Jacobs University Bremen hosted the fourth meeting of the Scientific Network, 27-29 October 2014, and this time the focus was on “space”. Mary Ann Glynn (Boston College, USA) and Jesper Strandgaard Pedersen (Copenhagen Business School, Denmark) joined the participants as international keynote speakers who also offered their general reflections on how the research topic of “field-configuring events” has evolved.
After the welcome dinner on 27 October, the meeting started the next morning and in order to set the scene for the special focus on “space(s)”, participants discussed the text by Löw (2008) on the constitution of space which adopts an action-theoretical perspective and emphasizes how space can be understood as a duality of structural ordering and action elements. Such a perspective is interesting for studies of supposedly space-bound field-configuring events.
In her keynote, Mary Ann Glynn outlined a “General Theory of the Field and Potential Configurations”, including a typology of fields and field dynamics, which she illustrated with the examples of “Boston Strong” and the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games.
In the afternoon, participants worked in a different space, i.e. the spacious room on the Jacobs University campus equipped for Design Thinking methods, and developed prototypical ideas on the question of “How might we design FCE research to better account for ‘space’. Katharina Hölzle (University of Potsdam) and Christoph Lattemann (Jacobs University) contributed their experience with Design Thinking to this part of the meeting.
Still aiming for an experiental and not just intellectual exploration of “space” and “events”, the group visited the creative workspace café “noon ein.zeitraum” in the city center of Bremen and talked to its founder Christian M. Léon. This was followed by a dinner at Bremen Theatre.
On 29 October, Jesper Strandgaard Petersen resumed the discussions with his keynote on “Field-Configuring Events as Multi-Site Phenomena”, pointing to the fact that the “space” of events is not restricted to single geographical locations and points in time. He discussed the connections between similar events and complexity of events taking place within events or “high-jacking” the spaces of other events. This put some of the “classic” FCE studies in a new light.
In Joachim Thiel’s (HafenCity University Hamburg) presentation afterwards, the connections between time and space were emphasized even more as he described a time-geographic approach to FCEs whereby FCEs could be seen as tools for time-space structuring or as removers of time-space constraints. In another presentation Heli Nissilä (Aalto University, Finland) presented her findings from conferences as FCEs in the solar technology field.
Overall, the Bremen meeting of the Scientific Network frequently connected with the network meeting on temporality one year before and it became very clear that we need to include in research on FCEs not just events that bring together diverse actors “in one location” (Lampel & Meyer 2008) in the narrower sense but also in more thoroughly conceptualized “spaces”.
(by Guido Möllering)
26.10.2014 - 28.10.2014
Jacobs University Bremen