Dr Ben Campkin

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Profile

Biography

I am an urbanist, an architectural historian and critic. My cross-disciplinary methods, and the diverse objects of my research enquiries, reflect my background in a number of disciplines that have distinct but overlapping interests in architecture, cities and urban culture - archaeology, art history, architectural history and geography. I am Director of the UCL Urban Laboratory  - a cross-disciplinary centre for research, teaching and public engagement on cities and urbanisation - and was previously Co-Director (2008-11). I am Senior Lecturer in Architectural History and Theory at the Bartlett School of Architecture, and I chair the Executive Group coordinating UCL's Grand Challenge of Sustainable Cities initiative (2012-).


I am the author of Remaking London: Decline and Regeneration in Urban Culture (IB Tauris, 2013); and I am co-editor of Dirt: New Geographies of Cleanliness and Contamination (IB Tauris, 2007, paperback 2012) and ‘Architecture and dirt’, special issue of the Journal of Architecture (2007), two anthologies that explore how knowledge about hygiene, and beliefs about dirt, have influenced the production of cities, architecture and space.


I am co-editor of Urban Pamphleteer (2013-), a peer-reviewed pamphlet publication. I previously served as Deputy Editor on the editorial board of CITY: analysis of urban trends, theory, policy, action (2001-2006). I am a member of the Urban Lab+ International Network of Urban Laboratories, Erasmus Mundus Action 3 Programme Steering Committee (2013-). I am Principal Investigator on a Leverhulme Artist Residency with the photographic artist Rab Harling (2013-14). In 2004 I was co-recipient of an RIBA Research Trust Modern Architecture and Town Planning award. I previously acted as an advisor to the Centre for Education in the Built Environment’s Special Interest Group on Diversity in Architectural Education (2004-2006). 


I have given talks and conference papers at a wide range of UK and international institutions. Recent examples include TU Berlin, Urban Lab+ programme; the International Forum on Doctoral Education in Europe, ENHSA, Riga, Latvia; University of Nicosia, Cyprus; Penn State University, USA; Harvard Graduate School of Design, USA; the Association of Geographers Annual Meeting, Las Vegas, USA; the Society of Architectural Historians, Pittsburgh, USA; and the University of Cape Town, Republic of South Africa, School of Architecture. I regularly give talks at London universities and in public venues such as the Zabludowicz Collection (2012); Camden Arts Centre (2012); Freeword Centre (2012); Future of London (2012); the Building Centre (2009); the Architecture Foundation (2009); and the Royal Academy of Arts London (2007).




Research Summary

My research interests are wide-ranging and I have recently published essays, for example, on the theoretical work of the anthropologist Mary Douglas, the photography of Stephen Gill, the architecture of David Adjaye, Google Street View and its place in the history of urban survey photography and the history of bedbug infestation and control. I have been researching urban change since 2001 and have studied a wide range of architectural and spatial forms and conditions associated with decline: from slums, sink estates and ghettoes, to industrial ruins, wastelands, red-light-zones, and infested dwellings. In my work I use cross-disciplinary methods to attend to the imaginaries of decline and regeneration, and the relationships between them. My book Remaking London (IB Tauris, 2013) spans from early twentieth century slum clearances to the large-scale government and business-led regeneration campaigns of the 1990s and early 2000s. 


Collaborative research projects I am involved with include:


Urban Pamphleteer, a series of pamphlets on key contemporary urban questions which I co-founded and co-edit with Dr Rebecca Ross, Central Saint Martins, funded by UCL Grand Challenge of Sustainable Cities. 


Picturing Place (with graphic designer Rebecca Ross and architectural historian Mariana Mogilevich), a project to  develop a methodology for the critical examination of the agency of images and image-production in processes of urban change: http://picturingplace.net/ 


Cities Methodologies, an annual peer-reviewed exhibition and events programme exploring innovative methodologies in urban research which I have chaired and curated since 2010, and which will lead to an edited anthology in 2014 (under contract, IB Tauris)


I am currently working on a co-authored book, Picturing Place: the Agency of Images in Urban Change (with Rebecca Ross and Mariana Mogilevich) and a co-edited anthology of new urban methods, Cities Methodologies (under contract, IB Tauris, 2014).


I have published in a wide-range of journals, including Architectural Theory Review (2013), The Journal of Architecture (2007), Architectural Design (2010) and the Centre for Education of the Built Environment: Transactions (2009), and anthologies such as Urban Constellations (2011), Camera Constructs: Photography, Architecture and the Modern City (2012), The Art of Dissent: Adventures in London's Olympic State (2012), Ladies and Gents: Public Toilets and Gender (2007). 


I have acted as a reviewer of research articles and proposals for journals, public bodies and publishers such as Architectural Theory Review (2007); Architectural Research Quarterly (2007); Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) (2009), AHRC Peer Review College (2012-); Ashgate (2011, 2012); CEBE Transactions (2007); City: Analysis of Urban Trends, Theory, Culture, Policy, Action (2001-2006); Environment and Planning D: Society and Space (2012); Journal of Architecture (2007, 2013); Journal of Historical Geography (2010); Progress in Human Geography (2010); Routledge (2006, 2014).



Research outputs

Derek Jarman's King's Cross 2014 Campkin B
Forty Ways to Think about Architecture 2014 Campkin B
Urban Multicultures from the Bottom Up 2013 Campkin B
Citations Out of Place 2013 Fardon R,Macfarlane A,Campkin B
Remaking London: Decline and Regeneration in Urban Culture 2013 Campkin B
"Placing ‘Matter Out of Place’: Purity and Danger as Evidence for Architecture and Urbanism" 2013 Campkin B
'King's Cross' and 'Looking for Langston' 2012 Campkin B
'City, Street and Citizen': the Measure of the Ordinary 2012 Campkin B
Negotiating the city through Google Street View 2012 CAMPKIN BJ,Ross R
'Buried' by Stephen Gill and Hackney Wick: an Excavation 2012 Campkin B
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Research activities

Insect City
Mapping beyond the palimpsest
Picturing Place