Dr Ben Campkin


Ben Campkin (BAHons MSc PhD) is Director of the UCL Urban Laboratory and Lecturer in Architectural History and Theory at the Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL. He teaches on the BSc Architecture, MA Architectural History, PhD Architecture by Design and PhD Architecture History and Theory programmes, and is co-convenor of the inter-faculty MSc Urban Studies.

Ben is co-editor of Dirt: New Geographies of Cleanliness and Contamination (IB Tauris, 2007), an anthology exploring how knowledge about hygiene, and beliefs about dirt, have influenced the production of domestic, urban and rural environments. Other recent publications include 'Ornament from grime: the architectural "aesthetic of recycling" and the Gritty Brits', The Journal of Architecture 12(4) (2007); 'Bugs, bats, and animal estates', in Architectural Design: Territory, 2010, guest edited by David Gissen; and 'Down and Out in London? Photography and the Politics of Representing "Life in the Elephant"' in Mark Swenarton et al, (eds.), The Politics of Making (Routledge, 2007). 

Ben has been researching urban decline and renewal since 2001. He is currently writing a cultural history of urban change in London. He is also interested in relationships between insects and cities, and is researching interactions between housing conditions, bed bug infestations and reformers' rhetoric in 1930s London and New York. With Mariana Mogilevich and Rebecca Ross he has recently launched 'Picturing Place', an international research project investigating the agency of images in urban change. 

Ben has given talks and conference papers at a wide range of UK and international institutions. Recent examples include Penn State University, USA; Harvard Graduate School of Design, USA; the Association of Geographers Annual Meeting, Las Vegas, USA; the Society of Architectural Historians, Pittsburgh, USA; and the University of Cape Town, Republic of South Africa, School of Architecture. He has also made appearances in media outlets such as Resonance FM (2009) and BBC Newsnight (2011).

Ben's research students - many of whom are sponsored by government and other scholarships - conduct research into a wide range of cities internationally, focusing on fields such as queer space and domesticity, the visual representation of the city, the history of London, the urban public realm, the history and theorization of architectural heritage, place identity, new media and public participation in urban change, urban voids and wastelands.

You can find out more about Ben's research here. Follow Ben on twitter @BenCampkin


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UCL Urban Laboratory
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Last updated: 21st April 2020