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Open City: Architecture

Lead Applicant:

  • Dr Michael Stewart (Anthropology)

Main Collaborator:

  • Prof. Nic Clear (Bartlett School of Architecture)

Additional Collaborators:

  • Prof Mark Tewdwr-Jones (Bartlett School of Planning)

The inaugural Open City: Documentary Festival was held from the 16th–19th June 2011, and Open City: Architecture was one part of it. Open City Docs represented a systematic collaboration between Anthropology and the Bartlett.

GCSC (Stewart) MyStreet & Open Citys Doc Festival

This festival, and the MyStreet website, are research and a form of public engagement. They are a way to alter the University’s relationship with its urban environment. This form of engagement, where research is collaboratively produced by ‘the public’ and a university employee, provides a model to be adopted elsewhere – e.g. in a new UCL site outside of central London. Our staff now work for think tanks, others are taking the model abroad.

There have been packed screening of the 12 best films at Open City Docs Fest, bringing new audiences into UCL. The best of 2012 films were screened on BBC Community Channel. There was an Arup Phase Two exhibition of 20 films May-October 2012.

Through the annual competition and UCL screenings this work is  creating new conversations about the urban environment. MyStreet is a living on-line archive of everyday life, available for anyone who is interested in exploring urban life in London.
Novel Insights

Open City Docs Fest
Open City

Open City Docs Fest is an annual live festival devoted to exploring the world we live in through the vision of documentary film. The festival was well received by the public and those at UCL, and t has become a regular fixture in the UCL calendar.


The My Street website uses amateur documentaries inspired by Mass Observation.  Ten minute long, postcode linked, allow people to tell the stories of their places.
The work of 200 filmmakers has been inspired by the project.