The Bartlett Development Planning Unit


Towards Anticolonial Design: A Methodological Approach To Activist Practice

07 December 2021, 5:00 pm–6:30 pm


Urban Design Conversations

Event Information

Open to



Catalina Ortiz


Virtual event

YouTube Widget Placeholderhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YWXG8_ad9-U


Design, in its many scales, may not intend to promote racism but their naïve idealism and compliance with normative practices manufactures and maintains structural characteristics of racism and coloniality. While discursively innovative, mainstream urban design theory, practice and pedagogy rarely question their role in reinforcing normative relations that shape racialized societies. That is the set of normative and administrative practices of exclusion and oppression that create inequalities the discipline pledges to right.  What are possibilities of emancipatory practices? For new narratives to emerge we need to unmake what we know, to look for radical approaches and practices that allows us to understand our responsibility, to create a counter storytelling and nurturing radical hope.

Our guests will discuss:

Loudreading guides to the Post-Colonial Method

As the necropolitical regimes of cruelty, improvisation, capture, and predation that brutalized the plantations in the Caribbean spill on the rest of the world like organic matter, a new imaginary from within the tropics offers a blueprint for worldmaking. Learning from the alternative practice of education of the lectores in the tobacco factories in Puerto Rico, Loudreading guides to the Post-Colonial Method shares the possibility of emancipatory collective practices and ways of worldmaking through networks of solidarity, narrative subversion, and the reconstruction of histories. 
by Cruz García and Nathalie Frankowski
WAI Architecture Think Tank

The Funambulist: A toolbox for reflecting on the struggles, solidarity, and the built environment

The Funambulist is a 12-year-old online platform, an 8-year-old podcast, and a 6-year-old print and online magazine published every two months. Its subtitle, "Politics of Space and Bodies" provides an editorial line through which the various political struggles of the world (in particular the anticolonial ones) are approached through a spatial lens. Our hope is to provide a useful platform where activist/academic/practitioner voices can meet and build solidarities across geographical scales. This presentation will however focus as much on the politics of production of the magazine as on the politics of contents themselves.
by Léopold Lambert
Editor-in-Chief, The Funambulist 

WAI Architecture Think Tank is a planetary studio practicing by questioning the political, historical, and material legacy and imperatives of architecture and urbanism. Founded in Brussels during the financial crisis of 2008 by Puerto Rican architect, artist, curator, educator, author and theorist Cruz Garcia and French architect, artist, curator, educator, author and poet Nathalie Frankowski, WAI is one of their several platforms of public engagement. Garcia and Frankowski are Associate Professors at Iowa State University. Authors of Narrative Architecture: A Kynical Manifesto, Pure Hardcore Icons: A Manifesto on Pure Form in Architecture, A Manual of Anti-Racist Architecture Education, and the upcoming book From Black Square to Black Reason: A Post-Colonial Architecture Manifesto.

Léopold Lambert is the editor-in-chief of The Funambulist. He is a trained architect, as well as the author of three books that examine the inherent violence of architecture on bodies, and its political instrumentalization at various scales and in various geographical contexts. He is the author of Weaponized Architecture:The Impossibility of Innocence (dpr-barcelona, 2012), Topie Impitoyable: The Corporeal Politics of the Cloth, the Wall, and the Street (punctum, 2016) and La politique du Bulldozer: La ruine palestinienne comme projet israélien (B2, 2016). His new book is called States of Emergency: A Spatial History of the French Colonial Continuum (Premiers Matins de Novembre, 2021).

This session will have virtual format and will take place on Friday December 7 2021 from 5.00 to 6.30 pm (UK Time). It is proposed as an online lecture opened by keynote and followed by a round table where a moderator will continue a dialogue with guest speakers. 

Chair:  Dr Catalina Ortiz 

About the Urban Design Otherwise series

Urban Design Otherwise offers a space to think together how to enact and foster emancipatory  spatial practices. As designers and urban professionals we are faced with the mission of ‘creating and imagining new worlds’. This mission has to confront the historical juncture of COVID19, the climate crises, the upsurge of national regimes are adding pressure to long standing problems such as poverty, structural inequalities and violent colonial legacies. However, urban design has been complicit in the spatial reproduction of privilege.  Recalibrating urban design thinking and practice requires on one side, a critical examination of theories, methodologies, and pedagogies. On the other hand, it requires talking, debating, acknowledging our role in today’s outcomes and expanding and reimagining our discipline “beyond the dominant Western solutionist and anthropocentric model of thought” (Mareis, C. & Paim, P., 2021:12).  
Following the 2020 BUDD initiative “Urban Design Conversations” that focus on collective reflections with  alumni  about the agency of urban design to cope with the changing pace and emerging challenges during the initial strike of the pandemic. 

Find out more about the series here.