The Bartlett Development Planning Unit


MSc BUDD collaborative project successfully awarded Centre for Critical Heritage Studies Small Grant

29 March 2022

The project, 'Counter mapping diaspora and queer communities’ living heritage in Sheffield', is framed under the MSc Building and Urban Design in Development Practice Engagement Project and has been awarded £2700 from the Centre for Critical Heritage Studies Small Grant Scheme

Counter mapping diaspora

The Centre for Critical Heritage Studies Small Grant Scheme funds projects that lead to or support collaborative research between UCL and external partners or within different departments, and that aim to achieve research impact as well as prepare the ground for new, extended research projects.

The project 'Counter mapping diaspora and queer communities’ living heritage in Sheffield' is being led by DPU's Dr Catalina Ortiz, Natalia Villamizar Duarte, Dr Giorgio Talocci and Laia Garcia Fernandez with Prof Kalliopi Fouseki (UCL Institute for Sustainable Heritage), Akil Scafe-Smith & Seth Scafe-Smith (Resolve Collective), Rob J Cotterell (SADACCA) and Katie Mathews (Gut Level).

Official heritage sites, narratives and archives often reproduce and reinforce heteropatriarchal and racist assumptions. As we reckon with racial justice and gendered oppressions, this project will use a counter mapping approach to reveal the living heritage of diaspora and queer communities in Sheffield. We use counter mapping to expose broader relations of power and collaboration within, and between, communities as well as with other urban actors. We seek to challenge logics of ordering and fixed geographies by documenting experiences, practices, and relations that are at the centre of the production of space.  

The project will collaborate with Resolve Collective, an interdisciplinary design collective that combines architecture, engineering, technology, and art to address social challenges; and two community organisations in Sheffield: SADACCA and Gut Level. With this broad alliance we aim to learn from diasporic and queer communities' legacies and stories to question traditional practices of urban design which often lacks understanding of the spatial heritage of diverse communities. Furthermore, we intent to challenge narratives about stigma by focusing on the living heritage of these communities, particularly around the continuities of systems of care, community connections, use and livelihoods, and memory.

To display the cultural richness and contributions of diaspora and queer communities to the city, we will produce a digital atlas of living heritage and a mobile analogue artifact to display the counter mapping proposals. We will also document the project’s methodological strategy to contribute to examining the traditional roles of experts in identifying and defining heritage and the use of creative and participatory processes to trace living heritage practices.