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Temporal Politics of the Surface: Keeping Pace with the Monument to the Soviet Army in Sofia

Abstract: This article proposes a rethinking of the operations of surfaces, using the concept of ‘recursion’ to explore surfaces as not only spatial, but also temporal objects engaged in the production of continuity and rupture through time. The text engages with the transformation of a specific high relief at the Monument to the Soviet Army in Sofia, which in the past decade has been subjected to a series of material and semiotic modifications. The analysis of interventions on the relief created between 2011-2018 stimulates an engagement with a set of questions pertaining to the way in which surfaces are engaged in the production of temporal continuity and rupture. To achieve a theoretical intervention in monument, visual and urban studies, the article mobilises cultural topology and media theory, alongside scholarship dealing with Bulgarian post-communist urban space and politics.

Genova, Neda. "Temporal Politics of the Surface: Keeping Pace with the Monument to the Soviet Army in Sofia." new formations: a journal of culture/theory/politics, vol. 106, 2022, p. 25-42. Project MUSE

Fri 30 Sep 2022, 15:46

Collecting data using APIs & Making Meme collections

CIM teaching fellow Janna Joceli Omena is a contributor to SAGE Research Methods: Doing Research Online. The how-to-guides entries are about application programming interfaces (APIs) and how to make meme collections. The two-part series of guides on Collecting Data Using APIs presents a technicity perspective to understand APIs and navigate API documentation. And learn in practice how to communicate with and access APIs. These guides help us "understand the attitude they need to adopt to become conceptually, technically, and empirically acquainted with APIs and the tools needed to communicate with and request data from them". Part 1 introduces the main characteristics and types of Web APIs, and presents ways of understanding and navigating API documentation, including using data retrieval software and verifying outputs. Part 2 highlights the main requirements to communicate with and access APIs. Moreover, it presents aspects to consider before, during, and after data collection while illustrating key ethical considerations that may arise.

The entry on making meme collections is a piece written in collaboration with Giulia Giorge and Richard Rogers. This how-to-guide teaches the making of meme collections. It provides guidance to query and extract memes from memes database (Know Your Meme) and generator (Imgur), social media and Google Image search engine. Finally, the guide empirically explains how the online environment affects the conceptualisation and composition of a meme collection.

Tue 13 Sep 2022, 13:27

Research project "Ethnic inequalities in cycling"

What are the barriers to cycling amongst ethnic minority groups? What are the policy challenges in achieving cycling equity? The newest CIM research project “Ethnic inequalities in cycling – advocacy and policy in London” aims to answer these questions using a mixed methods design. The project is funded by the Institute of Advanced Study research grant, secured by Dr Zofia Bednarowska-Michaiel (CIM).

Wed 03 Aug 2022, 13:13 | Tags: mobilities, inequalities, Zofia Bednarowska-Michaiel

CIM Writing Retreat for Early Career Researchers

May was a particularly busy time at CIM with regular academic events, such as a Research Away Day or Grant Sprint. This year we also organised a Writing Retreat for Early Career Researchers (ECRs).

The retreat was a three-day log event where junior members of academic staff gathered to work simultaneously on their writing projects. On top of the packed agenda of writing sessions, the retreat was an opportunity to meet in person for the first time since Covid-19.

The group of ECRs at CIM includes Research and Teaching Fellows. The group was established to create a space for peer collaboration and interdisciplinary exchange, on top of daily research projects and teaching duties that ECRs are engaged within. The Writing Retreat was designed collaboratively, and the organisation was led by Dr Chiara Poletti and Dr Zofia Bednarowska-Michaiel, with a great support of professional staff at CIM. We implemented an open-ended form of collaboration for writing, peer-led discussion, and exchange so that the retreat can take place in an iterative way and in a collegial environment.

Image description/Alt-text:

CIM Early Career Researchers working on their writing projects. Author: Dr Daniele Pizio

New special issue of Revista Dígitos on The Data Sprint Approach

A new special issue of Revista Dígitos has just been released. The issue is edited by Janna Joceli Omena (University of Warwick, Centre for Interdisciplinary Methodologies), Beatrice Gobbo (Politecnico di Milano, Density Design Lab), Lorena Cano-Orón (Universitat de València) and Ana Marta M. Flores (NOVA University of Lisbon). The monograph section reunites articles addressing research experiments, protocols and knowledge creation through data sprints. It explores and unpacks sprints as an interdisciplinary collaborative space while presenting data sprints' purpose, advantages and concrete results for different fields of study. This collection builds on research developed for, in and after data sprints. The articles expose the potentials and challenges of data sprints for teaching-learning digital methods research and as reflective devices for producing scientific knowledge yet for methods and tools creation. See the articles below.


