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ARL International Summer School 2019

ARL International Summer School 2019 „Europe and its regions“

28 – 30 October 2019, Hannover, Germany

© Adobe Stock/Stephanie


Call for Applications

The event is jointly organized by:

German Academy for Spatial Research and Planning (ARL)

Ministry of Federal and European Affairs and Regional Development

Leibniz University Hannover, Leibniz Research Centre “TRUST”


The German Academy for Spatial Research and Planning (Akademie für Raumforschung und Landesplanung, ARL) is inviting applications for the ARL International Summer School 2019 on „Europe and its regions“, which takes place from 28 to 30 October 2019 in Hannover, Germany (departure scheduled for 31 October 2019).

Advanced doctoral students from all disciplines are invited to apply. The summer school will be held in English. The deadline for applications is 1 September 2019.


In the 1990s, researchers commonly asserted a declining significance of the nation state (“hollowing out the nation state”) and of the local level, which was paralleled by a rise in the political importance of international organisations and the regional level. The idea of a “Europe of the regions” was used to describe both an interpretation of reality and a promising model for future develop-ment. Two decades later, and in view of the recently rising nationalism, Europe’s position and pro-spects should be reanalysed. For this purpose, three dimensions should be distinguished: politics, economy, and culture. It should be noted, however, that developments in these dimensions can be contradictory.

Increasing political and economic interdependencies at the European and global levels have recent-ly been confronted with a strengthened political nationalism. One popular explanation is that glob-alisation has dis-anchored at least parts of the population. The question arises as to whether re-gions and regional culture provide opportunities for identification and anchoring. The ARL Interna-tional Summer School seeks to critically examine these processes in the European context: How have the power relations between the EU, the nation states, and the regional or local governments developed? Did regions gain in importance recently, or are we experiencing a re-nationalisation? What are the implications of right-wing populist and nationalist discourses?

These questions hint at a much more general question, namely, how “Europe” is conceptualised by its citizens and its political and economic elites. Is Europe synonymous with the political system of the European Union? How does the concept of the EU as a multilateral organisation with a focus on political and economic questions compare with the dispositif of Europe? And last but not least, what is the added value of conceptualising Europe beyond the continent as a specific understanding of unity in diversity based on shared fundamental values derived from the Enlightenment?


The aim of the ARL International Summer School 2019 is to critically examine “Europe of the regions”as a leitmotif for European integration. Participants will discuss conceptual, methodological, and empirical contributions that use innovative approaches to exploring the role of regions in Europe’s multilevel governance system. Relevant questions in this context include, but are not limited to:

  • What is the role of regional culture in the context of a global digital media world? Is it merely a counterfactual claim?
  • What are current strategies for regional development? In a globalised economy, does it make sense to focus on changing regional conditions? Is spatial proximity a factor of success for economic development, as regional cluster strategies imply?
  • In the field of spatial planning, did the European integration lead to an alignment of strategies and instruments? Or is the EU – due to a lack of formal competence – largely ineffective in this field? Is there a general trend in Europe towards a diminishing formalisation in planning due to the complexity of formal planning procedures and increased participation claims?
  • A critique of globalisation and growth implies the re-regionalisation of the economy with a view to sustainable spatial development. What strategies does this approach require? What are good examples of this?
  • Climate change is a global phenomenon. What role do regional strategies really play in climate protection and climate change mitigation?
  • What perspectives and approaches are available to overcome the focus on administrative levels? What does rescaling mean in this context?

We invite contributions from doctoral students whose approaches and empirical analyses demon-strate an interest in:

  • comparative (cross-national/cross-regional) studies
  • theoretical, conceptual, or methodological advances
  • the role of regions in a multilevel governance system
  • the role of stakeholders, institutions, and agency
  • the role of territorial and social cohesion
  • the relationships between regions


Prof. Simin Davoudi – Professor of Environment Policy & Planning, and Director of Global Urban Research Unit (GURU) at Newcastle University, England.

Birgit Honé – Minister of Federal and European Affairs and Regional Development (Lower Saxony state government), Germany.

Prof. Anssi Paasi, PhD – Professor of Geography at the University of Oulu, Finland.

Prof. Dr. Axel Priebs – Professor at the University of Vienna, Department of Geography and Re-gional Research, and vice president of the ARL.

