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MRes RCA Architecture Pathway Events

Investigating the norms, limits and possibilities of architecture.

Making research public is a critical part of the Master in Research programme in the School of Architecture. The MRes Architecture programme organises, hosts, and contributes to a range of public events. 

Feeling Caring 

Thursday 28 March 2019, 11am – 4.30pm
SAC 016, RCA Battersea

This practical workshop, led by dance artist Katye Coe and visual artist Kiera Greene, focused on how simple tasks give us a greater capacity to ‘feel’ what we are seeing.

Participants were given tools for moving and watching in ways that encourage a more embodied or ‘holistic’ way of relating to another body. These tools aimed to help those working or thinking in relationship to the body that ‘performs’ to do so with greater sensitivity.

Following a simple movement practice, participants reflected individually on their experience. The session closed with a discussion around our habitual patterns of spectatorship. The workshop touched on the relationship – grounded in Katye and Keira’s – between a visual artist and the performer they may work with in realising their work, in light of such include themes as; equitability of experience; the false assumption of the ‘we’; the nature of true collaboration; how to make sure that care is operated in all relationships; and how to make sure that old hierarchies do not get in the way of good and democratic processes when making decisions.

'Nature's Queer Performativity', Karen Barad 
'Queer Use', Sara Ahmed

Wanying Li, Ching-Hung Lin, Moritz Dittrich, Mariano Cuofano, Nuria Benitez Gomez, Hemanth Rao, Claire van Rhyn, Finchittida Finch, Camilla Bliss, Maria Teresa Scarabello, Despina Zacharopoulou, Jen Hawthorn, Alexander Donaghy, Yi Jin, Hanxuan Jiang.

We Cannot Work Like This: London

Thursday 31 January – 2 February 2019
RCA Kensington and Brixton Pound

The second gathering of the transnational alliance 'We Cannot Work Like This: Decolonisation and Degrowth' met in London over a series of three days for a series of workshops and discussions. 

(Un)Common Charter: A collective excavation of a fictional structure
A workshop organised by Adam Kaasa (RCA)

Space, place and other stories
A workshop organised by: Célestine Pelletier, Camille Kerzerho, Coraline Delorme, Clara Agnus from École Européenne Supérieure d’Art de Bretagne, site Rennes

How long can you chew before it starts sucking? 
A performative workshop initiated by HISK artists Megan-Leigh Heilig (South Africa), Hannah Mevis (Germany), Marijke De Roover (Belgium), Sofia Ceasar (Brazil) 

Uncommon Building: Collective Excavation of a Fictional Structure, Honor Gavin and Adam Kaasa, 2017, Spirit Duplicator: Sheffield.
Feelings of Structure: Explorations in Affect, edited by Karen Engle and Yoke-Sum Wong, 2018, McGill-Queen's University Press: Montreal.

Justice in the City

Thursday 31 January 2019
D612, RCA Kensington

'If care and justice are construed as values or ideals, there seems no reason to doubt that both may be part of the same value system' - Alison M Jaggar (Caring as a Feminist Practice of Moral Reason, 1995)

The question of justice and care in the city touches down in discussions of housing, of labour, of publics, and of mobility. How do we live together in the 21st-century city – one that is full of endemic racism, classism, gender, age and ability bias, and rampant social inequalities? How do we confront this in the places we live, and the places we work? What tools do we have to organise, to voice dissent, to engage in meaningful change?

The MRes Architecture programme invited two prominent organisations, Justice for Grenfell and Justice for Workers (Goldsmiths) to speak to students at the RCA about their campaigns, about contemporary activism, and about their conception of justice in the city.

Link to Facebook Event.

Work-in-progress Show 2019

16–20 January 2019 | D612, RCA Kensington

In a three-week short film project the MRes Architecture pathway students asked 'What is "we"?' In a six-week collaboration with student on the MRes Fine Arts & Humanities pathway, students asked 'How do we start a project', and came up with the concept of the SLANT. For the Work-in-progress Show they present five short films, and five SLANT books, alongside ongoing research by PhD students of the School of Architecture. 

Read more about the Work-in-progress show.

We Cannot Work Like This: Venice

26–28 September 2018 | Swamp Pavillion, Venice Biennale

In 2018/19, the MRes RCA Architecture Pathway contributed to 'We Cannot Work Like This'. It is a transnational alliance of artists, architects, scholars and activists that asks what does a charter for decolonisation and degrowth look like in cultural and academic institutions? Starting from an anti-racist, anti-capitalist perspective, the alliance confronts questions of labour, of mobility and migration, of language and privilege, and enables students to work together on a proposal for new ways of working. 

The launch of the seminar takes place at the Swamp Pavilion, in the frame of the Venice Biennale of Architecture in September 2018. This will be followed by workshops in London and Brussels in January 2019, and is due to conclude with participation in the Contour Biennial 9 in Mechelen, Belgium in May 2019. 

