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Working through the complex contexts of India and Palestine, both Anupama and Dima read touching and moulding the ground as the means through which intimacy, purpose, refuge and social engagement are formed. In foregrounding the sensorial as political, they each look to craft as a collective, collaborative, and liberatory process, in which ‘the act of building produces knowledge just as much as the resulting knowledge produces buildings’. Understanding architecture as the stage on which human stories are lived out, Anupama Kundoo grounded her architectural practice in and from India, training in Mumbai before building a substantial body of work in the experimental town of Auroville, in Puducherry from 1990 to 2005. Valuing fluidity and imprecision over prescriptive purity, Anupama’s projects invite makers and users to adapt creatively in service of their communities, and evolving future needs. Internationally recognised as both a practicing architect and educator, she has taught at architecture schools in Asia, North America, Australia and Europe. In 2021, she was a laureat of both The RIBA Charles Jencks Award and Auguste Perret Prize for Architectural Technology. Joining Anupama in conversation will be Dima Srouji, Palestinian architect and founder of glassmaking initiative Hollow Forms, who has recently joined us on the City Design Programme of the School of Architecture, Royal College of Art.

Re-possession: International Lecture Series 2021/22

‘Un Mundo Donde Quepan Muchos Mundos’
‘For a world in which many worlds fit’
- Zapatista Army of National Liberation

Carrying the common wind of last year’s Co-liberation series, this year we look to inhabit and  expand the idea of “Re-possession”.

We see possession as relating to oneself and one's place. It is both material and ethereal. It can be reclaimed and reoriented. In the spirit of social movements that seek to both take back and push forward, we refer to repossession as the struggle for an emancipated ownership: an object, state or practice of (re)produced belonging, felt as equally outward and inward, reciprocally individual and collective. It is a challenge to property: permeable and responsive to both belonging and unbelonging.

Over the course of the series we will reach into and out from the earth and the body. We will begin by excavating the relationships between geological, decolonial, and architectural practices, before exploring corporeal acts and atmospheres, somatic limitations and horizons, and the embodiment and enactment of emancipated selves and spaces. We will trace the lines that are drawn to oppress, extract and eliminate, but we will also outline the interdependencies that can unsettle colonial logic.

With these discussions we seek a practice that can harness the moments and movements that both shape space and strengthen struggle. We also nurture an intentional community, situated in the affordances of now and grasping towards a possible future. By mapping emancipatory routes between ground and horizon, we aim to “get to the heart of the matter” : to stretch out and open up where it meets, holds, and forms us, and to foreground the ideas and artefacts that build memory, militancy, solidarity, imagination, and action otherwise.