XI Lisbon Summer School for the Study of Culture, under the topic “Convivial Cultures”, is the final public activity of the 4Cs: From Conflict to Conviviality through Creativity and Culture. The 4Cs is a European Cooperation Project co-funded by the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union. Founded in 2017 and ending in 2021, the 4Cs aims at responding to a series of emerging social and cultural challenges such as migration, securitization, and freedom of expression by raising awareness about the role of creative and cultural work in the strengthening of European responsibility and European citizenship in a project of peace and conviviality.

Based on the Latin roots for “with” and “living”, the term “conviviality” has long been associated with sociable and festive forms of coexistence. Across numerous disciplines, conviviality conveys a concern with the conditions for human togetherness in times of multicultural difference, inequality and conflict. At the very moment that this call for papers is being written, the term “conviviality” gains a whole new relevance. The current pandemic reality of the Covid-19, and its divergent effects, rewires the challenge of living together in a multicultural and transnational present under the threat of viral contamination, uneven exposure to risk and consequent vulnerability to illness and death. In face of such a challenge, the presence of others is simultaneously feared and longed for. As the novelist Arundhati Roy has pointed out, the widespread lockdowns “worked like a chemical experiment that suddenly illuminated hidden things” (Roy, 2020), laying bare the social disparities that have existed all along. While some are asked to shelter in place, others face the risk of daily exposure in order to keep societies afloat through their labour. For those who can afford to shelter, the imposed confinement has also exacerbated the vulnerabilities and inequalities inherent to the household (Grewal, 2020). Meanwhile, borders all over the world are being closed to contain the spread of the virus, strengthening already problematic border regimes. At the same time, people all over the planet are finding different ways of being together and to cultivate social proximity while keeping with “physical distancing”, often through digital technologies that are not exempt from risks (Chun 2020). Conviviality – as a concept and as lived experience – is then undergoing a major transformation.

Under these conditions, we also witness numerous forms of collective solidarity – people pledge for unity, for solidarity with the elderly, the chronically ill, independent workers,  health professionals, underpaid service workers, migrants, refugees and asylum seekers With the establishment of new networks of relief, fear is navigated through care and creativity. Arundhati Roy further suggests that pandemics can be a “gateway between one world and the next”, forcing humans to break with the past and imagine the world anew (Roy, 2020). Cultural agents and scholars across the planet claim that this is a time for artistic, cultural, and educational institutions to reassess the ways in which they operate within and contribute to social disparities, as well as a chance to rethink the ways their activities constitute a space for generative public encounters. Such transformations are systemic and entail a collective endeavour of pushing and pulling in many different directions at once. They imply, therefore, a balancing of forces that can speed things up, slow things down or make things change direction or change shape, i.e., they imply the creation of new dynamics and articulations. In other words, these transformations will require new cultures of conviviality.

Conviviality fosters everyday processes of coming together, mutual recognition, negotiation of difference, and shared transformation for the development of a new cosmopolitan dimension to European culture, namely one of “radical openness” to its colonial past and postcolonial present (Gilroy 2004). For Gilroy, recognising conviviality does not do away with inequality and conflict; rather, understanding how these tensions are lived out in everyday encounters calls for writing “counter-histories of cultural relations”. In her writings on disability, Jasbir Puar sees conviviality as a modest but also radical ethico-political project, emphasizing how the self is destabilized through openness towards the other, seeing their difference not as a threat but as a cause to question one’s own position in the world (Puar 2009). Initially introduced into the humanities’ vocabulary by Ivan Illich in his book Tools for Conviviality (1973), the term conviviality demonstrates that these processes of “radical openness” unfold not only between humans but also between humans and “their environment; and this in contrast with the conditioned response of persons to the demands made upon them by others, and by a man-made environment” (Illich, 1973:11). Nowadays, the interdependence between living beings is brought to the forefront in a particular way, under the current global pandemic, but also within the long and worrying planetary environmental crisis. At these levels, the stakes of interdependence are quite high and intricate: in a planetary network where all members and each individual member rely on one another, responsibilities are simultaneously objectively shared and subjectively tossed aside back and forth. Within this framework, tension and conflict are integral parts of the convivial relations between all members of the network (human and non-human), on which depend the existence and healthy maintenance of the multileveled interdependencies in existence, be it in nature, be it within urban scapes. In urban geography, the concept of living cities asserts that cities are multispecies entanglements (Houston et al., 2018), shared by human and non-human living beings, which live interdependently.

One of the key goals of the XI Lisbon Summer School for the Study of Culture is to track the notions of conviviality in terms of the narratives of their theoretical productions as well as the conditions of their applications in multiple art forms and across different creative and cultural contexts. Such tracking aims at, on the one hand, reflecting upon the different notions and how they have been used to address the same idea of “living-with-difference”. On the other hand, it serves as a reminder of how ideas across different disciplinary fields move and interact across time and contexts. 

