The Bartlett School of Architecture


Bartlett Research Conversations: Sebastian Buser

16 March 2021, 4:00 pm–5:30 pm

Women's Anarchist Nuisance Cafe

PhD student Sebastian Buser discusses their research into the Women’s Anarchist Nuisance Café and presents a transpoietic architectural history of WANC.

This event is free.

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The Bartlett School of Architecture

A Trans-Architectural History of WANC - 1999–2012

Speaker: Sebastian Buser
Panel: Professor Ben Campkin (Chair) and Dr Ben Walters


This research operates across two concerns. One responds to the ‘archival silences’ within London’s LGBTQ+ histories, by producing a history of the Women’s Anarchist Nuisance Café (WANC) - a trans-inclusive, feminist, queer women’s space, which took place in squats and legal spaces across London from 1998–2012. The second addresses the paucity of transgender approaches to the discipline of architectural history, by developing a transpoietic practice - a ‘creative making of relations’ (Crawford 2015), inspired by transgender theorist/historian Susan Stryker’s concept of poiesis – ‘an act of artistic creation’. It brings these concerns together to produce a transpoietic architectural history of WANC that is sensitive to their political concerns, that takes research beyond the academy and responds to the lived experiences of its participants.
As WANC was a queer centred and self-defined feminist women’s space, this research situates itself at the crossing of transgender studies, queer feminist new material ontologies and architectural history. Transpoiesis takes place in the materialisation of WANC with (trans) embodiment, objects, spaces, discourses. It does so to reveal the becoming-with (Haraway 2016, Barad 2007) of WANC, materially, socially and spatially – in the past, present and imagined future. The practice moves between auto/ethnographic and participatory modes through oral history, archival work and site visits, to create collective and subjective knowledge. The relations are examined through modes of ‘site-writing’ (Rendell 2010) and performative writing (Madison 2011).

About The Bartlett Research Conversations

The Bartlett School of Architecture’s Research Conversations seminars comprise work-in-progress and upgrade presentations by students undertaking the MPhil/PhD Architectural Design and MPhil/PhD Architectural and Urban History and Theory. All current UCL staff and students are welcome to attend.

Held regularly throughout the academic year, the seminars are attended by the programme directors, Professor Jonathan Hill and Professor Sophia Psarra, PhD Coordinators, Dr. Nina Vollenbröker and Dr Sophie Read, and other PhD supervisors.

Image: Sebastian Buser, composite from Women’s Anarchist Nuisance Café zine, 2014.