Conference / Panel Discussion Worlds of Homelessness: Day 1

Image: have you ever felt invisible © Goethe-Institut/Loredana La Rocca

Tue, 10/22/2019

5:30 PM - 11:00 PM


Framing the Issue: Homelessness and its many related themes

Homelessness and housing precarity are a global phenomenon on the rise. Rents and prices for homes are increasing worldwide. The impact of gentrification and the rising cost of living in places that were once considered affordable often push vulnerable communities out of their homes.
In a city like Los Angeles, the divide between rich and poor is ever-present. The saying „Homelessness is just a paycheck away“ is often used to describe just how close to eviction many people are, should they lose just one month’s income. Universities are trying to find strategies to assist those students who are able to pay their tuition but cannot afford stable housing. Meanwhile, the artists, activists and long-term residents of Skid Row community are striving to sustain, preserve and expand the low-cost housing and resources in the neighborhood that help people living in poverty.
In cities like Berlin, anti-gentrification experts are demanding much more drastic rent control, with some calling for the expropriation of apartments and houses that are not used by their owners. Other parts of the world are seeing a change in the perception of informal settlements as large communities call them their homes.
How are the issues of homelessness and housing precarity spoken about and addressed in different communities, cities, countries, or parts of the world? How can we understand and examine the interconnectivity and linkages between homelessness and its many related themes such as rich and poor, participation, inequality, gentrification, racism, and migration? Is housing a human right that demands stronger policies by policymakers? How can the knowledge and needs of communities become important drivers for change?
Discussion participants include: Ananya Roy is director of the Institute on Inequality and Democracy at UCLA Luskin, home to the Housing Justice in #Unequal Cities Network, a global research endeavor at the intersection of scholarship and the politics of housing; Michele Lancione from the University of Sheffield, who has researched in Eastern Europe and started the Radical Housing Journal; Crushow Herring, aka Showzart, is a virtuoso artist who works from the streets of Skid Row; and Barbara Schönig from the Bauhaus University in Weimar, who has researched affordable housing in Germany.


5:30 PM
Opening Remarks: Goethe-Institut and LA Poverty Department

6:00 - 9:00 PM Discussion: Framing the issue
                                              Ananya Roy, Los Angeles, UCLA

                                              Michele Lancione, Sheffield, UK 

                                              Crushow Herring, Los Angeles, USA

                                              Barbara Schönig, Weimar, Germany 

                                              Moderator: Catherine Wagley,
                                                                  Los Angeles, USA
9:00 PM Reception & Music Performance by The LA Playmakers.


Ananya Roy is Professor of Urban Planning, Social Welfare and Geography and inaugural Director of the Institute on Inequality and Democracy at UCLA Luskin. She holds The Meyer and Renee Luskin Chair in Inequality and Democracy. Ananya’s research and scholarship has a determined focus on poverty and inequality and seeks to build power for marginalized communities. Her current research is concerned with racial banishment, or the expulsion of working-class communities from cities such as Los Angeles to the far peripheries of urban life. Ananya is the recipient of several awards including the Paul Davidoff Award, which recognizes scholarship that advances social justice, for her 2010 book, "Poverty Capital: Microfinance and the Making of Development." Ananya currently leads a global research network on Housing Justice in Unequal Cities funded by the National Science Foundation.
Michele Lancione is an urban ethnographer and activist interested in issues of marginality and diversity, homelessness, and radical politics. His works have been published in top international journals in the field of Urban Geography, Housing Studies and Anthropology. His first edited volume is entitled “Rethinking Life at the Margins”, while his non-academic works include a collaborative documentary around forced evictions in Bucharest, Romania. Michele is also one of the founders and editors of the open-source Radical Housing Journal, an Editor of City, and Corresponding Editor for Europe at IJURR. He is based at the Urban Institute and the Department of Urban Studies and Planning, University of Sheffield, UK.
Crushow Herring, aka Showzart, is a virtuoso artist born in Kansas City, MO, where he first attributes his passion for community and making a difference to his mother, Sherita J. Herring of the Kreative Images Foundation; in which she instilled early in his life that it’s important to inspire and support others. Secondly, he credits his father (Gerrie E. Herring, also an artist), with his illustrative abilities; where as early as he can remember, Crushow sat next to him, absorbing everything he could from his unique artistic talents. Actively working from the streets of Skid Row in Downtown LA, to sitting in the board rooms of City Hall, Crushow has consistently been instrumental in fighting for equal rights for everyone, and creating programs and services that aid not only the disenfranchised, but creates opportunities for all races, religions, and nationalities. As he continuously forms collaborations with fellow artists to make a difference, his constant objective for community empowerment is to not focus on the negative, but through provocative artists, he is fixated on bringing awareness, and celebrating insurmountable accomplishments; while proactively conveying consciousness to stimulate positive action for collaborative change.

Barbara Schönig studied Urban Planning, German Literature and History of Arts in Berlin and Columbus, Ohio. In her Ph.D., she focused on Metropolitan Planning and Civil Society in the United States. Before becoming a professor for Urban Planning at Bauhaus-Universität Weimar in 2012, she taught at Technical University Berlin and Technical University Darmstadt. She is Director of the Institute for European Urban Studies and the Vice Dean of the Department for Architecture and Urbanism at Bauhaus-Universität Weimar.  Her research focuses on critical studies of planning and its role within processes and practices of space production. Fields of research include interdisciplinary housing research, social housing, and participation in urban development as well as processes of spatial restructuring of urban, suburban, and rural areas.

Catherine Wagley is an art critic and journalist based in Los Angeles. She is a contributing editor for the art journal Momus and Contemporary Art Review Los Angeles (CARLA). She served as an art critic for the LA Weekly from 2011-2017, and contributes to artnet News, ARTNews, Hyperallergic, the LA Times and The LAnd, among other publications. She is a recent recipient of the Rabkin Prize for art journalism. Her current work often focuses on issues of obscurity: how do we pull stories from the margins of different art worlds without forcing them to fit the mainstream narratives we already know how to tell? Additionally, her reporting in Los Angeles frequently explores the relationships between the art world, gentrification, and urban geography.

The LA Playmakers were founded 5 years ago by Joseph Warren and Stan Watson. They all were members of the Praise and Worship Team at Skid Row’s Central City Church of the Nazarene. The accomplished professional musicians have played with a number of well-known jazz and pop music figures. They embody the creative spirit that persists in the Skid Row Community. The LA Playmakers will open Worlds of Homelessness and close the Festival for All Skid Row Artists.