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Symposium: Redefining the Social in Architecture
Institute of Contemporary Arts

This symposium invites select speakers and CHASE PhD students to discuss their new and evolving research into topics of the social in architectural practice and theory. Building upon a series of related public events and closed discussions, this symposium expands to include themes of responsibility and collaboration. Research and presentation topics range from historical housing projects to critical engagement with ethics and participatory interactions with spaces.
Ben Highmore is Professor of Cultural Studies at the University of Sussex. He is currently completing a book about taste, class and domestic life in Britain in the last third of the 20th century. After that he plans to concentrate on playground architectures in his research.
Jane Rendell’s research, writing and pedagogic practice combines architecture, art, feminism, history and psychoanalysis. She has introduced concepts of ‘critical spatial practice’ and ‘site-writing’ through her books The Architecture of Psychoanalysis (2017), Silver (2016), Site-Writing (2010), Art and Architecture (2006) and The Pursuit of Pleasure (2002). She has co-edited Reactivating the Social Condenser (2017), Spatial Imagination (2005), The Unknown City (2001), Gender, Space, Architecture (1999) and Strangely Familiar (1995) among others. Jane is Professor of Architecture and Art at The Bartlett School of Architecture, where she is Director of Architectural History and Theory and leads the Bartlett’s Ethics Commission.
Katharina Borsi’s research focuses on the intersection between housing, domesticity, and the urban, the agency of architecture in urban transformation and live/work, learning and innovation environments. She has lectured and published extensively on the history and theory of housing and urbanism in Berlin. Borsi is also involved in EU and Innovate UK funded research projects on sustainable and resilient cities, as well as undertaking design research for urban design consultancies. She teaches architecture and urbanism and theory and design at the Department of Architecture and Built Environment, University of Nottingham.
Yasmin Modood is a PhD researcher in the department of Media, Film and Music at the University of Sussex. Her research engages with concerns on sensate knowledge creation and non-rational experience, urban epistemology and memory, inhabitant walking practices, urban cultural consumption, the Creative Cities discourse and progressive methods in ethnographic research. Her current working PhD project title is ‘A View Through the Paths of the Museum’s Urban Frame: Video Ethnography on the Mobile Visitor’s Sensory Encounters with the Urban Public Art Museum.’
Miloš Kosec is a Slovenian architect, editor and publicist living and working in London. His research work is focused on architecture, architectural history and the political and social aspects of architectural design. Miloš is also a practicing architect and landscape designer. He is a member of the editorial boards of Praznine and Outsider Magazine and the editor of, as well as one of the recipients of the Plečnik Medal for architectural contributions in 2017.
Robert Deakin is a first year PhD student in Anthropology at Goldsmiths, University of London. His research examines the relationship between contemporary urban regeneration, place, architectural aesthetics and contestation around infrastructures of the social state, focused on the proposed regeneration of the Lansbury Estate and Chrisp Street Market in Tower Hamlets, East London.
Jack O’Connor is a first year History PhD student in the School of History, Art History and Philosophy at the University of Sussex. O’Connor’s project, University as Public Sphere: New pedagogies and architecture, explores how education and architecture form public spheres of critical and rational debate within wider society, and how these spheres can be formed and contested by students and staff. The theoretical basis of this project takes draws from the work of Hannah Arendt and Jürgen Habermas.
Alistair Cartwright is a PhD candidate at Birkbeck, University of London, exploring the visual culture of ‘rented rooms’ in post-war London. His articles have appeared in Jacobin, Counterfire, Bright Lights Film Journal and elsewhere. He co-edits the creative non-fiction publication Different Skies and is a steering committee member of the Stop the War Coalition.
Joshua Y’Barbo is an artist and practice-based PhD candidate at Chelsea College of Arts, supervised by Dave Beech and Dr Marsha Bradfield. His research is based on institutional critique after the educational turn in art, focused on extra-curricular activities across the UAL postgraduate community since 2009. He is currently proposing the term ‘interstitial pedagogy’, describing a relationship between teaching and educational practices through an analysis of institutional critique and critical pedagogy.
This series of public events and training seminars on Architecture and the Social is organised in partnership with the Architecture, Space and Society Centre (ASSC) at Birkbeck, University of London and supported by the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts and the Consortium for the Humanities and the Arts South-East England.
01:30 pm
Thu, 21 Jun 2018


1:30  Introduction

1:45  Ben Highmore, The possibilities of democratic space: the adventure playground movement

2:05  Jack O’Connor, Locating the ‘social’ in post-war British architecture

2:20  Robert Deakin, On the idea of a ‘brutalist ethics’

2:35  Open discussion

2:50  Break

3:05  Katharina Borsi, Housing, type, the urban and the social

3:25  Yasmin Modood, Reframing dynamics of the spatio-visual and spatiotemporal in the walking practices of Tate Modern visitors

3:40  Alistair Cartwright, Architecture as regulation: the London County Council (LCC) ‘High Fire Risk’ inspection programme and home safety displays, 1958 – 63

3:55  Open discussion

4:10  Break

4:20  Jane Rendell, Home-work displacements: ethics as critical spatial practice

4:40  Joshua Y Barbo, Material dialogue in socially engaged art

4:55  Miloš Kosec, Elemental interpassivity: outsourcing the social from architecture

5:10  Open discussion

Following the Symposium, a talk by Mabel O. Wilson on Provisional Demos: The Spatial Agency and Tent Cities takes place in the ICA Cinema.

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