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UCL Cities Methodologies 2010

Exhibition and events programme. 5-7th May 2010.



Slade Research Centre, UCL, Woburn Square, London WC1H 0AB 

Map: http://crf.casa.ucl.ac.uk/exploreMap.aspx


Opening hours

5th May, 6.30pm, exhibition launch. 

Exhibition and events continue: 6th May, 10am-8pm.

7th May, 10am to 6pm.


Cities Methodologies 2010 presents recent innovations in urban methods from current researchers at UCL. Through the juxtaposition of installations, films, maps, models, objects, performances, photographs, poems, talks, texts, walks, websites and workshops, visitors will encounter a diverse array of cities and urban conditions – from literature in London, to flyovers in Mumbai, from movement and spatial organisation in Jeddah, to fear in New York City, and housing in Lisbon seen through cinema. The exhibition and events programme promise a unique experience for urban practitioners, researchers, and others interested in contemporary cities. They will provide insights into emerging and experimental methods in the urban field, looking right across the full spectrum of disciplines in which the city is predominant, including distinctive perspectives and interdisciplinary collaborations from the built environment, the arts and humanities and the social and historical sciences.


For general enquiries please email Urban Laboratory Administrator and PhD Candidate, Füsun Türetken, fusun.turetken.09@ucl.ac.uk with ‘Cities Methodologies’ in the subject heading.


Participants include

Wesley Aelbrecht | Adriana Allen | Pushpa Arabindoo and Camillo Boana | Daniel Lobo Azeredo | Rosalina Babourkova & Zhang Le-Zin | Matthew Beaumont | James N. Blomstrand | Ben Campkin & Rebecca Ross | Darryl Chen | Rosario Del Vikki | Richard Dennis | Barbara Dovarch and Gynna Millan | Lee Eunkyung | Matthew Gandy | Sam Griffiths (BSGS Space Group) | Mohamad Hafeda | Andrew Harris | Jeremy Hutchison | Matthew Ingleby | Rebecca James | Thomas-Bernard Kenniff | Roland Francois Lack | Benjamin J. Leclair-Paquet | Stephen Lorimer | Leah Lovett | Kieran Mahon | Rastko Novakovic | Liz Rideal | David Roberts | Peter Sant | Simson & Volley | Sarah K. Stanley | Julia Tcharfas | Füsun Türetken | Sandra Wallman | Jung Woon | Salma Zavari.


Cities Methodologies 2010 events programme.


All events will take place in the UCL Slade Research Centre, Woburn Square unless stated otherwise.


Entrance is free and events are open to the public, but registration is necessary in certain cases where specified.



Wednesday 5th May 2010



6.30 Exhibition launch and drinks (Please register for this event by emailing frohar.faryabi.09@ucl.ac.uk).


7.30 Screening, Deptford | Tributes (Dir. Amanda Egbe and Rastko Novakovic, 2009, 55 mins) followed by Q&A with the directors. Deptford | Tributes was filmed on and along the rivers Ravensbourne, Quaggy and Pool. It is an exploration of the everyday spaces and rhythms of the river and a tribute to the industries, peoples and ways of life along the rivers of South East London and Kent.




Thursday 6th May


10.00 ‘Bishopsgate transformed: understanding spatio-temporal change’, postgraduate student-led discussion of exhibit.

Discussion of innovative methodologies employed by the postgraduate students of a module at the UCL Development Planning Unit, documenting and analysing the ongoing transformation of London’s Bishopsgate area. The tools used are inter-disciplinary, cutting across the realms of humanities and social sciences, and ranging from the ‘expert-eye’ analysis of the architect to the ‘ordinary’ documentation of everyday practices, with the latter proving particularly helpful in animating the rather static analyses of the former.


10.00-5.00 Leah Lovett (UCL Slade) and Sandy Grierson (Vanishing Point), ‘Performing the city’, one-day workshop followed by show and discussion.

This session will introduce participants to dramatic techniques that enable the exploration and rethinking of the city street as staging. Through physical exercises borrowed from practitioners including Boal and the Situationist International, and filtered through their respective arts practices, the group will work together to test and twist the fictions played out within the urban realm with a view to realizing performance as a political, urban strategy.


Please register for this event by emailing frohar.faryabi.09@ucl.ac.uk.


1.00-2.00 Ben Campkin (UCL Bartlett School of Architecture & Urban Laboratory) and Rebecca Ross (Central St Martins School of Art and Design), ‘Picturing Place’, presentation of research project and exhibit followed by discussion.

Picturing Place is an interdisciplinary project which critically explores the agency of images in urban change. At the centre is a belief in the efficacy of images as active forms in relation to urban conditions. The starting point is to consider how images of cities and images in cities influence change and perceptions of place. To begin, all kinds of image are being curated in a database, including, but not limited to, plans, architectural renderings, data visualizations, maps, films, public art, photographs, billboards, murals, illustrations, expositions and panoramas. The database is both archive and method, enabling the parallel placement of images across different visual cultures, and the layering of different interpretations, contexts and viewpoints. 


2.30-3.00 Prof Matthew Gandy (UCL Urban Laboratory), presentation of ‘Interstitial spaces’ exhibit and discussion of photographic method in urban research.

Matthew Gandy will be exhibiting photographs from research on urban landscapes and infrastructure, juxtaposing spaces and places from the global North and the global South to present a visual scenography that blurs existing boundaries and preconceptions. The photographs are drawn from several locations including Lagos, Mumbai and Los Angeles and highlight features such as empty or interstitial spaces, infrastructure networks, derelict zones or various forms of informal spaces. What role do such landscapes play in the urban research imagination? Do we need new aesthetic categories and concepts to make sense of these marginal or in between spaces? How does photography operate to record specific locales and as a stimulus for critical thinking?


