NETHUR Schools are interactive one- or two-day mini-conferences in which PhD students meet senior NETHUR members and other researchers who work in the same thematic field or use a similar approach. Schools are organised by PhD and/or senior members and led by guest lecturers, often from abroad. They are specifically intended to help PhD students link up to international research frontiers.

NETHUR Schools start with introductions on the topics at hand by guest lecturers who are experts in the field. Then, PhD students present their research plans, methodologies and findings, after which these can be discussed in depth. At the end of the discussion, some time can be spent on evaluation and reflection.

Attending at least two Schools is compulsory in the NETHUR education programme. Participation is free of charge for NETHUR and CERES members. Other participants pay a fee of € 50 per day, including reading materials and lunch.

All PhD members and/or their supervisors are stimulated to organise a School related to their research (which equals attending two Schools). A budget is available for these ‘bottom-up’ initiatives. For more information please check Organising your own school.

Upcoming NETHUR Schools

Example of a NETHUR School
School of Public Space (March 2009) 

Delft University of Technology hosted the NETHUR School on Public Space on the 19th and 20th of March 2009 in the Berlage Zaal at the Faculty of Architecture. The seminar was an initiative of two PhD candidates, Wenda van der Laan Bouma-Doff (OTB Research Institute) and Ceren Sezer (Department of Urbanism), who are both working on public space from different aspects in the fields of sociology and urbanism. 

The aim of the seminar was to prompt questions regarding the current transformation of physical public spaces, such as city squares, streets and parks. In theory these spaces are open to everybody, but in practice they are increasingly privatized and put under tight surveillance to improve security. What are the consequences of these changes for urban public life, especially considering our diversifying urban population? We addressed this question in three ways; relating public space to neighbourhood quality (workshop 1), investigating public space interventions (workshop 2) and considering the politics of public space (workshop 3). 

The seminar call received wide international attention in a great range of topics and geographical logi from the fields of architecture, urban design, spatial planning, sociology, urban geography, cultural anthropology and history. The seminar hosted fifty participants who were mostly Ph.D. candidates from universities in Europe, Middle East, United States and Canada, as well as researchers from municipalities, NGOs, and research institutes.

The presentations were organized in the form of power point and poster presentations divided into the three workshops distributed in two days. 

The first workshop, Public Space and Neighborhood Quality, was introduced by the keynote speech of Prof. Talja Blokland from Humboldt University Berlin, Germany. In her presentation, ‘Home in Streets and Squares’, Blokland addressed the ways in which public familiarity is experienced in short everyday interactions in public streets and squares. Her lecture was followed by the presentations of the Ph.D. candidates on related issues, with case studies from Milan and Barcelona, Amsterdam, Nashville (USA), and Kigali (Rwanda). 

The keynote speaker of the second workshop, Public Space Interventions, was Matthew Carmona from Bartlett School of Planning, UK. Carmona’s presentation, ‘Contemporary Public Space: Critique and Classification’ discussed the over-management and under-management of public spaces. The following presentations were Ph.D. works which dealt with different aspects of public space interventions by presenting case studies about street art in Sweden, urban lighting at night in France, the street as a social contact place in the Netherlands and the situation of public spaces in shrinking regions in Spain. 

The theme of the third workshop was Politics of Public Space. The workshop started with the presentation of the keynote speaker, Prof. Rob Shields, from University of Alberta, Canada. Shields, in his presentation ‘Politics of Public Space’ focused on the current status of three forms of publics: public space, transnational publics, and public domain. His presentation was followed by Ph.D. presentations about political struggle on a square in Ankara, media communication as politics of attention in Berlin, micro politics of public space in a multi ethnic neighborhood in Schiedam and finally, phone centers in Verona and Modena. 

After the last, third workshop we went on a field trip in Rotterdam-South organized by Pact Op Zuid and the municipality of Rotterdam. Participants visited three different public space scenes in Rotterdam with the guidance of urban designers from the municipality and people from the housing association. The trip and the event ended with a discussion session where participants reflected on their observations of the visited sites. 

Based on the feedbacks from the participants, we are very pleased to report that the seminar has achieved its objective to provide and stimulate knowledge exchange between public space researchers. We hope that this small gathering will also be able to generate future collaboration on the studies of public space.