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HomeMovement in Space - Space in Movement

Movement in Space - Space in Movement

Spring School - IMT School for Advanced Studies Lucca

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Published on Tuesday, November 23, 2021


IMT School for Advanced Studies Lucca, LYNX - Center for the interdisciplinary Analysis of Images, is launching a Spring School that aims at critically analysing the multifarious notion of movement, with a special focus on the Greek and Roman worlds. The Spring School aims to give a fresh approach on how movement can be analysed, reassessing its definition: movement as a foundational and perceptual mechanism. By providing such a definition it is possible to widening and incorporating a range of multidisciplinary topics and approaches.



Movement is a way to interact with the external world, independent from chronological and topographic boundaries. The physical placement of a body (both living and inanimate) in space and the mental, emotional and sensational feedback associated with movement are keys to human interaction with external reality. Still, the way humans shape, perceive and interpret the external world is deeply oriented by and depending on cultural, topographic and chronological factors. 

Scholars have recently investigated space, movement and interaction within the urban topography (or more in general with the external world), especially dealing with the Roman world (e.g. Laurence and Newsome, 2011; Östenberg, Malmberg and Bjørnebye, 2015; Vermeulen, Zuiderhoek 2021). Movement in the Greek and Italic worlds is a less addressed topic, though not totally ignored, as demonstrated by H. Boman (2003) and the more recent volume edited by S. Montel and A. Pollini (2018). Nevertheless, there is much to be analysed to achieve a clearer and broader comprehension of the theoretical and practical meanings that movement acquired from the Greek-archaic period onwards. The need for a more articulated discourse on movement in the ancient world dramatically emerges by considering the much deeper investigation of Latin literary sources (e.g. Varro, Horace, Martial, Juvenal) compared to Greek sources, which still deserve attention for their possible importance in defining the role of movement before the Hellenistic period. Similarly, whereas movement in public (fora, streets, thoroughfares, compita) and private (domus, villae, etc.) spaces of the Roman world represents a major research field, less has been done, and with a lower degree of analysis, on the dynamics of movement in the Greek agora and the role played since the Hellenistic period by stoai, series of statues, disposition of images and monuments.

The same holds true for movement and mobility on and by water (sea, rivers, lakes). Whereas scholars have thoroughly investigated commercial, economic, and technological issues concerning ancient navigation, the way artificial elements (e.g. harbours, ports, landing places, naval architecture) and natural agents (e.g. winds, water flows, weather conditions, daylight and darkness, time) affected ancient navigation still needs to be fully explored.

Even in the domain of the representation of movement, as far as the Ancient world is concerned, we can agree with Ernst Gombrich who, in 1964, observed: "while the problem of space and its representation in art has occupied the attention of art historians to an almost exaggerated degree, the corresponding problem of time and the representation of movement has been strangely neglected. There are of course some relevant observations scattered throughout the literature, but no systematic treatment has ever been attempted" (Movement in art, in "JWCI" 27, 1964). It is thus necessary to reconsider ancient Greek and Latin sources, both literary and visual, to analyse the multiple intersections between conceptualisations and representations of movement as well as the values attached to movement and stillness.

Topic Proposals

The Spring School aims to give a fresh approach on how movement can be analysed, reassessing its definition: movement as a foundational and perceptual mechanism. By providing such a definition it is possible to widening and incorporating a range of multidisciplinary topics and approaches. Starting from recent research on movement and space in the Greek and Roman worlds, the goal of the Spring School is to raise and answer interrogatives on how movement shapes and directs our knowledge and perception of the world. For example:

  • How did monuments, objects, images and their physical and topographical arrangement affect movement?
  • How were monuments, objects, images and spaces affected by specific paths, directions, ritualised or conventional prescribed movements and actions?
  • How was movement influenced by natural elements such as winds, water flows, weather conditions, daylight, darkness, time?
  • How to solve the inevitable tension between freedom and constraints when dealing with mobility on and by land/water?
  • Which tools, methods and senses were active in the attempt to answer the need for movement, intrinsically connected with human nature?

A second and fundamental aspect that the Spring School aims to tackle is related to the ancient attempts at understanding, conceptualising and representing movement. Movement is in fact strictly related to time and change:

  • How were different types of movement (terrestrial, aquatic, and aerial) understood, conceptualised and represented? And how did the conceptualisations of movement affect its representation?
  • How were different artistic productions (e.g. architectural complexes and arrangements, monuments, coins, artworks, luxury items, inscriptions, etc.) perceived regarding their ability to move (or be moved) and circulate?