Mon 18 Jul 2022, 16:27 | Tags: Method and Methodologies Janna Joceli Omena

Social (Airy) Distances, a new installation by Dr. Calvillo for Vulnerable Critters

Social (Airy) Distances is an experimental installation that explores the physical and affective consequences of social distancing imposed as a coping mechanism in pandemic times. The aerial ecosystem, which used to be considered “emptiness”, has been recently occupied by the COVID-19 virus, rules, fear, respect, wind, forms of speech and other elements that have created invisible walls that have limited our access to other human bodies. We have formed social bubbles, rehearsed social distance, and added contextual complexities (ventilation system, masks, direction of speech, etc) to calibrate “safety”. 1m, 1.5m, 2m… These dimensions have fluctuated over time and across jurisdictions, responding to scientific research findings and negotiations with workers’ unions, hospitality managers and a wide range of industries and public institutions. Through these dimensions, health, social and economic risk has been managed across the world. Which kinds of bodily and affective separations has it unravelled, and which kinds of reliefs and autonomy have they generated.


Social (Airy) Distances, designed by Calvillo and her team as C+ arquitectas, is a commission for Vulnerable Critters, an exhibition curated by Andrea Bagnato and Iván L. Munuera that looks critically at modernity’s obsession with preventing contamination. It has been produced with the support of the Participatory Research Fund, Research England.

27 May-18 September 2022

La Casa Encendida (

Tue 12 Jul 2022, 13:31 | Tags: interdisciplinary

CIM is recruiting: Teaching Fellow

We are pleased to announce a new job opportunity. We are recruiting for a Teaching Fellow. Deadline for applications: 17 July. For details of the position please follow this link:

Mon 27 Jun 2022, 08:47

Understanding spatiotemporal trip purposes of urban micro-mobility from the lens of dockless e-scooter sharing

Over the last two years, we have witnessed the ever-fast growth of micro-mobility services (e.g., e-bikes and e-scooters), which brings both challenges and innovations to the traditional urban transportation systems. For example, they provide an opportunity to better address the “last mile” problem due to their convenience, flexibility and zero emission. As such, it is essential to understand why and how urban dwellers use these micro-mobility services across space and time. In this paper, we aim to understand spatiotemporal trip purposes of urban micro-mobility through the lens of dockless e-scooter user behavior. We first develop a spatiotemporal topic modeling method to infer the underlying trip purpose of dockless e-scooter usage. Then, using Washington, D.C. as a case study, we apply the model to a dataset including 83,002 valid user trips together with 19,370 POI venues and land use land cover data to systematically explore the trip purposes of micro-mobility across space and time in the city. The results confirm a set of uncovered 100 Trips Topics as an informative and effective proxy of the spatiotemporal trip purposes of micro-mobility users. The findings in this paper provide important insights for city authorities and dockless e-scooter companies into more sustainable urban transportation planning and more efficient vehicle fleet reallocation in future smart cities.

Link to paper: opens in a new window

Thu 23 Jun 2022, 15:27 | Tags: Tessio Novack, front-page-2

Being with Data: The Dashboarding of Everyday Life

Once the rarified stuff of scientists and statisticians, data are now at the heart of our global digital economy, transforming everything from how we perceive the value of a professional athlete to the intelligence gathering activities of governments. We are told that the right data can turn an election, help predict crime, improve our businesses, our health and our capacity to make decisions.

Beginning with a simple question - how do most people encounter and experience data? - Nathaniel Tkacz sets out on a path at odds with much of the contemporary discussion about data. When we encounter data, he contends, it is often in highly routinised ways, through formatted displays and for specific cognitive tasks. What data are and can do is largely a matter of how they are formatted. To understand our 'datafied' societies, we need to turn our attention to data's formats and the powers of formatting. This book offers an account of one such format: the dashboard. From their first appearance with the horse and carriage, Tkacz guides readers on the historical development of this format. Through analyses of car dashboards, early managerial dashboards, and the gradual emergence of dashboards as a computer display technology, Tkacz shows how today's digital dashboards came to be, and how their cultural history conditions the present.

Highly original and wide-ranging, this book will change how you think about data.

Thu 23 Jun 2022, 15:17 | Tags: Nathaniel Tkacz

CIM is awarded funding from the Participatory Research Fund for urban research projects

Two urban research projects led by CIM members of staff have received seed funding from the Participatory Research Fund. The aim of the fund is to support the development of pioneering participatory research.

The awarded projects are “Investigating the effects of street features and sunlight conditions on people’s perception of walkability through a participatory experiment”, led by Tessio Novack (CIM) in collaboration with Carlos Camara Menoyo (CIM) and James Tripp (Warwick, IDG), and “Exploring hybrid digital-physical prompts for participant engagement on more-than- human data interactions in the smart city", led by Cagatay Turkay (CIM) with collaborators Sara Heitlinger (City, University of London), Rachel Clarke (Newcastle), and Graham McNeill (independent researcher).

Wed 01 Jun 2022, 08:15 | Tags: Project, Participation

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