Youth on the Move
The financial liberalisation of economies in Asia and Africa towards the late 20th century has had a far-reaching effect on the way in which youth move and perform urban space. Where on the one hand, the urban condition traps youth in a prolonged state of “waithood” or “boredom”, they constantly remake time and space of their everyday urban space through “hustling” or “circulation and detaching”, in turn formulating a practice of desire and deviation for existence.
‘Youth on the Move’ observes emerging socio-spatial practices of youth in African and Asian contexts, and examines their modes of moving and meaning-making through an embodied politics of performance. The conceptual lens of ‘performance’ highlights the interplay between body and urban space and acknowledges the interconnectedness of young people’s lives and the spatial transformations of the city. While youth indexes a range of people across spectrums of class, gender, caste, including from (im)migrants, labour, women, early career researchers or students; practices of movement are oriented towards livelihoods, home making, political action or translocal migration or even artistic expression.
Two virtual lecture series, an artist workshop in Nigeria (Africa), and an early career scholars’ workshop in China (Asia) gather urban scholars, architects, artists, curators and local youth groups to ask: how does the youth perform Southern urban space and what practices of (im)mobility do they produce? ‘Youth on the move’ provokes interdisciplinary South-South collaboration between Asia and Africa for a collective contemplation through in-depth dialogues in unpacking the multi-layered, mobile ‘Southern urbanity’.
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Youth on the Move is a research project initiated by Chinese scholars Ying Cheng and Min Tang, and Mumbai based architect-curator Anuj Daga, that has received the Urban Seminar Series 2023 Award granted to the most promising urban studies proposals across the world annually by the Urban Studies Foundation, UK. The project seeks to investigate an urbanity that youth produce on the move - through short- and long term mobilities. Over the next nine months, the project will focus on observing emerging socio-spatial practices of youth in African and Asian contexts, and examine their modes of moving and meaning-making through an embodied politics of performance.