For this special issue of Laboratorium: Russian Review of Social Research we invite papers that examine artistic and sociocultural strategies aimed at animating, reviving, and developing  the urban environment. In European and American urban design practice, art has been largely acknowledged as a tool and as a phenomena sui generis leading to emergence of novel, alternative, and even revolutionary images, subjects, practices, and settings in the city. However, in postsocialist cities art and culture have entered urbanists’ toolkit only recently, giving rise to a number of social, economic, and political issues, and we invite authors to reflect upon them with us.

Of special interest for us are those kinds of art that develop alongside the tradition of relational aesthetics, dialogic art, socially oriented public art, art-in-the-public-interest and site-specific art, community arts, participatory art, and other related ones. We do not require authors to deal with a strict set of artistic formats; on the contrary, we encourage to consider art strategies as part of sociocultural strategies that animate urban space. Basic features of these kinds of art are: primacy of the process over the product, interactiveness, social involvement, contextuality, focus on social and urban issues, deterritorialization and alternative institutionalization. Socially engaging art projects provide opportunities, which prove to be complementary to traditional approaches of spatial planning.

We welcome transdisciplinary papers which reflect art strategies at different stages of urban development—from research to concept design and project implementation; at different spatial scales—from semiprivate spaces to pan-city public spaces; and which target different urban problems: from creating a precedent for urban transformation to long-term work on community building. Papers should contain an well-developed theoretical and methodological framework, as well as detailed accounts of empirical cases.


Guest Editors:


Aleksandra Nenko, PhD, associate professor at Institute for Design and Urban Studies ITMO University; ARTS4CITY founder; project coordinator at Centre for German and European Studies (St. Petersburg State University - Bielefeld University). E-mail:


Mikhail Ilchenko, PhD, leading scientific collaborator at Institute of Philosophy of Ural Division of Russian Academy of Science, associate professor at Ural Federal University. E-mail:


Deadline: March 1, 2018

Full submission guidelines are available on the journal's website:

With questions please contact Oksana Parfenova, managing editor: