The Bartlett School of Architecture


SueAnne Ware - Bartlett International Lecture Series

17 January 2018, 6:30 pm–8:00 pm

SueAnne Ware

Event Information

Open to





The Bartlett School of Architecture


The Christopher Ingold Auditorium (accessed through The Bartlett School of Architecture), 20 Gordon Street, London, WC1H 0AJ

Radical Hope

Lecturer's Abstract 

"In his seminal paper ‘Is Earth F**ked?’, geophysicist Brad Werner concludes that empirically the answer is yes – but that history has examples of social uprisings by activists who break from the prevailing conditioning and risk life and limb to make change.

He holds out hope that such people would turn society away from ecocide. Werner argues that the evidence suggested this is the only remedy. I like think of Werner’s hope as Radical Hope. Jonathan Lear’s concept of radical hope is the ability to maintain hope in a meaningful existence even when one’s existence has lost all meaning.

In this lecture I will present projects from across my practice, where like many design activists, I have attempted to create a counter-narrative to the unsustainable status quo. As with any socially engaged practice, the works are fraught with failings and glimmers of radical hope."


SueAnne Ware is a Professor of Landscape Architecture and the Head of the School of Architecture and the Built Environment at the University of Newcastle, Australia. She is the founder of out(fit), an all-female collective of design practitioners and academics, as well as a self-confessed design activist.

As landscapes are often in public spaces, she believes that landscape architects share a responsibility for setting the political, social and environmental agenda.  Ware's projects reflect her strong commitment to society's marginalised groups and an exploration of issues such as drug addiction, 'illegal' refugee policy and homelessness.

She aims to create spaces that generate friction, where protests are permitted and possible, where the attention of passers-by is drawn to some of society's most pervasive issues, and where those passers-by who choose to engage with the space may discover insight into what Ware hopes is a more humanitarian approach to those issues. 

Image Caption: Goatland Phytoremediation Gardens at White Bay Power Station, Sydney Australia
Image Credit: Photomontage Karolina Bartkowicz, Vanessa Sooprayen, and SueAnne Ware

Referenced papers in abstract:
- Werner, B., 2012. Is Earth F**cked? Dynamical Futility of Global Environmental Management and Possibilities for Sustainability via Direct Action Activism
- Lear, J., 2008. Radical Hope: Ethics in the Face of Cultural Devastation

View the full schedule for The Bartlett International Lecture Series