After three years of research, three summer schools and four workshops held in four different countries, forty researchers, the Marshrutka project-members and external-scholars, as well as artists and external visitors came together at the Marshrutka project’s final conference “Spatial dynamics of informal and shared mobilities”. The conference was held in Berlin in cooperation with the Technical University Berlin between the 8th and 10th of November 2018.

Presentation of the Marshrutka Project by the PhD candidates, Mikheil Svanidze, Tonio Weicker, Darkhan Medeuov, Cholpon Turdalieva and post-doctoral researchers, Wladimir Sgibnev and Lela Rekhviashvili. Picture by Henri Schauer

The conference opened with the introduction of the Marshrutka project by the Project PhD students and post-doctoral researchers. It continued by the introduction of research at Leibniz Institute for Regional Geography on ‘Production of Space: Polarisation and Peripheralisation’ by head of department Thilo Lang, and a lecture on ‘Marshrutkas in the light of shared taxi’ by professor Hans-Liudger Dienel (TU Berlin).

The conference hosted two keynote speeches. Tim Schwanen (Oxford University) discussing limits to and ways of rethinking the concept of informality in the talk named: ‘Beyond informal transport?’; and Fabio Duarte (MIT) gave insights into a data-driven discussion on digitalisation and shared mobility in his the talk ‘Towards a mobility portfolio’. Up to thirty paper presentations were held in nine thematic sessions: Digitalisation and mobility practices, Labour and identity construction, Mobility and Social Exclusion, Rethinking paratransit through the mobilities lens, Mobility beyond urban contexts, Labour and mobility governance, Mobilities, users’ choices and identities, Mobility and urban space construction.

Two exhibition were designed so as to convene the project’s central findings and ambitions to a broader public beyond the usual scholarly communication channels: ‘MARSHRUTKASCAPE’ by Berlin based photographer Chiara Dazi, and ‘Marshrutka Stories: Visual Archive’ curated by Jesse Vogler and Lela Rekhviashvili. Chiara Dazi showed a preview of her ongoing photo series on with images from Georgia, the Republic of Moldova and Kaliningrad (Russia), up and down the minibuses, and along the roads and stories of everyday post-Soviet landscapes. ‘Marshrutka Stories: Visual Archive’ presented a series of short texts and images by doctoral and post-doctoral researchers of the Marshrutka project, offering a collection of narratives and visuals, exposing the ways Marshrutkas can be an entry point in understanding post-Soviet socio-spatial and political-economic transformations. Exhibitions were launched on 8th of November, accompanied by an open discussion with Chiara Dazi, Jesse Vogler and Lela Rekhviashvili and followed by the opening reception (See the visual archive in electronic form here Marshrutka Stories – A Visual Archive. ).

Discussion after the exhibition opening with Chiara Dazi and Jesse Vogler. Picture by Henri Schauer

On the last afternoon of the conference, the Marshrutka projects’ PhD supervisors, Professors Ingeborg Baldauf, Hans-Liudger Dienel, Peter Lindner, Sebastian Lentz and Joseph Salukvadze were part of a summarizing roundtable discussion on Marshrutka Project legacies and future dialogues’. In the aftermath of the conference the project team together with the conference contributors and keynotes continue working on two special issues on (Dis) embedded Informal Mobilities and on Mobilities in Eurasian cities.

We want to warmly thank all the participants of the summer school for their contributions and engagement.

Chiara Dazi setting up the photo exhibition; project PhD Darkhan Medeuov providing moral assistance. Picture by Lela Rekhviashvili


The Marshrutka stories – Visual Archive. Curated by Jesse Vogler and Lela Rekhviashvili. Picture by Lela Rekhviashvili 


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