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International Commission for the History of Towns conference 2022

08 September 2022


PDF icon Programme: International Commission for the History of Towns conference 2022

This year's theme of the ICHT conference is 'Crisis in Urban Order' and it takes place in Maynooth, Dublin and Derry, 13–16 September 2022.

Crisis in Urban Order

International Commission for the History of Towns (ICHT)—2022 Conference

Maynooth, Dublin, Derry (Ireland/UK)

13–16 September 2022

Addressing the overall theme of Urban Order, the ICHT 2022 programme takes a comparative historical and geographical approach to explore Crisis in Urban Order. This year is pertinent as it marks the centenary of the Partition of Ireland, and the creation of a border between ‘north’ and ‘south’ with profound implications for urban order across the island, with enduring impacts and legacies.

The ICHT 2022 conference themes encompass a range of ‘crises’ and their spatial, cultural and material impacts and manifestations on the towns and cities of Europe. The programme spans the island of Ireland, between ‘north’ and ‘south’, by being based in two locations, Dublin/Maynooth and Derry/Londonderry. It builds on an existing collaboration between the Irish Historic Towns Atlas and the British Historic Towns Atlas programmes and, in the spirit of connecting Ireland north and south in this centenary year, it is jointly convened by Dublin City University, Maynooth University, the Royal Irish Academy and Queen’s University Belfast, with support from Derry City Council.

The programme explores three manifestations of ‘crisis’ in urban order—1. Conflict and the city—impacts of war, insurrection, protest, riots; 2. Pestilence and plague—impacts of disease, climate, sanitation, supplies; 3. Religions and crisis—impacts of dissent, reformations, factionalism, heresy. The conference papers are international and range across the medieval, early modern and modern eras, encouraging comparative study, as well as enabling geographical comparisons across Europe. Topics covered by the papers include 1. Spatial order of the urban landscape; 2. Political order of urban governance; 3. Social order of population and people. Papers offer case studies of countries, regions and cities, exploring a range of spatial scales of ‘crisis in urban order’.

The programme convenors are Sarah Gearty (Royal Irish Academy), Keith Lilley (Queen’s University Belfast), Ruth McManus (Dublin City University) and Michael Potterton (Maynooth University).


Available for download here

Monday 12 September—Maynooth University

15:00 Accommodation check-in opens at Visitor Reception (No. 2 on accompanying map)

20:00 Board Meeting of ICHT (20.00–21.30), Renehan Hall (No. 8)

DAY 1—Programme of Formal Sessions Renehan Hall (No. 8)

Tuesday 13 September—Maynooth University

09.00–09.45: Conference registration

09.45–10.00: Welcome and introduction (by Keith Lilley and Michael Potterton)

I] ‘Crisis in Medieval Urban Order’—13th to 16th centuries (Chair: Michael Potterton)

10.00–10.30: Katalin Szende (Central European University), Neither God’s peace, nor civic order? Conflicts in Central European cathedral cities in the Middle Ages 

10.35–11.05: Howard B. Clarke (Royal Irish Academy), The Bruce invasion of Ireland and grievances of the common folk of Dublin, c.1316

11.05–11.30: Coffee break

11.30–12.00: Keith D. Lilley (Queen’s University Belfast), The impact of the Black Death on English towns

12.00–12.20: Q&A Discussion

12.20–13.30: Lunch, hosted by Department of History, Maynooth University

II] ‘Crisis in Early-Modern Urban Order’—16th to 17th centuries (Chair: Ruth McManus)

13.30–14.00: Juhan Kreem (Tallinn City Archives/Tallinn University), Resilient towns? Hanseatic towns of medieval Livonia facing the challenges of the mid-16th-century crisis in the Baltic Sea region

14.05–14.35: Christoph Sonnlechner (Wiener Stadt- und Landesarchiv, Austria), The monster on the doorstep: the Danube as a danger to Vienna’s urban order 

14.40–15.15: Panel Discussion 1—Q&A and comparisons on medieval and early-modern ‘crisis’ in urban order (Chairs: Ruth McManus and Michael Potterton)

15.30–17.00: Walking tour of Maynooth town and castle, led by Arnold Horner (University College Dublin). Tour will begin with a presentation at Renehan Hall (No. 8)

17.30: ICHT General Assembly (Maynooth University), Renehan Hall (No. 8)

19.00: Conference dinner (Maynooth University) Pugin Hall (No. 7)

DAY 2—Programme of Formal Sessions (continued)

Wednesday 14 September—Dublin, Royal Irish Academy (19 Dawson Street, Dublin 2)

08:15 Coach departure from Maynooth to Dublin from Main Gate (No. 1 on accompanying map)

III] ‘Crisis in Modern Urban Order’—18th to 20th centuries (Chairs: Sarah Gearty and Keith Lilley)

