UCL Urban Laboratory


Echoes Of The City

08 October 2019, 7:00 pm–8:30 pm

Echoes Of The City

In this current moment of global austerity, what can we learn from past stories of the cities, communities and families that have rebuilt themselves following economic instability?

Event Information

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Free Word
+44 (0)20 7324 2570


Free Word
60 Farringdon Road

In collaboration with Free Word, join us for an intimate conversation with Lars Saabye Christensenone of Scandinavia’s most celebrated storytellers, Akil Scafe-Smith of RESOLVE, an interdisciplinary design collective, and prolific music journalist Emma Warren. From revolutionary movements to the small, almost imperceptible acts of kindness and compassion that can change lives, they will be exploring how communities can rebuild themselves in the face of great adversity.

Lars Saabye Christensen’s new novel Echoes of the City, translated by Don Bartlett, is set in a post-war Oslo slowly emerging from a period of crippling austerity following German occupation. His international best-selling The Half Brother has been published in nearly 30 countries, and his breakthrough 1984 novel Beatles was named the best Norwegian novel of the past 25 years. Akil Scafe-Smith is one-third of RESOLVE, an interdisciplinary design collective addressing social challenges with architecture, art, technology and engineering to deliver projects across Europe. He is a researcher at LSE, and was part of Public Practice, placing a new generation of planners in local government to design places for the public good. Emma Warren is a writer and music journalist whose documentaries have been presented on BBC Radio. She has worked for six years on Brixton’s youth-run Live Magazine and published Make Some Space: Tuning into Total Refreshment Centre this year. The event will be chaired by artist and urban researcher Henrietta Williams.

This event is supported by the Royal Norwegian Embassy.


There is step-free access to all areas of Free Word and a number of other facilities available to make the venue accessible. The box office, theatre and hall are all on the ground floor with step-free access from the street. There are two accessible toilets on the ground floor. Hearing loops are available at the box office and the theatre. If you need to bring someone for assistance, please get in touch with Free Word so they can provide a complimentary ticket. Please talk to Free Word if you have specific access requirements.


£5 for 30 and under

About the Speakers

Akil Scafe-Smith


Akil is one third of RESOLVE, an interdisciplinary design collective that aims to address multi-scalar social challenges by combining architecture, art, technology and engineering. RESOLVE have delivered numerous projects, workshops, and talks, in London and across Europe as well as working with a variety of initiatives and institutions to pilot projects that introduce young people from under-represented backgrounds to concepts in interdisciplinary design. Akil currently also works as a researcher for the London School of Economics under the LSE Cities team with Dr. Julia King, where they are working with young people from the Brent Blueprint Collective to co-design a section of the public realm in Wembley Park and a set of accompanying policy recommendations for designing public space for young people in Brent.

More about Akil Scafe-Smith

Lars Saabye Christensen


Lars Saabye Christensen has published a number of novels, poetry and short story collections, his breakthrough coming in 1984 with Beatles, one of Norway's bestselling books still. He received the Nordic Council Literature Prize for The Half Brother in 2001. He has also received the Riverton Prize, the Critics' Prize, the Brage Prize, the Norwegian Booksellers' Prize, the Dobloug Prize and the Norwegian Reader's Prize. His novels have now been published in 36 countries.

Emma Warren

Writer and Music Journalist

Emma Warren has been documenting contemporary culture for decades. Her writing has appeared in national and international platforms, and her documentaries have been presented on BBC Radio. She worked for six years on Brixton's youth-run Live Magazine and has a monthly radio show on Worldwide FM. In 2019, Emma published her first book Make Some Space: Tuning into Total Refreshment Centre on her new imprint, Sweet Machine, with an audio book following this autumn. She has also released a pamphlet, Steam Down: Or How Things Begin, on Rough Trade Books.

More about Emma Warren

Henrietta Williams

Researcher at UCL

Henrietta Williams is an artist and urban researcher. Her practice explores urbanist theories; particularly considering ideas around fortress urbanism, security, and surveillance. She is currently working towards an LAHP funded PhD by design at the Bartlett, UCL, that critiques drone surveillance technologies and the history of the aerial viewpoint. Henrietta was made a Teaching Fellow at the Bartlett in September 2017 and teaches on the MA Situated Practice, she is currently the Acting Co-Director on the programme. She also writes and co-ordinates a module called Mediated Environments where students make video work that critically engages with the urban landscape through the essay film form. Her projects have been widely exhibited and published in the UK and internationally, most notably at the V&A Museum in London and on the front page of the Guardian.

More about Henrietta Williams