This September, Cemore has co-organised the most important academic conference on cycling, Cycling and Society Symposium. More than 50 cycling researchers and advocates from 15 countries have gathered in Lancaster to discuss the future of velomobilities.
The Cycling and Society research group and annual conference are perhaps the main reasons why I decided more than three years ago that I wanted to do a PhD on this topic. The book Cycling and Society, published in 2007, has inspired me a lot at that time. In the following years after I started my PhD (2013) I have attended all the editions and always thought about organising one in Lancaster. In fact, it must be said that the very first edition was held here in 2004, and then as now, Cemore’s help has been decisive in making it happen.
While there are many things to be said about this year’s conference and being an organiser makes the task of highlighting the best moments even more difficult, I want to mention three things which I think made this year’s edition a special one.
First, Cycling and Society Symposium series are an excellent opportunity for researchers, both at the beginning of their career and established ones, to discuss their work. This year we have tried to include everyone who expressed their interest in participating. This has lead to a very packed programme, but the range of topics, geographical perspectives and disciplines was truly impressive. We had presenters coming not only from Europe (Germany, Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, to name just a few), but also from across the world (Brazil, South Koreea, India, US, Canada), while the research topics ranged from everyday cycling, to hi- and low- tech innovations, to inequalities within the practice, to issues around governance and policy making.
Second, we wanted to make this year’s edition as much a convivial one as possible, Ivan Illich would be certainly pleased with this! We have organised a movie projection at the end of the first day (La course en tête) and we joined the Lancaster Critical Mass at the end of the second day. Equally important, we have matched some of the participants with locals who were more than happy to host them during the conference. Cycling has always been about convivialities and sociabilities, and this idea has contributed to better links between local cyclists and those coming from far away.
Third, I am forever grateful to my colleagues, Katerina Psarikidou and Dennis Zuev, without whom this would have never been possible!
To get a flavour of this year’s Cycling and Society, we have put together a couple of videos of some of the presentations. Below is a Youtube playlist that you can access and navigate. Enjoy the ride!