UCL Urban Laboratory


Space in Relation - Édouard Glissant in architecture and urban studies

05 June 2019, 6:00 pm–8:00 pm

Eduoard Glissant, Photo by Daniel Mordzinski, 1993 Carrefour des littératures européennes, Strasbourg, Parlement international des écrivains

Panel discussion aiming to apply the influential writings and key concepts of French-Martiniquan poet/philosopher Édouard Glissant to urban studies, architecture and spatial practice discourse.

This event is free.

Event Information

Open to







Jordan Rowe – UCL Urban Laboratory


G22 LT
Pearson Building (North East Entrance)
Gower Street

Please note, room change: this event will now be in the G22 LT, Pearson Building (North East Entrance) - just a one minute walk from the previous listed venue

Recognised as an increasingly major figure in postcolonial studies, Édouard Glissant’s commentary has in the past not been widely critiqued outside of literary and francophone disciplines.

Building on recent exhibitions and texts that have sought to take Glissant’s work into other areas, this event will explore the application of his writing - including the books Poetics of Relation and Caribbean Discourse - and key concepts - such as détour and retour, errance, opacity and trace - to discourse and thinking around urban studies, architecture and spatial practice.

Preceding the panel, an afternoon workshop (14.00 – 17.00) will run for researchers and others with an interest in a deeper examination of Glissant’s work. To RSVP for the workshop element, please email katy@katybeinart.co.uk


Katy Beinart

Katy Beinart is an artist, researcher and lecturer in architecture whose work often engages with the public realm and includes installation, public art, performance and socially engaged projects. Her research and practice explore links between material culture, memory, identity and place. She recently completed a practice-based PhD in Architectural Design at the Bartlett, UCL which moves between art, architecture, and regeneration – and salt. Recent projects and commissions include Saltways (2017-18) for the Canal & River Trust, Fabric of Faith (2016-18) for UCL, and Brixton Museum (2015-16). She is a Senior Lecturer in Architecture at the University of Brighton.

Heidi Bojsen

Heidi Bojsen is an associate professor at Roskilde University, Denmark and teaches in the programme of Cultural Encounters Studies. She has been visiting professor at the Université Paul Valéry in Montpellier, France (2013) and Evergreen State College, WA, USA (2017-2018). Her publications on Édouard Glissant address mostly his philosophical work. In her book Geographies esthétiques de l’imaginaire postcolonial (L’Harmattan 2011), she brings some of Glissant’s conceptualisations of place, relationality, and resistance into conversation with contributions from postcolonial theorists such as Edward Said and Homi Bhabha. She has also published articles on how we may draw on Glissant’s work in the field of ecocriticism, in research on multilingual spaces of learning and in taking a critical stance concerning some of our methodological and epistemological assumptions in social sciences. She is currently deploying some of her findings from these publications in her work with Burkinabè students and documentalists on social movements, migration, and security in Burkina Faso and in her critical study of how (post)colonial histories and geographies are taught in Denmark and in the USVI.

Sam Coombes

Sam Coombes is Senior Lecturer in French at the University of Edinburgh and currently visiting professor at Paris 3 Sorbonne-Nouvelle University. Subsequent to doctoral studies and a first monograph in the field of Sartre studies, francophone and anglophone-francophone comparative postcolonial studies became a key area of specialism. He has wider interests in political thought, cultural studies and the history of ideas. He is the author of The Early Sartre and Marxism (Lang, 2008) and Edouard Glissant A Poetics of Resistance (Bloomsbury, 2018).

Charles Forsdick

Charles Forsdick is James Barrow Professor of French at the University of Liverpool. He is currently Arts and Humanities Research Council theme leadership fellow for ‘Translating Cultures’, a programme of over 120 projects in the UK focused on translation, interpreting and multilingualism. He has published on a range of subjects, including travel writing, colonial history, postcolonial and world literature, and the memorialization of slavery. Recent books include The Black Jacobins Reader (Duke University Press, 2016) and Toussaint Louverture: Black Jacobin in an Age of Revolution (Pluto, 2017). Charles has had an interest in the work of Edouard Glissant throughout his career and is currently executive editor of the Glissant Translation Project, a collaboration between Louisiana State University and Liverpool University Press.

Sylvie Glissant

Director of the Institut du Tout-monde since its foundation by Édouard Glissant in 2006, Sylvie Glissant has shared his life since the 1980s in Paris, Baton Rouge, Martinique and New York. With him, she organised the Prix Carbet de la Caraïbe (created in 1990), numerous international colloquia, and sustained the Édouard Glissant Prize, created in 2002 by the University Paris VIII, and the Maison de l'Amérique Latine. This grant acknowledges the scholarly contribution of one student and one researcher every year. She continues the Edouard Glissant's engagement by organizing cultural and scientifics events at the Institut du Tout-monde (Art collection of Museum du Tout-Monde, Program Mémoires des Esclavages and MOOC, Poétiques des Résistances, seminars, etc.) and by developing activities with several institutions (Maison de l'Amérique Latine, FMSH, Unesco). She is co-author with Glissant of La Terre magnétique. Les Errances de Rapa Nui, l'île de Pâques (Seuil, 2007). A clinical psychoanalyst in Paris and painter, she exhibits her work under the name of Sylvie Séma.

AbdouMaliq Simone

AbdouMaliq Simone is an urbanist with particular interest in emerging forms of collective life across cities of the so-called Global South. He is presently a Senior Professorial Fellow at the Urban Institute, University of Sheffield and Visiting Professor of Urban Studies at the African Centre for Cities, University of Cape Town. Key publications include, In Whose Image: Political Islam and Urban Practices in Sudan (University of Chicago Press, 1994), For the City Yet to Come: Urban Change in Four African Cities (Duke University Press, 2004), and City Life from Jakarta to Dakar: Movements at the Crossroads (Routledge, 2009).

The event is organised in collaboration with Katy Beinart (University of Brighton) and Institut du Tout-Monde.


The Main Quad Pop Up is a temporary events space at UCL and unfortunately does not have step-free access. To find out more please visit the AccessAble guide. Step-free access is available for the earlier workshop. For any additional support or information, please email or call 020 3108 9402.

Image: (c) Édouard Glissant, 1993 Carrefour des littératures européennes, Strasbourg, Parlement international des écrivains, credit: Daniel Mordzinski.