5.00 Will Self, author of the forthcoming Walking to Hollywood (Bloomsbury Publishing), ‘Are Beliefs Ideas Going Bald?’, lecture organised by UCL English Department City Centre, Gustav Tuck Lecture Theatre. Enquiries to Matthew Beaumont m.beaumont@ucl.ac.uk


6.30 Screening, Deptford | Tributes (Dir. Amanda Egbe and Rastko Novakovic, 2010, 55 mins) followed by Q&A with the directors. See description above.




Friday 7th May


10.00 ‘Bishopsgate transformed: understanding spatio-temporal change’, postgraduate student-led discussion of exhibit. See description above.


11.00-12.00 Barbara Dovarch and Gynna Millan Franco (Development Planning Unit), ‘With-in walls: resistance against forced evictions and the case of Bonpastor neighborhood, Barcelona’, intervention and discussion of recent International Alliance of Inhabitants competition.


1.00-2.00 Professor Sandra Wallman (UCL Anthropology), ‘The shock of urban change: an anthropological perspective’, lecture.


The combination of academic, policy and practical perspectives is rare in current literature on urban change. With a view to a user-friendly typology, this analysis builds on a simple ideal-type model of open/closed contrast. It demonstrates that as local systems, some areas are more open and more heterogeneous than others. These are routinely more resilient in the face of change or incursion – effectively more ‘sustainable’. The indicators of open/closed are specified providing a step guide to field research.


2.00-3.00 Professor John Aiken, ‘What makes successful public space?’, lecture.

Does art play an important role in generating and sustaining successful public space or is it at best transient and peripheral? Where and how can art locate itself successfully within the complex interweaving and shifting methodologies of the city?


3.00-3.30 David Roberts (UCL Urban Laboratory), ‘Reconnections’, presentation and reading from exhibit.


‘Reconnections’ is a site-writing project based on an abandoned Jewish cemetery in Mile End. The tombstones lie flat, equal in death, starkly reducing life to essential facts. They represent a migrant culture defined by language, their epitaphs a Rosetta stone of experiences. Now they lie shattered, histories obscured, rendered incomplete, in a lost language. 

Each photographed epitaph has an accompanying poem constructed around archival text and experiential accounts. These were delivered to each room in a student hall overlooking the site. This intervention reconnected this forgotten history with its place, encouraging a reconsideration of relationships with the city.


6.30-8.00 Dr Matthew Beaumont, Dr Greg Dart and Prof Rachel Bowlby (UCL English Department Cities Centre) and others ‘Being in the city’, panel discussion, JZ Young Lecture Theatre. Please register for this event by emailing frohar.faryabi.09@ucl.ac.uk.


This roundtable discussion is designed to explore particular modes of ‘being in the city’. It will address both specific modes of relating to the modern metropolis (commuting, convalescing and daydreaming respectively) and the quality of everyday life in contemporary cities (the condition of metropolitan being, so to speak, at the beginning of the twenty-first century). What does being in the contemporary metropolitan city entail? What does being entail in the contemporary metropolitan city?



Organising and curatorial committee

Wesley Aelbrecht, UCL Bartlett School of Architecture.
Prof John Aiken, UCL Slade School of Fine Art.
Dr Adriana Allen, UCL Development Planning Unit.
Dr Pushpa Arabindoo, UCL Urban Laboratory/Development Planning Unit.
Dr Ben Campkin, UCL Urban Laboratory/Bartlett School of Architecture.
Dr Ger Duijzings, UCL School of Slavonic & East European Studies.
Prof Matthew Gandy, UCL Urban Laboratory.
Dr Andrew Harris, UCL Urban Laboratory/Geography.
Dr Claudio de Magalhaes, UCL Bartlett School of Planning.
Rastko Novakovic, Artist-in-residence, UCL School of Slavonic & East European Studies.
Prof Jane Rendell, UCL Bartlett School of Architecture.
Füsun Türetken, UCL Urban Laboratory.



Supported by


UCL Faculty of Arts and Humanities.

UCL Bartlett Faculty of the Built Environment.

UCL Department of English City Centre.

UCL Grand Challenge of Sustainable Cities.

UCL School of Slavonic & East European Studies.
UCL Slade School of Fine Art.

UCL Urban Laboratory.





Cities Methodologies visitors may also be interested in attending the following colloquium on Saturday 8th May 2010


3.00-6.30, ‘Critical minds, critical spaces’, colloquium, UCL Cruciform Building Lecture Theatre 2.


Very often, at the heart of cultural production, there is a practice shaped by a rational or existential response to material, technical and cultural constraints. This practice in turn generates products conceived also as tools that enable the rest of the community to critically understand and question messages, objects and environments rather than take them for granted. This one-day symposium is an occasion to reflect on the field of intellectual inquiry from the material and visual perspectives, looking at the work of architects and designers and its social and cultural relevance in stimulating awareness and criticism of the contemporary. The event will feature some presentations on current research and on recent projects and a final panel discussion introduced by journalist Justin McGuirk.


Speakers include Mark Cousins (Architectural Association), Annelys de Vet (Sandberg Institute, Amsterdam), James Auger (Royal College of Art), Teresa Stoppani (Greenwich), Eyal Weizman (Goldsmiths), Jonathan Hill (Bartlett School of Architecture).


Followed by a wine reception in the Wilkins Building Haldane Room. Free and open to all. Booking recommended (email: g.oropallo@ucl.ac.uk, s.caroni@ucl.ac.uk, wesleyaelbrecht@gmail.com). 


This event is supported by UCL Grand Challenge of Intercultural Interaction.

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