Prof. Dr. Sabine Riedel – Professor of Political Science at the University of Magdeburg, and researcher at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP), Germany.

Prof. Dr. Peter Schmitt – Associate Professor of Human Geography at Stockholm University, Sweden.


The German Academy for Spatial Research and Planning (Akademie für Raumforschung und Landesplanung, ARL) is an independent non-university institution and one of the prime addresses in Europe for research and advice on sustainable spatial development. It consists of a network of non-paid academics and practitioners who participate in temporary working groups on the regional, national, and international levels. The ARL is a think tank for interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary cooperation between research and practice on all important spatial issues. It is particularly committed to the exchange and dissemination of knowledge. Support for young researchers and practitioners is well-established at the ARL. The ARL is a member of the German Leibniz Association.

The Ministry of Federal and European Affairs and Regional Development is one of ten ministries of the Federal State Government of Lower Saxony. It is located in Hannover. The ministry's responsibilities include the representation of the federal state's interests vis-à-vis the Federal Government of Germany and the European Union. Moreover, it is responsible for strategies of regional development and EU funding.

The Leibniz Research Centre “TRUST – Transdisciplinary Rural and Urban Spatial Transformation” supports urban and rural spatial transformation with its research expertise. Founded in 2016, the centre builds on interdisciplinary cooperation across faculties on questions of spatial development dating back to 2007. Its objectives are to concentrate the research activities in the field of spatial transformation, to build up an interdisciplinary network, and to be a partner of choice for society, industry, public administration, and politics; thus continuing the long tradition of spatial research at the Leibniz University Hannover.


© Adobe Stock/ARL

The ARL International Summer School 2019 takes place at the new headquarters of the ARL in Hannover, Germany. Hannover is an ideal location for a summer school on “Europe and its regions” for at least two reasons. First, two excellent partners in this thematic field – namely the Ministry of Federal and European Affairs and Regional Development, and the Leibniz Research Centre “TRUST” – are located in the city. Second, the Hannover Region is a unique urban regional body that is particularly suitable for demonstrating processes of multilevel governance.  


The ARL International Summer School starts with a public opening ceremony on Monday, 28 October 2019 at the old town hall in Hannover. We are delighted that Professor Simin Davoudi and Minister Birgit Honé will give insights into their respective fields of expertise. On the following two days (29-30 October 2019), the summer school participants will get the chance to present their research and receive individual feedback from international experts and peers. In addition, keynote lectures and discussions will offer opportunities to dive deeper into the topic, ask questions, gain insight, and develop further research ideas. A field trip to the Kronsberg district and a presentation by the ARL’s vice president and former Deputy Chief Executive and Director of Environmental Protection, Regional Planning and Building Control of the Hannover Region, Professor Axel Priebs, will demonstrate how urban and regional planning are carried out in the city of Hannover and the Hannover Region. Joint evening activities will provide further opportunities for networking and leisure. The programme ends with a farewell dinner on Wednesday evening (30 October 2019). Departure is scheduled for Thursday morning (31 October 2019), and hotel rooms are available until Thursday morning at the ARL’s expense.  


The ARL International Summer School takes an interdisciplinary approach to the role of regions in Europe’s multilevel governance system. We invite applications from advanced doctoral students with a background in geography, urban and European studies, political sciences, sociology, spatial planning, public administration, and other related fields. We admit a maximum of ten doctoral student – six of which are selected in a competitive application process. The ARL sponsors the accommodation and travel costs of all participants. There is no participation fee. As academic institutions, the organisers encourage scientific publications, and aim to compile a special issue or an edited volume on the topic of the summer school. Participants should be willing and prepared to discuss their paper drafts during the summer school and to develop their papers afterwards.


Your application should include a motivation letter (max. 1 page), a short CV, and a short description of the project that you are going to present (max. 1 page). Please submit your application by 1 September 2019. Email applications are particularly welcome (compiled in one PDF file).

Please send your application to:

Akademie für Raumforschung und Landesplanung (ARL)
Dr. Ina Peters
Vahrenwalder Straße 247
30179 Hannover, Germany


You will receive a notification of acceptance by mid-September 2019.

For further questions, please contact Dr. Ina Peters, , Phone +49 511 34842-61.

We look forward to your application!