Reclaim your city!
Refresh your imagination!
Re-enchant your surroundings!
Maybe it’s the steady creep of surveillance and security into our public places.
Or maybe it’s anxiety that the streets are not safe enough.
Maybe it’s the intensity of our daily lives which makes every journey seem a frenetic dash from A to B.
Or perhaps the streets are too full of people whose attention seems more focused on their smartphones than on the people and environment around them.
Maybe you feel that commerce and advertising is making your town a blank identikit copy of every other town.
Whatever the reason, more of us are starting to feel uneasy and dissatisfied with what now passes for urban living. We’re feeling alienated and disconnected from the spaces and the people around us – and we’re looking for ways to reconnect.
This is surely why more people are taking up an interest in psychogeography. It’s not a new idea – people have been feeling disorientated or overwhelmed by booming cities for a century or more. But there’s something about our current times that leads many more of us to want to find our own solutions. Moving around whether on foot, on wheels or in our imagination, is the mode of travel. Psychogeography offers a new mindset and techniques with which to do it.
The attraction of psychogeography is it that can be as easy or as hard as you want to make it. From simple techniques to spice up your daily commute, to a wholesale reappraisal of your city. It can be deeply personal and private or radically out there and collective. What people always say though is that once they’ve started doing it, they feel more alive, more engaged as an agent of change in their surroundings.
Of course for anything as diverse as this, it’s never easy to bring practitioners together under one roof. Which explains why there have been very few festivals or conferences that have lasted more than a couple of iterations. And this is what makes the 4th World Congress of Psychology a bit special. http://4wcop.org/
We started in 2016 over 3 September days in Huddersfield, and we’ve been doing it annually ever since. Yes, we did say Huddersfield – and not London – which makes us a little out of the ordinary to begin with. And perhaps because we’re not metropolitan, but based around a cluster of ordinary medium-sized provincial towns, we connect with the lived reality of the majority of people.
Whatever, people – from expert practitioners to absolute beginners - have been coming every year, from all over the place to get involved.
So here comes our pitch. We’ve loved hosting psychogeographers from the US and from all over the UK, Europe and beyond, and connecting them with local practitioners. And we are constantly humbled at their passion and their willingness to travel and stay at their own expense. We are entirely volunteer run, and we’ve taken a principled decision not to seek grants from the usual government sources, or commercial sponsorship, as we fear it would compromise the diversity and independence of our programme. For similar reasons we have chosen not to levy a ticket charge. But we would like to raise some funds to ensure the Congress remains independent, and allowing us to meet some common costs - such as assisting those who present their work at the Congress each year, particularly those without any institutional backing; and for hiring external venues.
We would also like to establish some bursaries to encourage new people to become practitioners, particularly if they are not the middle-aged white male flaneurs of popular stereotype.