In literature, the works of several contemporary authors show attempts towards the redefinition of convivial spaces. Examples include Bernardine Evaristo’s novel Soul Tourists (2005), a journey revealing the intricate historical links between Europe and Africa; Donato Ndongo-Bidyogo’s El metro (2007), a realistic portrait of an illegal Black African immigrant in Spain; and Au pays (2009), in which Ben Jelloun explores the Muslim identities through the complex familiar struggles of a Moroccan-French retiree. Miriam Makeba’s memoir Makeba, My Story (1988), written during her stay in Guinea, is an interesting example in the ways it looks at the links between conviviality and music. Makeba’s life story shows her strategies as a black South African performer in exile embedded in the conviviality that shaped jazz performance culture during its emergence in urban South Africa.

Examples of the mutual dependences and struggles between living beings are also found in the field of visual culture(s) and performance where there has been a multiplicity of translations of convivial relations in art history since the 1960s, with the main aim of testing art’s capacity for resistance within the social field as a whole (Bourriaud, 1998). In exploring the socio-professional aspect of conviviality, many artists develop their practices in the context of a culture of literal partaking (for example with artist Rirkrit Tiravanija transforming the main exhibition space of the 303 Gallery in New York into a restaurant, cooking curries for visitors), and of friendship (as in the parties organised by Philippe Parreno, or in Franz West’s Passtücke, which would only become activated as artworks when physically or cognitively engaged by a human), while others reflect upon the inherent conflict of conviviality within species (an example would be Cai Guo-Qiang with his ephemeral performative explosions exploring humanity’s place in the universe and our responsibilities on Earth), and others ask for cultures of solidarity (such as Artists at Risk, an organization offering temporary safe haven residencies for artists who face persecution or imprisonment for exercising their right to freedom of expression), remindful of Durkheim’s (1933/1964) work on the division of labour which focused on the nature of “positive solidarity” in different social forms. 

Welcoming contributions from the fields of Cultural, Literary, Translation, Visual Arts, Music, and Performance Studies, the 11th edition of the Summer School intends to reflect on the interrelation between different notions and applications of conviviality, to examine the growing awareness of the need for new cultures of conviviality, and to discuss the necessity to rethink, reconceptualize, and redefine the relationship between humans and between humans and the world they live in.  


The Lisbon Summer School invites proposals by doctoral students and post-docs that address, though may not be strictly limited to, the topics below:

  • Creativity and conflict/conviviality
  • Conviviality/conflict in/and the arts
  • Representations of conviviality
  • Conviviality/Friendship/Solidarity/Commons
  • Social change and planetarity
  • Multispecies entanglements
  • Multi- / Inter- / Trans- Culturalities
  • Participatory and relational practices
  • Conviviality and digitally-mediated networks
  • Cultures of conviviality and interdependence
  • Translation and Conviviality
  • Artistic and cultural convivial practices 

The Summer School will take place at several cultural institutions in Lisbon and will gather outstanding doctoral students and post-doctoral researchers from around the world. In the morning there will be lectures and master classes by invited keynote speakers. In the afternoon there will be paper presentations by doctoral and post-doctoral researchers.


Paper proposals

Proposals should be sent to no later than March 21st, 2021 and include paper title, abstract in English (max. 200 words), name, e-mail address, institutional affiliation, and a brief bio (max. 100 words) mentioning ongoing research.

Applicants will be informed of the result of their submissions by April 21st, 2021.


For more information about the rules and fees please visit here.


Organizing Committee

  • Isabel Capeloa Gil
  • Peter Hanenberg
  • Alexandra Lopes
  • Diana Gonçalves
  • Paulo de Campos Pinto
  • Ana Fabíola Maurício
  • Luísa Santos
  • Adriana Martins
  • Inês Espada Vieira
  • Rita Faria


4Cs Lisbon Team

  • Isabel Capeloa Gil
  • Luísa Santos
  • Peter Hanenberg
  • Ana Fabíola Maurício
  • Inês Espada Vieira
  • Adriana Martins
  • Ana Cristina Cachola
  • Daniela Agostinho
  • Maria Eduarda Duarte


4Cs Steering Committee

  • Isabel Capeloa Gil – Universidade Católica Portuguesa (PT)
  • Luísa Santos – Universidade Católica Portuguesa (PT)
  • Cecilia Widenheim – Tensta Konsthall (SE)
  • Bonaventure Ndikung – Savvy Contemporary (DE)
  • Michaela Crimmin – Royal College of Art (UK)
  • Anna Saurí – Fundació Antoni Tàpies (ES)
  • Egija Inzule– Vilnius Academy of Arts (LT)
  • Birgitte Kirkhoff Eriksen – Museet for Samtidskunst (DK)
  • Anna Bernagozzi – ENSAD (FR)

Universidade Católica Portuguesa

Palma de Cima
1649-023 Lisboa , Portugal Lisbon

Trienal de Arquitectura de Lisboa

Campo de Santa Clara, 142–145
1100–474 Lisboa