UCL Urban Laboratory


Surplus in Neoliberal Urban Space

20 January 2017, 4:30 pm–6:30 pm

Hilary Powell, De(con)structing Demolition

Event Information

Open to



Room G12, 22 Gordon Street, London WC1H 0QB

This seminar focuses on the extended idea of surplus in urban space as the production of the neoliberal economy. The creation and demolition of surplus, including related spaces, have been an ongoing phenomena throughout the globe, and artists' engagement with them has now become more significant than ever.

So far, landscape architects have widely used the term 'surplus space' to indicate abandoned facilities or spaces of the industrial era that are no longer in use. Architectural designers have, thus, been involved with renovating such spaces to impose a new value on them. The notion of 'surplus' is not unrelated to the surplus space, but includes expanded sociopolitical and cultural ideas, ultimately raising a question on the relationship between art and the social-or art and the urban.

In this seminar, artists from different backgrounds will share the ways in which they have engaged with the urban issues of surplus and discuss the social, economic, political and spatial meanings of surplus while envisioning the potential of aesthetic practices.

Organised by Jeong Hye Kim and Dr Peg Rawes, sponsored by the Korea-England Research Fellowship and supported by the UCL Urban Laboratory.


4:30: Background and introduction

4:40: Introduction of artists and art projects

5:10: Discussion on 'surplus' in art and urban space

Panel members

Dr Hilary Powell is an artist with a PhD in Cultural Studies from Goldsmiths, University of London, has been Honorary Fellow at the London Consortium and more recently AHRC Fellow in the Creative and Performing Arts, Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL and Leverhulme artist/alchemist in residence with UCL Chemistry. She is currently recipient of the Stephen Cripp's Studio Award at High House Production Park supported by Acme Studios, the Henry Moore Foundation, the family of Stephen Cripps and Royal Opera House, Thurrock.

Dr David Roberts is part of collaborative art practice Fugitive Images and of architecture collective Involve, Architectural History and Theory tutor and Research Ethics Fellow at the Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL. His research, art and cultural activist practice engages community groups whose homes and livelihoods are under threat from urban policy. He co-wrote and co-produced the documentary/fiction film, Estate, a Reverie; co-curated the exhibition Real Estates around issues of spatial justice; and co-coordinated the successful campaign to list Balfron Tower at Grade II*. He has exhibited, lectured and published work on performance, poetry, public housing, site-specific practice.

Kieren Reed is the Head of Undergraduate Sculpture at the Slade School of Fine Art, UCL. He received his BA in Fine Art at Kingston University and MA at Chelsea Art College. Selected recent projects include Pavilion, Whitstable Biennale (2010), Liminal, Tate Britain (2012, 2013), The Beautifullest Place On Earth, Red House, National Trust (2014) and Social Sculpture, Artsway (2015). Reed took part in the symposium 'Inside/Outside: Materialising the Social' at the Tate Modern (2012), curated an exhibition 'Chapter', Austin Forum (2013) and was in charge of the Public Arts Commission, Focal Point Gallery, Southend (2016).

[external source element is broken]
error message: 'NoneType' object has no attribute 'to_html'

Image: Hilary Powell, 'Deconstructing Demolition' (2015)