International PhD Summer School: Designing the socio-ecological transition #2 / LAB-U, HRC


Event details

Date 28.06.2023 19.07.2023
Category Call for proposal
Event Language French, English
Unveiling palimpsests of exploitation:
towards a new alliance between ecology and economy in marginal regions

Call for Participation
Send a motivation letter + CV until July 19th July, 2023 to [email protected]

Charleroi (BE) – Lens (FR)
2 – 5 September 2023

The International Ph.D. Summer School Post-extraction territories in transition #2 intends to continue the academic and transdisciplinary investigation on the social and ecological transition of marginal spaces and territories of exploitation launched by HRC in December 2022.

The 2022 Ph.D. Seminar sketched an initial portrayal of current research on critical post-extraction territories and marginal spaces scenarios. Different methodologies and approaches to the topic have been debated, and the need emerged to further explore possible actions to operate in contexts of energetic instability, resource contraction, landscapes degradation, and climate urgency.

The 2023 International Ph.D. Summer School will continue this reflection while integrating an onsite approach allowing doctoral students to confront themselves and their research hypothesis with concrete territories and actors. It will therefore represent an opportunity to test the previously formulated hypotheses on an area characterized by permanent land exploitation due to a past mining phase.

Through the fieldwork, and thanks to the synergy with the International Post-Mining Network, we will establish a dialogue and a comparison between, on one side, the ongoing urban and landscape projects and socio-economic policies in the Charleroi and Lens regions and, on the other side, a new territorial reading that will be set up during the School, both by unveiling the palimpsests of exploitations and reclamations and by testing a set of hypotheses on the socio-ecological transition. The first hypothesis strikes on the need to recover the sites’ urban qualities. Complementary, the second hypothesis examines the historical potentialities of these territories that can emerge as drivers and pioneers of the socio-ecological transition.

Program & Output
The Summer School consists of four days of theoretical sessions, site visits, and a Ph.D. conference; during the conference, students will present and debate their research – or parts of it – with a short contribution (max. 12 minutes) related to the proposed topic.

They will further expand their contribution with a paper (10’000 characters max.) to be written after the Summer School. In the paper, students will elaborate on the most significant theoretical and methodological impacts of the summer school on their own hypothesis and methodology – by relating their research with the proposed readings, onsite interactions, keynote conferences, and discussions.

The paper should be returned to [email protected] by 17th November 2023.

The call is addressed to doctoral students in the fields of Architecture, Urbanism, Urban History, Landscape, Geography, and Environmental Sciences, as well as Humanities and Political and Social Sciences interested in the topic.

Up to 12 doctoral students will attend the Summer School and be selected based on a motivation letter (articulating their research fields and the proposed theme for the conference) in English or French (max. 500 words) and a CV.
The abovementioned documents should be submitted by July 19, 2023, via email to [email protected].

Cost and accommodation
The PhD Summer School fee is 100 CHF. The organisers will provide accommodation from Friday 1st September to Tuesday 5th September, as well as fieldwork expenses.
Travel costs to the PhD summer School are in charge of PhD students.

The Summer School is an initiative of the Habitat Research Center, EPFL, and is co-organized with the Chaire Acclimater les Territoires Post-miniers at the École supérieure d’architecture et de paysage de Lille (ENSAPL).

As a course offered in the frame of the study plan of the EPFL Doctoral program in Architecture and Sciences of the City (EDAR), the summer school will give access to 3 credits.

Seminar’s official languages are English and French.

For more information, contact [email protected]

Practical information

  • General public
  • Free


  • Scientific and Organizing Committee
    Prof. Paola Viganò          
    (HRC/Lab-U, EPFL)
    Prof. Elena Cogato Lanza
    (Lab-U, EPFL)
    Prof. Tom Avermaete
    (ETH Zurich)
    Dr. Tommaso Pietropolli
    (HRC, EPFL)
    Prof. Béatrice Mariolle
    (ENSAPL, Chaire Acclimater les Territoires Post-miniers)