The Bartlett School of Architecture


Claire Malaika Tunnacliffe

Image courtesy of Claire Tunnacliffe.



Queer Practices of Place Making: Exploring how LGBTQI+ activists in London make place 

First and second supervisors


Queer practices of place making is a participatory doctoral research project that seeks to contribute to discussions on place making in London. Particularly, the project will explore the experiences of LGBTQI+ activists by examining if and how their participation in interventions explore an individual and collective sense of belonging.

While London has historically received attention, academic and otherwise, on debates concerning LGBTQI+ lives, the study of sexuality and gender diversity within the field of planning has remained sparse (Doan, 2015). This research attempts to respond to this gap, by appropriating the term place making and ‘queering it’ to explore what it reveals about LGBTQI+ visibility, heritage & belonging. The project critically engages with elements of place making, urban planning, feminist and queer studies, whilst incorporating ethical reflections on the politics of knowledge production.

In considering place making from an activist lens, the project explores the temporary, mobile and ephemeral tactics of queer urban activists. Through cognitive map making, personal perceptions on place making through memory are revealed. The research explores if queer practices of place making could provide a nuanced understanding of how spaces are experienced by queer lives. In focusing on the personal, embodied experiences of these activists, the project will contribute to further discussion on the public and academic discourses of place making.


Claire Tunnacliffe is a part-time MPhil/PhD student at The Bartlett School of Architecture. Her research is a study of queer activism and interventions in the built environment as practices of place making. This research brings together her interests in queer theory, activism, graffiti and street art, as well as urban planning. Her work re-appropriates place making as a tool for grassroots, queer activism, focusing on notions of community, place and identity. Since studying at The Bartlett, she has also co-facilitated workshops for the post-doctoral community around managing mental health, as well as a queer Bartlett network. Alongside her doctoral work, she works part-time as a grant making officer at GiveOut an LGBTQI+ Human Rights Charity raising funds to support LGBTQI+ activists. 



Image: Courtesy of Claire Tunnacliffe.