The Spring School has two main objectives. The first is to foster discussion about the modalities through which different types of movement affected the relationship between humans and space in the ancient world, instantiated in ancient Greek and Roman productions. The second objective is to adopt a wider approach, in which a multifarious set of tools, methods and experiments, not constrained by strict chronological and topographical boundaries, can foster new investigations of movement; specifically, how movement shapes and directs our knowledge and perception of the world.

The overarching goal of the Spring School is to enable MA Graduates as well as junior researchers (PhD Students, Post-doctoral Fellows and Junior Professors) working on the Greek and Roman worlds to reflect on both micro and macro levels of movement (walking, resting, weaving, sailing), as well as on different implications of movement (placement, displacement, orientation, disorientation, representation and conceptualisation of movement). We will also appreciate papers with different and interdisciplinary approaches, not strictly related to the Greek and Roman worlds, which can contribute to stimulating debates toward movement, space and their interactions.

Therefore, participants will have the opportunity to share their views, methodologies, approaches on movement within a broad international and multidisciplinary network of researchers.


The Spring School will adopt a wide variety of teaching formats, from keynote lectures and paper sessions to group discussions and class visits to museums (e.g. the Museum of the Ancient Ships in Pisa). For this reason, it is conceived as an in-person event.

The School activities will be held in English.

Confirmed Keynote Speakers

  • Pascal Arnaud (Emeritus Professor at the University Lumière-Lyon 2, Maison de l'Orient et de la Méditerranée)
  • Maria Luisa Catoni (Director of the Research Unit LYNX Center for the Interdisciplinary Analysis of Image; Professor at IMT School for Advanced Studies Lucca)
  • Luca Giuliani (Permanent Fellow at the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin, Institute for Advanced Study; Emeritus Professor at the Humboldt University, Berlin)
  • Ida Östenberg (Research Fellow at The Royal Swedish Academy of Letters, History and Antiquities; Professor at the Department of Historical Studies, University of Gothenburg)a da
  • Carlo Rescigno (Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei; Professor at the Department of Humanities and Cultural Heritage, University of Campania “Luigi Vanvitelli”)


We plan to have a series of 15-minute presentations per Panel. Whereas the overarching topic will be chosen after the selection process, we encourage case-study based contributions addressing any of the following areas or interrelation among them:

  • Movement between Freedom and Constraints: Mobility on and by Land;
  • Movement between Freedom and Constraints: Mobility on and by Water;
  • Representing Movement in Images and Texts.

Audience participation

Numerous time slots will be devoted to Q&A sessions, informal contributions, social interaction, etc. Therefore the attendance at the Spring School as members of the audience is possible and welcome.


For the panel sessions as well as for audience participation please send the following application materials as a single pdf document to lynxspringschool@gmail.com by 17 December 2021

  • Abstract of the paper proposal. The proposal should not exceed 350 words and include a short relevant bibliography (for panels);
  • Brief CV. The CV should not exceed two pages in length (for panels and audience attendance)
  • One page summary of your current research project – e.g. master thesis, PhD dissertation, or research career project (for panels and audience attendance)
  • Request for accommodation (optional)

The Spring School fee is €260 per person. This registration fee covers access to all keynote and panel sessions and to the Conference “Movement and Multimodality”, three lunches and all the coffee breaks, the welcome reception, conference materials and a field trip to the Museum of the Ancient Ships at Pisa.

The entire accommodation (single and double rooms) for six attendees will be covered. In case you are interested, please include with the application material an accommodation request.

The Organizing Committee will select the list according to the application material.

The Spring School will provide 4 ECTS credits for paper presentation and 2 ECTS credits for audience attendance.

The selection outcome will be communicated by email by 15 January 2022. For further information about the Spring School, please visit the lynxspringschool.imtlucca.it or email lynxspringschool@gmail.com

Organising committee

  • Caterina Lobianco

Scientific committee

Scientific director : Riccardo Olivito (LYNX, IMT School for Advanced Studies Lucca)

  • Linda Bertelli (LYNX, IMT School for Advanced Studies Lucca)
  • Eleanor Betts (The Open University)
  • Maria Luisa Catoni (LYNX Director, IMT School for Advanced Studies Lucca)


  • IMT - School for Advanced Studies Lucca - Piazza San Francesco, 19
    Lucca, Italian Republic (55100)


  • Friday, December 17, 2021


  • Movement, Ancient History, Classics, Archaeology, Visual Studies


  • Caterina Lobianco
    courriel : lynxspringschool [at] gmail [dot] com

Information source

  • Lobianco Caterina
    courriel : lynxspringschool [at] gmail [dot] com


CC0-1.0 This announcement is licensed under the terms of Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal.

To cite this announcement

« Movement in Space - Space in Movement », Call for papers, Calenda, Published on Tuesday, November 23, 2021, https://doi.org/10.58079/17im

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