RSA blog post on Modern Brighton and Hove Map

The RSA funded the series of walking tours of routes of the Modern Brighton and Hove Map that have rolled out this summer, and I blogged for them on the subject - it can be read here

I've been a Fellow of the RSA for some years and its been great to be part of the very active and inspiring Brighton and Hove chapter, and so grateful for its support of the map project. 

Musicity - Southwark, 7th-10th September

7th to 10th of September sees Musicity come to Southwark - four days of specially-commissioned music and sound art inspired by the buildings of and place that is the borough.

Musicians include: Throwing Shade, William Boyd, Hejira, Stick in the Wheel, Moses Boyd, Sean O'Hagan, Patten, and Sooski is doing a live set on the Saturday night; Buildings include: Borough Market, The Shard, Time and Talents; Finnish Church, Canada Water Bus Station, Peckham Library and Elephant and Castle Shopping Centre.

Sound artist, Sian Hutchings, is leading two sound walks around Peckham; The Building Exploratory is working with a group of elders on a sound/place project; and I'll be talking at one of the events and leading a sound map walk.

Musicity is the idea of Nick Luscombe, presenter of BBC Radio 3's Late Junction, and its been a joy to join the team and work on this!

All info and to secure your free tickets here

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Viva magazine column - Birds and Beasts

My Built Brighton column in Viva magazine this month focused on the many varied animals that can be found on the buildigs around Brighton and Hove.

It was a joy to write and also the chance to come full circle with my Brighton Look Up project, started some four years ago, as it was a chance to bring together all those dogs, cats, birds, insects, and a flamingo, that can be found 'living' amongst us in the city. 

Read the feature here - go to the back page and work back to page 97. 

2016 conferences


January 2016 sees me delivering a paper, Performative architecture: reclaiming a vital architectural practice (abstract below) at the All-Ireland Architecture Research Group annual conference; and then talk about my PhD research, in relation to community groups making change in their built environment, at the British Academy-funded Landscaping Change conference, organised by Dr Samantha Walton at Bath Spa University. I will also be returning to the American Association of Geographers annual conference in March/April, co-convening a session, Creative Placemaking and Beyond, with National College of Art and Design, Dublin’s Anita McKeown (abstract below, and more details on that will follow).

Landscaping Change conference takes place at the Arnolfini, Bristol, on 1st January.

AIARG conference takes place in Cork, 29th and 30th January.

AAG conference takes place in San Francisco, 9th March to 2nd April.


AIARG abstract:

Performative architecture: reclaiming a vital architectural practice

This paper will present performativity in architecture as an emplaced social arts practice, performed on the margins of formal urban space and architectural practice in liminal and meanwhile spaces, a critical spatial practice (Rendell 2006) in the urban public realm.

The paper will locate this thinking in contemporary practices of ‘social practice placemaking’ (SPPM) (Courage 2014) and will draw on global examples of SPPM, including that from the author’s PhD research project, ‘Making places: performative arts practices in the city’, signposting examples of masterplanning and architectural build that have successfully incorporated this approach, such as that of Croydon Council’s award-winning placemaking-led regeneration.

It will position this contemporary practice as one where architects and artists work together in a collaborative practice, and co-produced with the micropublic (Amin 2008) in positions of relative expertism. Inherent in this co-produced practice is a subverting of sector normative representation and power, of who can speak for whom, when and how, if at all and will thus argue for performative architecture as questioning and support of intersectional production and use of space. As a post-modern social arts practice, performative architecture will be positioned in the arts canon both with and contra too the avant-garde (Kester 2013) and new genre public art (Lacy 2008), relational aesthetics (Bourriaud 1998). It will argue that performative architecture is of a dialogic aesthetic (Kester 2004, 2013), productive of new cultures of architectural knowledge.

The paper will close with a provocation to the architecture sector on its need to adopt co-productive modes of design to maintain, and arguably reclaim, its cultural significance in the built environment, essential for the future of the sector in extending its practice, reaffirming its relevance and ensuring its vital role in the current and future urban realm.


AAG CfP (now closed) abstract:

Creative Placemaking and Beyond: Continuing and re-invigorating the arts-led conversation

This session will continue the interrogation of notions of creative placemaking started at the RGS 2015 annual conference, bringing this conversation to the US and to broadening its international and sectoral/practice discussion. 

The creative placemaking (Landesman 2009) term has entered the arts-driven placemaking sector narrative presented as a ‘new [U.S.] policy platform across all levels of government’ (Markusen and Gadwa 2010:26) with a particular ethos; a cross-sectoral approach to arts-led regeneration (Markusen and Gadwa 2010) and of including non-arts stakeholders within community revitalisation (Poticha, 2011).

With contemporary debates around creative placemaking and its relations now reaching a moment in maturity and diversity a critique and a deeper understanding of practice is necessary.

Persistent questions arise around issues of arts practice/process, power relations, individual and community agency and creative placemaking’s relation vis-à-vis the neoliberal. As such, this session encourages a re-consideration of the role of the arts and creativity within socially-engaged placemaking practices for their potential to encourage self-organisation and how citizens can take the initiative in effecting their lived spacetime (McCormack 2013). It seeks to broaden the constituents in the creative placemaking discourse through presenting an international conversation that focuses on socially practiced, co-produced and citizen-led placemakings, addressing issues of scale, interdisciplinarity and radical practices within creative place production and co-production.

Given the vital need also for theorists to be in dialogue with practitioners, this session is seeking abstracts from both constituencies, with papers spanning theory and practice and examples of where the two intersect in the academy or in the field. It thus aims to provide a critical assessment of creative placemaking and of community driven placemaking (Hou and Rios 2003) and social design across all settlement types and conceptual, empirical, methodological papers are invited.