Collaboration with Coltan As Cotton, Contour Biennial 9, Mechelen. Curated by Nataša Petrešin-Bachelez, organised by Nona Kunstencentrum with Hong Kong University; École européenne supérieure d'art de Bretagne, Rennes; École de recherche graphique, Brussels; Academy of Arts, HISK, Ghent; Royal Academy of Fine Arts, Antwerp; St Lucas Academy, Antwerp; Thomas More University of Applied Sciences, Mechelen, Open Design Course, Royal College of Art.

Read more about the alliance here.

Critical Investigations into the Future of Art and Design Research: MRes 2018 Show

10–13 September 2018, RCA Kensington

A public exhibition and symposium at the RCA’s Kensington campus presented the art and design research projects from the first cohort of graduating Masters of Research (MRes) RCA students. From 10 to 13 September, the practice-based and practice-led research of 26 students across the Programme’s four pathways was on display for the public to engage with through installations, performances, lectures and discussions.

MRes Research Symposium, 12–5pm, LT1, RCA Kensington

Panel 1: Knowledge Production Through Practice – Deconstruction as Method
Panel 2: Imagining Alternative Futures – Speculative Design to rethink existing Structures

Read more about the Critical Investigations exhibition and the Symposium.

On Balance: First Annual RCA Architecture Research Student Colloquium 

22 June 2018 | RCA Architecture Show, The Workshop London 
Organised by: Eleni Han, Francesca R. ForliniFrancesca Dell'AglioSeyithan Ozer

'Balance, like all our fundamental things is something we can find, keep, lose and use. It is something we often want.' – Adam Phillips, On Balance, 2010

The foundation of modern epistemes – of justice, of environmentalism, of finance, of psychology, of social equity – relies on the concept of balance. We balance equations, work and life, musical scores, personalities, and accounts. We weigh costs and benefits, we consider pros and cons, and on balance, we act.  

But is balance a good thing? Could we consider balance as a form of cruel optimism (to borrow Lauren Berlant’s term) – akin to ‘when something you desire is actually an obstacle to your flourishing’? If so, what alternatives to balance can we imagine? Or is balance so normatively, politically, and physically fundamental that a shift from either it or its antonym, is an impossibility? 

On Balance invited scholars, researchers and practitioners interested in critically investigating ‘balance’, its corollaries of stasis, equilibrium, fairness, dependency, and antonyms of excess, madness, too much, instability, as an object, a characteristic, a position, or an act. We encourage performative, scholarly, historical, theoretical or other contributions that explore a variety of scales. 

The format of the colloquium divested from the traditional academic performance. Rather than formal conference papers or presentations, we invited emergent contributions exploring this theme to be presented within five minutes in any format including text, images, videos, case studies, performance, etc. The day-long event is catalysed by these contributions that will trigger facilitated discussion. 

Download the On Balance Student Colloquium Programme.
Download the On Balance colloquium poster. 
Download the On Balance CFP.

After the Creative City

23–27 April 2018 | New River Studios

What comes after the creative city? In cities like London, financialised land and housing markets contribute to culture’s expulsion from the city. 35% of grassroots music venues have closed since 2007, 58% of LGBTQI venues since 2006, and a projected 30% of artist studios by 2019. This group research project looked to two sites in the north London Borough of Haringey. The Wards Corner Regeneration plan to close a Latin American market sparked a UN Human Rights investigation that warned this closure 'represented a threat to cultural life'. Less than 500m away, Tottenham is the pilot for 'Creative Enterprise Zones', an initiative intended to lure and retain creative industries in London. This research project asked what counts as culture in a site that both erases and props it up. 

Read more about the After the Creative City exhibition. 

Collaboration with New River Studios, London with contributions from We Made That, Theatrum Mundi, Terrence O'Rourke, and the Greater London Authority.

Design(ing) Inequality

8 March 2018 |  D612 RCA Kensington

Organised by Dr Adam Kaasa (RCA) and Dr Mona Sloane (NYU)

This roundtable event included brief contributions by scholars working in the area of design and/or inequality. 

The session explored the relationship between design/ing and social inequality. It took as starting point a notion of design as both a superstructure and a practice of power and expertise that can simultaneously sustain and challenge privilege and exclusion, regardless of what is being designed. Encouraging a discussion between design scholars and social scientists, the event sought to engage with a wide range of scholarships to ignite a new discussion of design inequality that extends beyond notions of participatory design or diverse design cultures and connects with research into classed, racial and economic inequality. Speakers: Adam Kaasa (RCA), Mona Sloane (independent sociologist), Harriet Harris (RCA), Nell Beecham (LSE).

Download the event poster.

Work-in-progress Show 2018

18–20 January 2019, RCA Kensington

MRes students collaborated with MPhil and PhD students to present DOCUMENTS, an exhibition and symposium. DOCUMENTS is a collection of 46 A4 sheets documenting ongoing research from the School of Architecture.