Call for papers – Conference : Images of the city

Images of the city (XIXth-XXIth centuries)  


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Abstract :

In a comparative and interdisciplinary perspective, the conference “Images of the city (XIXth – XXIth centuries)” aims to reflect on the various meanings of the images of the city.

Keywords : city, image, picture, representation, heritage, tourism

Presentation :

Organized in Lyons on 2 and 3 February 2017, the conference “Images of the city (XIXth – XXIth centuries)” is an initiative of the junior project IMAGO – Image(s) de la ville, supported by the University Jean Moulin Lyon 3.

The conference deals with the diversity of the images of the city: the physical and visual images (photographs, drawings, paintings, prints, films…), but also branding and promotional image (territorial marketing, tourism) and mental images of inhabitants, foreigners, artists…

This comparative and interdisciplinary conference is intended primarily for young researchers. Papers from a wide range of fields are welcome (including geography, history, law, tourism, semiotics and communication studies, architecture, urban planning, art history, film studies, photography studies, sociology…).

Communications comparing images of several cities and/or with an interdisciplinary approach to images of the city will be favored. The chronological limits of the conference are set between 1800 and today. There is no geographical limit: the communications may focus on one or more cities in different continents.

The conference will be structured around three main themes:

1/ Iconography and predominant image of the city


This first theme concerns mainly research on a corpus of images representing the city (urban views, maps, visual and promotional documents, films, 3D representations…)

  • How does iconography contribute in the shaping of a predominant visual image, emblematic of the city?
  • How are the visual images of the city perceived by different individuals? How does it influence their mental image of the city?
  • The diversity of actors creating urban images: public authorities (municipality, government …), private structures (transport company, publisher of guidebooks, travel agency, event-planning agency …), individuals (inhabitant, artist, tourist …).
  • According to which process the predominant  image of a city may be replaced by a new image ? What is the role of iconography in this change?
  • The cases of coexistence of dominant images of the city: how can several contradictory images may coexist for the same city?

2/ Building and developing the tourism image of the city


This second area examines how the image of the city is used in the tourism sector, for the purpose of promoting a territory to potential tourists:

  • Which pictures of the city are used in tourism documents? How are the tourism points of interest selected and highlighted through promotional materials? What elements are missing in the tourism image of the city?
  • How the tourism image of the city is perceived by foreigners before their arrival? How is it experienced by tourists visiting the city?
  • What image of the city is desired by tourism stakeholders? Are there different tourism images of the city, addressing to a variety of travelers? What are the strategies of tourism stakeholders about the image of the city?
  • Is the tourism image of the city mobilized by local actors (Tourist office, municipality, associations …) different from the image promoted by external actors (publishers of guidebooks, travel agencies, transport companies …)?
  • Tourist landmarks, architectural or artistic emblems, urban signals (eg Eiffel Tower, Tower of Pisa, Colosseum, Statue of Liberty …): How are they represented visually and used for tourism, business or media (logos, merchandise, promotional materials …)?

3/ Controlling the media image of a city : change and permanency


This third theme aims to highlight the role of government, municipality or government authority controlling the media image of the city:

  • Seeking to improve the status and branding of a city by organizing an international event (Olympics, World Cup or European Football Championship, World’s fair…)
  • The importance of international recognition for the media image of the city (European Capital of Culture, World Heritage listing by UNESCO …).
  • Managing the communication after a negative event that could significantly tarnish the image, the reputation of the city (terrorist attack, natural disaster, social/political revolt …)
  • Changing the image of the city with major urban developments (new neighborhoods, skyscrapers, great facilities …) and managing the social consequences associated with it: demolition, expropriation, relocation …
  • The role of the different media (television, radio, print, internet) in the image of the city
  • The image of the city as mythology

Submission guidelines :


Proposals for papers, written in French or English, are limited to 400 words and must include a title and five keywords.

They will be accompanied with a biographical note (about ten lines) and key references.

Proposals should be sent to the address before 09/20/2016.

Then researchers whose proposals have been selected will be asked to send their paper (35,000 characters maximum, references, five keywords, abstracts in French/English) to the organizers before 20 December 2016. A publication of the papers is considered following the conference.

Conference languages: English – French.

Transport and Accommodation: Each selected researcher may ask the conference organizers for a contribution to transportation costs or one night in hotel (Lyon), up to a maximum amount of 105 euros per person.

Organizers and scientific committee:  Damien Petermann, Eliane Kuvasney, Carolina Moretti Fonseca, Nataliia Moroz, Marcos Vinícius Torres

Contact :             

Website :

Image  Credit :

The banner is made of extracts of three images :

  • Isidore-Laurent Deroy, Exposition universelle de Paris. 1878. Vue prise de la gare du chemin de fer…, 1878, BNF. [Gallica]
  • Edouard Fonné, Lyon, guide POL, 1936, BNF. [Gallica]
  • Artyominc, Christ on Corcovado mountain, 2010, Creative Commons. [Wikimedia Commons]

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