24. Juli | 2023 - 27. Juli | 2023

Summer School 2023

Residues of the Past: (De)constructing urban histories

The focus of the summer school is to examine how historical strata have been understood, constructed, and interpreted in different European cities from the post-war period to the present day. On the one hand, the participants learn how historic buildings were integrated into the post-war reconstruction plans on both sides of the "Iron Curtain". On the other hand, they will be encouraged to think how historical authenticity has been established in the preservation of monuments and what might have been overlooked in the process. Finally, participants will discuss how people (individually and in groups) remember and what this means for our understanding of the past. The students should also investigate how digital methods can help to understand today's memory landscapes.

The summer school’s goal is to support young scholars and help them establish their own academic networks. There will be an opportunity for some students to present their own projects and receive feedback.

We look forward to seeing you in July!

Keynote Speaker

to be announced


(in alphabetical order)

Seraphim Alvanides  (GESIS Leibniz-Institute for the Social Sciences) is a social geographer, with expertise in quantitative methods and Geographical Information Systems and Science. His research and teaching interests involve the analysis of large spatial data related to urban sprawl, land use change, health inequalities and active transport (walking and cycling). The substantive question driving his research is to what extent the environment (broadly defined) influences individual behaviours and outcomes and he is an advocate of open data and open source software for scientific research and dissemination.

Gruia Bădescu is a Research Fellow at the Zukunftskolleg, University of Konstanz. He holds a PhD in Architecture from the University of Cambridge, and, before Konstanz, he was a lecturer and research associate at the University of Oxford. His research examines urban and architectural interventions in the aftermath of political ruptures, focusing on post-war urban reconstruction and memorialisation after political violence. His publications examine contested heritage and memory processes in Southeastern Europe, also in dialogue with other regions, including the Middle East and the Southern Cone of Latin America. He co-edited the book Synchronous Pasts: Transforming heritage in the former Yugoslavia (2021). He is a convenor of the Memory, Space and Place working group of the Memory Studies Association and is an active member of the European action group on dissonant heritage.

Sarah Brumm (Berlin-Hohenschönhausen Memorial Foundation) holds a M.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies on Antisemitismus from the ZfA-Technical University Berlin. Her theoretical focus and research interests lie in 20th century history, its commemorative culture, as well as structures and dynamics of transgenerationality. Joining the Berlin-Hohenschönhausen Memorial in 2020, she is currently part of the Memorials‘ sub-project „Projekt Keibelstraße“. She, inter alia, conducts biographical interviews with contemporary eyewitnesses , in order to shed light on political imprisonment. Following oral history methods and techniques the Memorial started collecting and preserving primary source material since the mid-1990s.

Laura Demeter (Centre for Heritage Conservation Studies and Technologies, Otto-Friedrich University, Bamberg) holds a PhD in cultural heritage management and development, acquired at the IMT School for Advanced Studies in Lucca, Italy (2017). Her research focuses on heritage-making processes in the context of war, conflict and regime changes; discourses of value creation, war damage mapping, and heritage protection actors.

Carmen M. Enss (Centre for Heritage Conservation Studies and Technologies, Otto-Friedrich University, Bamberg) is a senior researcher of heritage conservation. She specializes in postwar reconstruction and is head of the UrbanMetaMapping consortium. Together with Birgit Knauer, she edited an atlas on war damage maps for German cities (Atlas Kriegsschadenskarten Deutschland Stadtkartierung und Heritage Making im Wiederaufbau um 1945, Birkhäuser 2023)

Piotr Kisiel (Leibniz Institute for Research on Society and Space IRS) is a postdoc researcher working on a project on post-war urban reconstruction in East Germany and Poland. He is the author of Politics of Space in Prussian and Austrian-Hungarian Cities (Marburg: Herder Institute, 2018), a book about urban modernization on the imperial peripheries during the nineteenth century and the competing visions of the “European city”. He was educated at the universities in Cracow and Dundee and did his PhD at the European University Institute in Florence. He published several peer-reviewed articles on nationalism and (industrial) heritage. He taught at universities in Germany, France, and Turkey.

Birgit Knauer (TU Wien) studied art history and romance studies at the University of Vienna. Following her PhD, she worked as a research assistant at the Chair of Heritage Conservation at the University of Bamberg, Germany. Since 2020, she has been researching and teaching at the Department of Heritage Conservation at the Vienna University of Technology (interim head October 2021–January 2023), focusing especially on the architecture of post‐war modernism and the discourse and practice of urban planning and monument preservation in the 20th century.

Carol Ludwig (GESIS Leibniz-Institute for the Social Sciences) is senior researcher and leader of the BMBF-funded subproject Sozialkartographie (part of the UrbanMetaMapping Research Consortium). Carol has vast experience in UK urban planning practice, lecturing experience at the universities of Northumbria and Liverpool, UK and has published in several international journals

Nicolás Mariné (Universidad Politécnica de Madrid) is an architect and Assistant Professor of Architectural History in the Department of Architectural Composition. His research focuses on the relationship between cartography, new technologies and landscape architecture. He is currently co-editing a volume of papers on the New European Bauhaus for Springer.

