UCL Urban Laboratory


Memory Work Exhibition | UCL Urban Room

05 July 2024–16 August 2024, 10:00 am–6:00 pm

Poster for Memory Work Exhibition

The new 'Memory Work' exhibition at UCL Urban Room explores key questions about the past and future of urban living through a Memory lens, and presents different creative approaches to engaging research.

This event is free.

Event Information

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UCL Urban Room


Urban Room
1 Pool Street
E20 2AF
United Kingdom

Connecting researchers and practitioners from across UCL, the new 'Memory Work' exhibition explores the theme of memory in urban research, and how creative outputs might provide more engaging entry-points for understanding the complex evidence that arises from urban investigations. 

This showcase connects research by members of the UCL Urban Laboratory Steering Committee, and includes the work of the Lab's previous Director, Clare Melhuish and current Director, Catalina Ortiz. It positions creative outputs as entry-points for understanding complex evidence in urban investigations. The presentations span across disciplines and geographies. The range of materials reveal a multidisciplinary approach to memory in urban research, Urban Lab’s biennial research theme for 2022–24. Contributions have come from scholars in the Urban Lab network across UCL, including the fields of urbanism, architecture, geography, political science, planning, critical heritage studies, history and anthropology.

Clare Melhuish presents ‘Memory in Suspense’, an installation exploring the entanglement between memory, heritage, colonialism and emancipation in Kingston, Jamaica. Through a juxtaposition of mid-20th century archive material and contemporary fieldwork images, it evokes a continuing negotiation of authority and values in difficult memory work and politics in the city’s current development debates.

Catalina Ortiz presents ‘Archivo Vivo’, collaborative research from Medellin, Colombia, which uses weaving to explore communities' multi-temporal struggles about their connections to the territory. It reveals an urgent need to mobilise women's role in creating and caring in and for the neighbourhood as well as contributing to collective emancipatory transformation, by spatialising and embodying place-based memories and emotions.

The exhibition also features work by: Andrew Harris, Anna Maguire, Ava Fatah gen Schieck, Haidy Geismar, James O'Leary, Kalliopi Fouseki, Nishat Awan, Njogu Morgan and Pablo Sendra. 

Plan your visit

The exhibition runs from 5 July – 16 August 2024.

Visit Monday – Saturday, 10:00 – 18:00, no need to book.

Tickets are required for the opening event on 5 July at 18:00 – 20.30. Book your ticket for the free opening event

Exhibition Opening | Friday 5 July | 18:00- 20:30 

Exhibition opening and talk by the curators, Prof Clare Melhuish and Dr Kara Blackmore. Refreshments provided.

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Exhibition Events 

  • 18th July, 18:30-20:30: Stadklang - Unconscious Music: Listening to the Background Sound of Motown with Rachael Finney and Louis Moreno Stadtklang is UCL Urban Laboratory's music night and weekend evening get-together exploring urban sound, hosted in collaboration with Department of Visual Cultures at Goldsmiths, University of London.
  • 2nd August, 15:00-17:00: 'Living archives': a trans-local conversation Join us for an engaging disccusion with the collaborators of three projects questioning and engaging with Living archives from Colombia, Mexico and UK. In the context of the Memory Work exhibition, we will be discussing issues of the and framing/conceptualisation of the projects, the methodological strategies for learning together and the mechanisms of activation and creation enabled in the engagement processes with community and academic partners. Initiated by exhibitor Catalina Ortiz, this is a bilingual, hybrid event, taking place across different time zones (BST: 10am-12, CMDX: 9am). A zoom link will be provided for those attending online closer to the date.

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Clare Melhuish

Prof Clare Melhuish is Professorial Research Fellow in Anthropology of Built Environments, and was Director of UCL Urban Laboratory from 2018 – 2024, leading its transition to departmental status in the Faculty of the Built Environment in 2021. She researches processes and socio-cultural impacts of large-scale urban-regional development, with a particular focus on the role of heritage as an instrument of development in the context of the climate crisis.

Clare has led on a number of cross-disciplinary urban heritage research programmes and activities within Urban Lab, focusing on postcolonial and decolonial urban contexts, and as co-lead of the Curating the City research cluster in the UCL Centre for Critical Heritage. She is co-editor of Co-Curating the City: universities and urban heritage past and future (eds Melhuish, Benesch, Martins-Holmberg and Sully, UCL Press 2022), and author of ‘Heritage in Urban Development: Materialising Claims to Urban Space in Doha and Kingston’, in Critical Approaches to Heritage for Development (eds Cross and Giblin, Routledge 2023).

Kara Blackmore

Dr Kara Blackmore is a curator and researcher who works at the intersections of arts, heritage, and social repair. Her practice is informed by long-term collaborations in areas affected by conflict and migration. Kara is the curator of the UCL Urban Room where she supports experiential teaching, leads exhibition-based research, and fosters community dialogue.

She is also the Principal Investigator of the AHRC-funded Art Allies project at the Firoz Lalji Institute for Africa. For this research, Kara works with colleagues in South Sudan and Colombia to investigate how artists and allied activists stay safe in regions impacted by prolonged violence.

About the UCL Urban Room

Located at One Pool Street, the public-facing UCL Urban Room hosts events, exhibitions, workshops and engagement with local stakeholders, professional audiences, and the wider public. Exploring the impact of industry, globalisation, regeneration and gentrification on the six Olympic Park boroughs and their people, UCL Urban Room is a partnership between UCL Urban Laboratory, The Bartlett, School for the Creative and Cultural Industries and UCL Library Services: Special Collections.

For more information email urbanroom@ucl.ac.uk.