This post was written by Zeynep Arica.
As part of the Internship Module of the VUB / ULB Master in Urban Studies, I did my internship at UGoveRN for a period of six months between December 2021 and June 2022. This was a research internship focused on participating in academic processes and ongoing research projects. I believed that such an internship would allow me to experience the different academic research environments and explore current discussions taking place within urban studies in a global context. I believe that – as a very active interdisciplinary platform in the field of urban governance – UGoveRN plays an important role in the future of this concept. As part of the internship, the tasks I performed included training on and carrying out a systematic literature review on urban governance, supporting the establishment of UGoveRN’s activities like brainstorming sessions, and active participation in UGoveRN activities to enhance networks and involvement in the ongoing research activities.
The main assignment I was given during this internship was to collaboratively start preparing a systematic literature review on urban governance to understand the interdisciplinary aspects of the concept within the social science research fields. The primary focuses of this study were to determine the predominant research fields that include work on urban governance, to explore the recurrent keywords and subjects presented within these research fields, to analyze the interdisciplinary features of the works determined, and to understand the geographical focus of these discussions on urban governance. As a result of this study, we started to understand the interdisciplinary nature of the concept of urban governance, discovered which geographies are focusing on urban governance in what context recently, and explored the contexts in which discussions on the concept of urban governance are being produced in different fields of social sciences.
Personally, the work I have contributed to has enabled me to understand urban studies and more specifically the concept of urban governance from a more interdisciplinary context rather than from a single focus, and to evaluate my own work and academic knowledge from the perspective of different fields of social sciences. It also allowed me to combine my own research with the focus of interest of the research network where I was doing my internship and to establish an academic link between my work and the host organization. This study also provided me the opportunity to use the education I received during my master’s degree in a more professional academic field and showed me how I could further develop myself in this field.
Finally, the events I participated in during the internship, such as workshops and webinars, have allowed me to work in collaboration with new people and be part of a joint research in an academic environment that I have been mostly involved in individually until now. This process of mutual learning, where everyone benefited from each other’s ideas and research, was one of the most valuable aspects of this research internship for me. Not only did I get to share my own research skills with others, but I also learned new things about urban studies and urban governance, which I have studied and trained in.