Aleksandra Szczepan (Jagiellonian University)is a co-founder and member of the Research Centre for Memory Cultures at the Jagiellonian University in Kraków and a collaborator of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in oral history projects in Poland and Spain. She authored the book “Realista Robbe-Grillet” (2015) on 20th century redefinitions of realism. She has been recipient of scholarships from the Vienna Wiesenthal Institute, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, European Holocaust Research Infrastructure and the Polish National Science Centre. Her research interests include Holocaust memory in Polish culture, decoloniality in the perspective of Eastern-Central Europe, oral history and space-based testimonial practices of witnesses to the Shoah.

Katarzyna Zawadzka completed her PhD in Psychology at the University of Southampton and worked as an assistant professor at various UK universities before moving to Poland in 2019. She currently holds a university professorship at the SWPS University, and is a co-founder and co-PI of the Learning and Metacognition Experimental Laboratory. Her research focuses on human memory and metamemory, i.e., people’s appraisal and regulation of their memory processes. She is particularly interested in the role of external factors that shape memory and metamemory – such as information from the physical environment or coming from other people – both at the time of learning and of retrieving previously remembered information.


  • Deadline for application: 16.04.2023.
  • M.A. students and PhD students in their initial stage.
  • Disciplinary backgrounds: History, Memory Studies, Political Science, Anthropology, Sociology, Urban Studies, Geography, Architecture and Urban Planning, Cultural Studies, broader Humanities and Social Sciences.
  • The applicants should provide a one-page CV and a letter of motivation (max. 500 words), that includes information on the applicant’s scholarly background, interests, and career goals.
  •  Please indicate if you have strong preference for Thurs. 27.07.2023 (Seeing the past from the present): memory studies or digital humanities. 
  • Optionally, please send abstract (max. 300 words) of a proposed presentation.
  •  The Summer School is unable to provide computers, therefore students wanting to participate in the Group 2 (“Digital insights into memory landscapes”) need to bring their own laptops with the QGIS software (open access) installed. 
  • Application should be submitted as one PDF file until 16.04.2023 to the e-mail-address: Summerschool2023(at)leibniz-irs.de


  • Fees: 75,00€ which covers accommodation (in Berlin), and board (breakfasts and lunches at the IRS). Cost of travel and dinners is not covered.
  • There is a limited number of bursaries available to candidates: a limited number of students will be invited to participate free of charge with a refund for the travel expenses (max. 250,00€). Please mention in the motivation letter why you would need such a support.

Preliminary Program

Mon. 24.07.2023 Summer School Opening

14:30 – 14:00 Registration

15:00 – 15:30 Opening of the summer school

15:30 – 17:00 Keynote lecture


Di. 25.07.2023 | Burden of the past? History and historical structures in the post-war Europe

09:30 – 11:00 Carmen Enss (Uni Bamberg): German Federal Republic

11:15 – 12:45 Birgit Knauer (TU Wien): Austria

14:15 – 15:45 Laura Demeter (Uni Bamberg): Romania

16:00 – 17:30 Piotr Kisiel (IRS): Poland


Wed. 26.07.2023 | Historic values and their deconstruction

09:30 – 11:00 Laura Demeter (Uni Bamberg): Heritage Maps and Registers

11:15 – 12:45 Gruia Bădescu (Uni Konstanz): Difficult heritage

14:15 – 15:45 Aleksandra Szczepan (Jagiellonian University): Do maps tell the truth?

16:00 – 17:30 Student presentations


Do. 27.07.2023 | Seeing the past from the present

10:00 – 16:00 Workshops

Group 1: Human memory and its limitations

Dr. Katarzyna Zawadzka (SWPS University) & Sarah Brumm (Berlin-Hohenschönhausen Memorial Foundation)

Group 2: Digital insights into memory landscapes

Carol Ludwig (GESIS Leibniz-Institute for the Social Sciences), Seraphim Alvanides (GESIS Leibniz-Institute for the Social Sciences),  Nicolás Mariné (Universidad Politécnica de Madrid)

16:00 – 17:00 Final discussion and summery of the summer school

Funding Information

The summer school is organized by the Research Area Contemporary History and Archive of the Leibniz Institute for Research on Society and Space (IRS) in cooperation with the Centre for Heritage Conservation Studies and Technologies (KDWT) of the Bamberg University, with the financial support from the Federal Minister of Education and Research of Germany (BMBF) and the Leibniz Research Alliance „Value of the Past“.


Leibniz Institute for Research on Society and Space
Flakenstraße 29-31
15537 Erkner