09.30–10.00: Roey Sweet (Centre for Urban History, University of Leicester), The heritage of ‘civil war’? An urban ‘crisis’ in the preservation of built fabric in English historic towns (1780–1850) 

10.05–10.35: Fióna Gallagher (Dublin City University), 'Mapping the Miasma' – A medical and social crisis in Irish towns:Analysing the 1832 cholera epidemic

10.35–10.45: Q&A discussion

10.45–11.15: Coffee break

11.15–11.45: Magda Pinheiro and Maria João Vaz (Iscte-Instituto Universitário de Lisboa, Portugal), Lisbon in the nineteenth century: from French invasions to the beginning of urban and social reforms (1807–1860s) 

11.50–12.20: Ruth McManus (Dublin City University), From sanitation to state-building: solving Dublin’s housing crisis in the late 19th and early 20th century

12.20–13.00: Panel Discussion 2—Q&A and comparisons on modern ‘crisis’ in urban order (Chairs: Sarah Gearty and Keith Lilley)

13.00–14.00: Lunch, hosted by Royal Irish Academy (RIA)

14.00–14.30: Library tour by Barbara McCormack (Royal Irish Academy)

14.30—16.00: ‘Dublin in Crisis’—Guided walking tour of city centre, led by Frank Cullen, with Ruth McManus and Howard Clarke (RIA), convene at front door of RIA

16.30–17.30: ICHT 2022 Keynote Lecture—Peter Crooks (Trinity College Dublin), Town, Crown and Archives: Reconstructing the ‘Virtual Record Treasury of Ireland’ (Chair: Michael Potterton)

17.30–18.30: Reception hosted by RIA, welcome by Mary Canning (President RIA)

18.30: Return to Maynooth by coach, departure from Molesworth Street (near RIA)

(Delegates to look after themselves for dinner in either Dublin or Maynooth)

DAY 3—ICHT Conference Field-Trip

Thursday 15 September—Urban Crisis and the Impact of Partition on Small Towns in Ireland

09.00: Leave Maynooth: meet at Main Gate (No. 1 on accompanying map)

  • Guided field-trip by coach from Maynooth to Derry, via Kells (10.00–11.00), Cavan (12.00–14.00) and Enniskillen (15.00–16.30), by coach. For more information, see itinerary and field-guide (provided for field-trip participants). All timings approximate.

18.30: Arrive Derry/Londonderry city-centre

18.30–20.00: At leisure in Derry (for hotel check-in etc.)

20.00: Informal dinner at Shipquay Hotel, Derry (at cost, for those confirmed)

DAY 4—‘Mapping Crisis—Divided Cities’, Atlas Working Group (AWG)

Friday 16 September—Main Hall, Guildhall, Shipquay Place, Derry/Londonderry

09.15–12.00: ‘Mapping Crisis—Historic Towns Atlases and Divided Cities’ session, workshop and panel discussion with contributions by Anna Maleszka and Roman Czaja (Poland), Judit Majorossy (Hungary), Rosa Smurra (Italy), Martin Uhrmacher (Luxembourg), and Raymond Gillespie (Ireland).

  • Use of EHTAs as examples to explore urban ‘divisions’—spatial or social, political or cultural, religious or ethnic—across historical periods and geographical location, to encourage a cross-comparative discussion and explore the potential EHTAs have in bridging divides and connecting communities, past and present. This role of mapping in reconciliation is germane in Derry, and indeed more widely across the island of Ireland, and has resonance and relevance elsewhere in Europe.

European Historic Town Atlases and maps on display.

12.00–13.00: AWG Business Meeting (see separate agenda)

13.00–14.00: Lunch break (provided, in Main Hall, Guildhall)

14.00–16.00: Walking the walls of Derry, led by Brian Lacey (meet Main Hall, Guildhall)

16.00: Plenary discussion, chaired by Keith Lilley and Michael Potterton (Main Hall, Guildhall)

17.00: Closing reception and address by Mayor Cllr Sandra Duffy (Main Hall, Guildhall)

Conference ends

Saturday 17 September

08.45 Transport return from Derry (Guildhall) to Dublin Airport/Dublin city centre, arrival c.13.00 (for those booked)


The ICHT 2022 conference organisers particularly thank the following for their kind financial contributions and in-kind support of the event.

  • Derry City and Strabane District Council
  • Dublin City University
  • Maynooth University
  • Queen’s University Belfast
  • Royal Irish Academy
  • Cavan County Council
  • Fermanagh & Omagh District Council
  • Historic Towns Trust
  • Inner City Trust
  • Institute of Irish Studies, Queen’s University Belfast
  • International Commission for the History of Towns
  • Irish Historic Towns Atlas
  • Meath County Council

The conference organisers are particularly grateful to colleagues and staff at the Royal Irish Academy, and Guildhall and the Tower Museum in Derry, for their time and efforts.


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