Previously at the ICA - Events

The Social in Architecture: Provisional Demos

The Social in Architecture: Provisional Demos

9 Mar 2018

Due to unforeseen circumstances this talk by Mabel O. Wilson has been cancelled. The afternoon closed seminar is still taking place in the ICA Studio

The Spatial Agency and Tent Cities   

The second in a series of public events connected to the theme of 'the social in architecture', this talk by Mabel O. Wilson builds on a number of events that have taken place at the ICA recently, such as Urban Planning as Social Cleansing, the Architects for Social Housing residency and A Heavy Nonpresence: Housing Workshop.  

Wilson's talk responds to questions about the role of architecture in situations of precarity and the breakdown of social structures along with notions of public space. This includes themes such as migration and temporary housing, the social use of history and memory, and structures of inequality and separation.   

The previous event in this series addressed the question of the social through the neoliberal concepts of risk and opportunity in the production, design and consumption of housing in the United States.  

Preceding the public talk, from 3-5pm, is a closed seminar for CHASE PhD students, social housing residents and activists. The seminar includes presentations by Romola Sanyal, Lukazs Stanek and John Lagae. The overall theme for the day will be 'Architecture, crisis, and social sustainability’.  

If you are interested in attending the closed seminar, please email


  • Mabel O. Wilson

    Mabel O. Wilson is a Professor of Architecture, a co-director of Global Africa Lab and the Associate Director of the Institute for Research in African American Studies at Columbia University. She has authored Begin with the Past: Building the National Museum of African American History and Culture (2016) and Negro Building: African Americans in the World of Fairs and Museums (2012).

    She is a member of the design team for the Memorial to Enslaved African American Laborers at the University of Virginia. She was recently one of twelve curators contributing to MoMA's current exhibition Frank Lloyd Wright at 150: Unpacking the Architecture. She's a founding member of Who Builds Your Architecture? (WBYA?), a collective that advocates for fair labour practices on building sites worldwide and whose work was most recently shown in a solo show at the Art Institute of Chicago.     

  • Łukasz Stanek

    Łukasz Stanek is Senior Lecturer at the Manchester School of Architecture, the University of Manchester, UK. He graduated in architecture and philosophy after studies in Kraków, Weimar, Münster and Zurich, and he received his PhD at the Delft University of Technology. Stanek authored Henri Lefebvre on Space: Architecture, Urban Research, and the Production of Theory (2011) and edited Lefebvre's unpublished book about architecture, Toward an Architecture of Enjoyment (2014).

    Stanek also published on the mobilities of architecture between socialist countries and Africa and the Middle East during the Cold War, and he is currently preparing a book on this topic. He has taught at the Berlage Institute, Harvard University Graduate School of Design and at the ETH Zurich, and received fellowships at numerous institutions, including the Canadian Center for Architecture (Montreal), and the Center for Advanced Study in Visual Arts (Washington, DC).

  • Romola Sanyal

    Romola Sanyal is Assistant Professor in Urban Geography at the London School of Economics. She is interested in forced migration, urbanization and urban politics in the Global South. She has previously worked on a comparative project between the Middle East (Lebanon) and South Asia (India) and has published several book chapters as well as articles on this in journals such as Geoforum, IJURR, Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers and Political Geography.

    She is also the co-editor of Urbanizing Citizenship: Contested Spaces in Indian Cities with Dr Renu Desai (Sage, India) and Displacement: Global Conversations on Refuge with Dr Silvia Pasquetti (forthcoming from Manchester University Press). She is currently studying local government responses to refugee crises in the Middle East and beyond.

  • Johan Lagae

    Johan Lagae is Full Professor at Ghent University, where he teaches 20th Century Architectural History with a focus on the non-European context. He holds a PhD on colonial architecture in the former Belgian Congo and has written extensively on colonial/postcolonial architecture in Central Africa, African urban history and colonial photography.

    He co-authored two books on the architecture and urban landscape of Kinshasa, DR Congo, and is currently preparing a historical atlas on the Congolese port city of Matadi. His full bibliography can be read here. He (co-)curated several Congo-related exhibitions, such as Le mémoire du Congo: Le temps colonial (2005), Congo - Paysages urbains, regards croisés (2007) and Congo belge en images (2010). From 2010-2014 he co-chaired a European research group devoted to the theme 'European Architecture beyond Europe', and currently is editorial member of the open access ABE journal.

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 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


E.g., 21-06-2018
E.g., 21-06-2018