UCL Urban Laboratory


UCL appoints Dr Clare Melhuish as new Director of Urban Laboratory

27 April 2018

We are delighted to announce the appointment of Dr Clare Melhuish as the new Director of UCL Urban Laboratory, effective from May 2018

Clare Melhuish

As Director, Dr Melhuish will build on the work of her predecessor Dr Ben Campkin, who has established the Urban Laboratory as an internationally leading centre in the field of critical, creative, transdisciplinary, and outward-facing urban research and education.

Speaking of her appointment, Dr Melhuish said: "I am delighted to be taking on the leadership at a very exciting time for the Urban Laboratory. I look forward to extending our influence and impact as a platform for innovative urban research methods, generating new empirical and theoretical knowledge about processes of urban transformation and their impact on communities, and forging strong and productive partnerships with external organisations nationally and internationally.

She added: "Our work across the arts, humanities and sciences has made a major contribution to modelling new modes of transdisciplinary research and teaching, engaging with communities, professionals, and businesses for the future." 

Professor Alan Penn, Dean of the Bartlett Faculty of the Built Environment, welcomed the appointment, "I look forward to working with Clare to embed the Urban Lab firmly in UCL East, the university's new campus in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, which is based around the ideas of cross faculty and transdisciplinary working and community engagement that Matthew Gandy and Ben Campkin have developed so effectively."

Dr Melhuish has a multidisciplinary background in architectural history and criticism, anthropology and human geography and has been a Co-Director and Senior Research Associate at UCL Urban Laboratory for four years. Her work uses anthropological research methods and theoretical perspectives to understand architectural and urban development processes, and their impacts on social life, in postcolonial cities shaped by hybrid cultural identities and heritage. Since joining the Urban Laboratory she has played a significant role in developing its international profile through her comparative research on university-led regeneration, linked to UCL East, the university's new campus development. She was instrumental in establishing the urban heritage research cluster - Curating the City - in the UCL and University of Gothenburg Centre for Critical Heritage Studies - initiatives that have helped cement cross-faculty links. Prior to joining UCL, Dr Melhuish worked on research projects in the Geography departments of The Open University, Queen Mary University of London, and King's College London, and published widely as an architecture critic, author and curator.

Clare Melhuish succeeds Ben Campkin, who served as Director from 2011, and Co-Director from 2008-11. He will continue collaborations with the Urban Laboratory in his ongoing roles as one of the Academic Leads for UCL East, Director of the Bartlett School of Architecture's Architectural and Urban History and Theory doctoral programme, and Co-Editor of Urban Pamphleteer.

UCL Urban Laboratory was founded in 2005 by Professor Matthew Gandy, and is supported by The Bartlett, UCL's Faculty of the Built Environment, UCL Engineering, UCL Faculty of Social and Historical Sciences and the Faculty of Arts and Humanities. It is supported through an active Co-Directors group and Steering Committee, drawn from Departments across UCL, alongside visiting researchers, artists in residence and an international advisory panel. Current research focus areas include: housing and dishousing; ecology and metabolism; change and crisis; imagination and design; and data and place.