Worlds of Homelessness: Day 4

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

Fri, 10/25/2019

3:00 PM - 9:30 PM


Knowledge Production and Ways Forward

Homelessness is approached differently in various disciplines and among different countries. How is knowledge about homelessness generated? Can we compare homelessness and housing precarity in Germany and the US? How do issues around homelessness connect to informal settlements in the global South? How do we collect data, and how is this data used? How can the knowledge and needs of communities themselves become important drivers for knowledge production and ways forward?

Jutta Allmendinger from Berlin, Germany, is president of the WZB Berlin Social Science Center and one of the first Thomas Mann House residents who researched homelessness, in particularly working homeless in Los Angeles, continuing her research in Germany.  Hilary Silver, currently professor and chair of the Department of Sociology at the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences, has researched homelessness in the United States amongst many other related issues. Cristina Cielo has worked with informal settlements in Ecuador as well as questions regarding homelessness in the Philippines. Charles Porter is a member of the United Coalition East Prevention Project (UCEPP) and a community activist in Skid Row.


3:00 – 6:00 PM Discussion: Knowledge Production and ways forward

Opening Remarks: Goethe-Institut and LA Poverty Department 
                                 Jutta Allmendinger, Berlin, Germany

                                 Hilary Silver, Washington D.C., USA

                                 Cristina Cielo, Quito, Ecuador

                                 Charles Porter, Los Angeles, USA

                                Moderator: Catherine Wagley,
                                                    Los Angeles, USA 

6:00 – 7:00 PM Reception

7:00 PM Film Screening “The Advocates” by Remi Kessler.
                                          Q&A with filmmaker and guests.

Jutta Allmendinger is President of the Berlin Social Science Center (WZB) and Professor of Sociology in Education and Labor Market Research at Humboldt Universität Berlin since 2007. In addition, she has served as Honorary Professor of Sociology at Freie Universität Berlin since 2012. Jutta Allmendinger studied sociology and social psychology in Mannheim and Madison, Wisconsin, earned her Ph.D. at Harvard University and her habilitation degree at Ludwig Maximilian University (LMU) in Munich. From 1992 to 2007, she was a professor there. Her multiple honors and awards include the German Federal Cross of Merit First Class. Jutta Allmendinger serves on numerous advisory boards in Germany and abroad. She has been a member of the Goethe Institute since 2014. In 2018, she spent four months at Thomas-Mann-Haus in Los Angeles as one of the first Thomas-Mann-Fellows, appointed by the German Federal Foreign Office.
Hilary Silver is Chair and Professor of Sociology, International Affairs, and Public Policy at the George Washington University, and Professor Emerita of Urban Studies and Sociology at Brown University where she rose through the ranks since receiving her Ph.D. from Columbia University.  She was Editor of the urban sociological journal, City & Community, and a consultant to the World Bank, ILO, United Nations, and other international organizations on issues of social exclusion, poverty, and inequality around the world.  She was twice a Fulbright Scholar in Germany and among the first fellows of the Hanse Institute for Advanced Study in Bremen.  She has visited at the Humboldt Universität and Freie Universität, and WZB in Germany among many other think tanks and universities and has received support from DAAD.  Her film "Direction Home" (2015) follows seven Rhode Islanders experiencing homelessness over seven years until they all have secured housing.

Cristina Cielo teaches in the Sociology and Gender Studies Department of the Latin American Faculty for Social Sciences in Quito, Ecuador. In her classes and research, she seeks to understand the ways that global economic structures, from histories of development to contemporary commodity flows, are experienced in our daily lives, especially as seen in the ways we organize ourselves with those around us, as well as how we learn to care, or not care, for each other. She has worked on what property and legality mean for marginalized populations in Latin America and the Philippines and is particularly interested in the subjective and political dimensions of economic inequalities. Hopeful that we might work together to shift the structures that shape our lives, she seeks to integrate translocal comparisons and participatory research as a means to bring diverse forms of knowledge and people together. She is currently working on the book "Diverse Commons: Property, Water and Politics in the Urban Andes."

Charles Porter is the Prevention Coordinator for United Coalition East Prevention Project, a program of Social Model Recovery Systems. Porter has worked in the prevention field for more than 20 years with an emphasis on community engagement to address a range of alcohol, tobacco, and other drug-related concerns.  He incorporates culturally appropriate interventions and has worked with youth, adults, and older adults.  He has contributed to numerous prevention and neighborhood improvement initiatives in the Skid Row area of Los Angeles, where his current work is focused.  His efforts are also focused on expanding neighborhood wellness and safety by connecting grassroots vision/approaches to needed resources.

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.