Project of the Month: PLEASURESCAPES

Posted: 1 September, 2021

HERA is delighted to publish the first of our HERA JRP Public Spaces: Culture and Integration in Europe to be showcased as part of our ‘Project of the Month’ initiative. Each month HERA will publish the most updated information on each project, how each project has adapted to the pandemic and outlining the main outputs and deliverables achieved to date for the project.





Project name

PLEASURESCAPES: Port cities’ transnational forces of integration

Describe your project

The Pleasurescapes Project explores the ways in which public places of pleasure in European port cities have unfolded social forces of integration in the past and present and thereby fostered traits of urban practices. The project brings together researchers with museum curators, stakeholders of cultural industries and NGOs. We will create a travelling museum exhibition with accompanying publications as well as a theater production, and we will set up an open access database to make our research sustainable and increase its impact.

Spielbudenplatz, Hamburg, postcard, around 1900, ©Sammlung Lachmund, ed. by Hamburger Abendblatt

Describe your project development to date

Meetings, workshop, conferences:

So far, we have organized two 3-day-IRL-workshops, one in Hamburg, and one in Rotterdam. We organized several digital team meetings and built regular working groups. In preparation of our session at the 15th International Conference on Urban History of the European Association for Urban History (EAUH), we hosted a pre-EAUH-conference, which resulted in a successful proposal for a special section at the Journal of Urban History (JUH). We are going to submit the section in September 2021 and publish it with JUH in early 2022.


Our researchers have already successfully submitted and published several individual open access academic articles, blogposts, a podcast episode, a short film documentary, and participated in one of HERA’s webinars.  We launched a website and feed a project Twitter-account. Currently, we are continuing our research on further case studies – depending on varying access to archives and libraries due to Covid.

Exhibition and Theatre work:

We have detailed our exhibition concept and the theatre script. For our exhibition work, we set up an online database, which we intend to publish partially in the end of the project to foster future material culture-based projects on the history of public urban pleasures.


Currently, we are collecting object and biographical data in our database and are intensifying our discussion about the exhibition concept and the theatre script. Finalizing these concepts on basis of our material sources and in close dialogue with our research finds, will be the main tasks for the year 2021.

People dancing “sardanes” at Maricel Park, Barcelona, 1930, ©Francisco Arauz


How did the pandemic impact on the project and how has the project adapted?

The heaviest obstacle that the pandemic put in our way was the closing of all public historical archives. Our researchers were slowed down in their work, because their historical research at the archives was immensely complicated or even impossible due to the general lockdown and Covid compliance measures.

Besides, our networking with local communities and dissemination activities were severely disturbed by the outbreak of the Corona-virus. Many of our scheduled appointments and presentations had to be cancelled; important cooperation with local collectors or stakeholders in cultural industries was on hiatus. Since all networking activities were reduced to a minimum, our media attention was not as significant as hoped.

Interesting collaborations / partnerships

Project outputs

BLOG: Vincent Baptist - Researching Historical Entertainment Culture across Port Cities: Why ‘Pleasurescapes’ Matter for ‘PortCityFutures’, PortCityFutures Blog

BLOG: Judit Vidiella-Pagès - Spiritism as the Flagship of Modernity: Port Cities and Uncanny Communications, PortCityFutures Blog

PODCAST: Vergnügen in der Hafenstadt Hamburg

MEDIA LINK: Dompers en daadkracht, de impact van corona op Europees onderzoek naar publieke ruimtes

CONFERENCE: Pleasurescapes Pre-EAUH Conference, Erasmus University Rotterdam

INTERACTIVE WORK: HERA Webinar “Pleasure in Crisis? Resilience of public entertainment and festivity in the past and present

DOCUMENTARY: Heiligengeistfeld – Urbaner Freiraum in Zeiten pandemiekonformen Vergnügens, a film by Laurenz Gottstein and Jacob Scholz



  • Kosok, Lisa / van de Laar, Paul / Vidiella Pagès, Judit / Just, Alina L / Reimann, Christina / Castro-Varela, Aurelio (Eds.): „Pleasurescapes on the Edge. Performing Modernity on Urban Waterfronts (1880s-1960s)“. Journal of Urban History (JUH), special section. 2022.


  • Baptist, Vincent: „Of Hedonism and Heterotopia: Pathways for Researching Legacies of Entertainment Culture in Port Cities“. PORTUSplus 10(2020), No. 9. URL: [Written in English]
  • Baptist, Vincent: „New Neapolis: A Creative Teaming Up of Port Cities“. Port City Futures Blog, 27 April 2020. URL: [Written in English]
  • Baptist, Vincent: „Researching Historical Entertainment Culture across Port Cities: Why ‚Pleasurescapes‘ Matter for ‚PortCityFutures’“. Port City Futures Blog, 22 June 2020. URL: [Written in English]
  • Castro-Varela, Aurelio / Onses, Judit: “Research on education as displacement: not knowing, opening up, becoming”, in: Educatio Siglo XXI, 37(2), 2019, 141-158. DOI: [Written in Spanish].
  • [Written in Spanish].
  • Just, Alina: „Freiraum, Volksfest, Stadtmarke. Der Hamburger Dom als Brennglas sozialer Zugehörigkeiten und politischer Inszenierungen“, in: Moderne Stadtgeschichte, 2019.2, 59-71. [Written in German]
  • Just, Alina: „Haase, Hugo“, in: Kopitzsch, Franklin / Brietzke, Dirk (Eds.): Hamburgische Biografie. Personenlexikon, Vol. 7, Göttingen, 2020, 124-126. [Written in German]
  • Just, Alina: „Vergnügen mit Plan. Der Luna Park in Altona als Motor für Stadtentwicklungsprozesse“, in: Forschungsstelle für Zeitgeschichte Hamburg (Ed.): Zeitgeschichte in Hamburg 2020. URL: 117-139. [Written in German]
  • Kosok, Lisa / Just, Alina: „Pleasurescapes – Port Cities‘ Transnational Forces of Integration“, in: Bögle, Annette / Neißkenwirth, Frederike / Weinhold, Jörn (Eds.): Explorationen 2019/2020 – Forschung an der HCU, Vol. 4, Hamburg, 2020, 22-23. URL: [Written in German]
  • Lima Caminha, Melissa / Vidiella Pagés, Judit: „Payasas y Xoxo Clown Show: Marcos teóricos, metodológicos y epistemológicos de una investigación social y artística“. Artnodes, „Arqueología de los Medios II/Humanidades Digitales II“ (2019), No. 23. 96-103. DOI: URL: [Written in Spanish]
  • Reimann, Christina: „‚People on Lists in Port Cities: Administrative Migration Control in Antwerp and Rotterdam (c. 1880–1914)“, in: Journal of Migration History 6 (2020), 182-208.
  • Reimann, Christina / Öhman, Martin (Eds.): „Migrants and the Making of the Urban Maritime World“, Routledge Advances in Urban History, New York, London, 2020.
  • Reimann, Christina / Öhman, Martin: Introduction, in: Reimann, Christina / Öhman, Martin (Eds): Migrants and the Making of the Urban Maritime World, Routledge Advances in Urban History, New York, London, 2020.
  • Robel, Yvonne / Just, Alina: „Stadt und Vergnügen: Einführung“, in: Moderne Stadtgeschichte, 2019.2, 5-14. [Written in German]
  • Vidiella-Pagès, Judit: „Spiritism as the flagship of Modernity: Port cities and uncanny communications“. Port City Futures Blog, 22 February 2021. URL: [Written in English]

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