UCL Urban Laboratory


How to use, build, and subvert an archive

21 June 2023, 12:00 pm–2:00 pm

Troops Out Movement

Join us for an afternoon of discussion around the practicaities and possibilities of building and working with archives. We're delighted to host the archivist and researcher Maev McDaid as she shares rare materials from the Troops Out movement collection currently housed at the MayDay Rooms. 

This event is free.

Event Information

Open to







Sophie Mepham

This year marks 50 years from when the Troops Out Movement was first formed in West London to bring about the end of British Rule in the North of Ireland. Through the personal collection of campaigner Aly Renwick, and the digitising efforts of Maev McDaid and the MayDay rooms, we are able to appreciate a testimony to decades of grassroots resistance and solidarity amongst British and Irish activists with the aims of "ensuring British Troops Out of Ireland and Self-determination of the Irish People as a Whole". 

Together we will learn about the significance of this collection and how the transition from ephemeral material to digital archive creates powerful opportunities for engagement and use. 

Following a description of these materials on display and discussion on the archiving process, we will delve deeper into the ways archive material can be subverted, and the possibilities for new interventions and interpretations such methods open up.

Henrietta Williams will build on this discussion by walking us through the exhibition 'Treading Ground' (created in collaboration with Merijn Royaards) which weaves archival material gathered from the Imperial War Museum's 'Northern Ireland Collection' against contemporaneous video footage and spatial sound methodology, allowing us a sensory experience of being both complicit in and subject to aerial surveillance. 


UCL Urban Room

Located in Stratford at the UCL East Campus, the Urban Room is an experimental exhibition space for students, researchers, artists, and community members. Based on the idea of an ‘urban room’ as a forum for community-based debate and dialogue, the UCL Urban room brings together academic research and lived experiences of city residents to inspire meaningful education for our students and visitors. Users of the urban room are invited to join a dynamic network of practice focused on issues of global urbanism, heritage, arts, and social history. The space is equipped with oral history recording and archiving capabilities through its initiative of a Memory Workshop. The UCL Urban Room is supported by The Bartlett Faculty of the Built Environment and the School for Creative and Cultural Industries at the University College London.

About the Speakers

Henrietta Williams

Artist and urban researcher at Bartlett School of Architecture, 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 a Lecturer (teaching) at the Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL, and tutors across a number of programs with a particular focus on critical film making methodologies.

Henri is currently completing an LAHP funded PhD by design, also at the Bartlett, that critiques drone surveillance technologies and the history of the aerial viewpoint. She is currently completing her PhD through an extra year of funded scholarship at UCL’s Institute of Security and Crime Science. The output of this research will comprise of a written thesis alongside video installation works, film screenings and performances.

Her projects have been widely screened, 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. She has featured on multiple television programs about security and surveillance in London. Through her commercial practice Henrietta has made films for a number of high profile architectural institutions in the UK and Europe.She lives in South London with her 2 young children Jack and Winter.

More about Henrietta Williams

Maev McDaid

at University of Liverpool

Maev is currently completeing her PhD on the Irish Diaspora with Sheffield University, whilst appointed as an Outreach Officer for the Institute of Irish Studies at the University of Liverpool. She also works regularly in London as a writer, public speaker and activist.