The research network "Shop, Consumer, City" was started as an attempt to create a dialogue between the two disciplines 'research in urban history' and the 'history of occupation and industry'. "The production of consumption" is a key term in different work made by the network: Production creates identity and consumption shapes cities and shops as well as cities and shops shapes the patterns of consumption. The Danish "consumer society" was already taking shape in the 19th century. Changes in consumption and culture met economic growth and thus making new groups of society active consumers and creators of new types of cities. It is one of the main tasks of the network to create a dialogue between the mentioned disciplines, but also between museums and university researchers. The network is run, among others, by Danish Centre for Urban History and Odense City Museums. Furthermore it is financially supported by the Danish Council for Independent Research, Culture and Communication. The work of the individual persons in the network is put into practice at our seminars, of which two already has been held. The third and final is planned for fall 2016.
A grant from the Danish Council for Independent Research made it possible in the summer of 2014 to realize the project ”Urban Diaspora. Diaspora Communities and Materiality in Early Modern Urban Centres” on which Danish Centre for Urban History is a partner. It is an interdisciplinary project covering archaeology, history, archaeobotany and zoology at both Danish and Swedish research institutions. One of the mains tasks of the project is to shed a new light on the immigration societies in Aalborg, Helsingør and Nya Lödöse. The research made is basic research and the aim is to provide new knowledge on the immigration societies in the market towns and the establishment of a modern Denmark centuries before the nation state.
The book Danmarks Byer i Middelalderen (”Danish towns during the medieval period”) completes a project that has set the standard for medieval town research in Denmark since 1977. This book gathers all of the knowledge and information collected in this period and combines it with the latest research. Professor in medieval history Bjørn Poulsen and professor in medieval archaeology Hans Krongaard Kristensen are authors of the book, and are assisted by different helping hands including the employees at Danish Centre for Urban History. In collaboration with the authors and Aarhus Universitetsforlag, Danish Centre for Urban History is publishing the book. The entire project is financially supported by Velux Fonden, who also made the online publishing of much of the source material possible at byhistorie.dk.
Mikkel Høghøj was granted a PhD-sholarship at Aarhus University from the 1st of February 2015 with the working title “When Aarhus became modern - the question of welfare and its impact on the design and transformation of the modern Aarhus 1900-1970"
By using Aarhus (1900-1980) as the primary case, the project investigates how welfare and urban space mutually have defined each other as well as promoting a specific ‘welfare citizen’ and patterns of social behavior. More concretely the project focuses on the production of certain forms of urban spaces or “welfare geographies” such as slum areas, social housing and single family-house areas. Here questions on welfare were interpreted through everything from governmental processes to everyday practices. Emphasis is put on the 1930’s and onwards where the urban space went through massive changes as a result of urban planning, sanitation and prefabricated constructions through which new norms of welfare materialized. By examining how welfare was practiced from an urban perspective (between macro and micro), the project seeks to provide a more nuanced picture of the history of the welfare society as more than the history of the welfare state.
The project is an emotional geography of the first Turkish, Pakistani and Yugoslavian guest workers and their everyday lives in Danish urban spaces between 1963 and 1983. Combining personal accounts from former guest workers with source material from the Danish National Archives and local city archives the project maps out contested emotional landscapes of their daily whereabouts. Through this approach the project underlines the reciprocity between people and places by emphasizing in what ways the migrant workers’ expectations of a temporary stay in Denmark transformed the materiality of the city and simultaneously reshaped their senses of temporary and permanent belongings.
Initially the Danish society and the migrant workers shared the anticipations of a short term stay in Denmark coursing impermanent solutions in terms of housing, meeting places and social security all the way up to the immigrant reform of 1983. In other words the cities were not ready to permanently house the guests. Consequently the group found alternative urban meeting places and created homes that challenged the conventional housing practices of the period.
Through the years some workers found enduring homes in Denmark with their families. However we have very limited insight into the migrants own distinctive experiences in their early years in Denmark; in what ways where feelings of homeliness practiced and performed? And how did homelessness materializes in the alternative use of the city? By answering these questions the PhD project provides a needed perspective ‘from below’ and informs our understanding of material and emotional affiliations.