The New Standard – Where do Standards come from?

Lecture date : 2017-05-05

Organised by the AA and the Bartlett

Following the day-long workshop where students from the AA and the Bartlett will mark their individual standards across spaces within both schools, this evening discussion brings together artists, architects and theorists to discuss the often arbitrary and biased parameters which define the design of our built environment. The results of the workshop will be presented and contextualised within this discussion about where standards come from, and how we can question and challenge them to design more inclusive spaces that are comfortable for everyone to inhabit and interact with.

Speakers: Aaron Williamson, Damian Toal, Nirmal Puwar, Thomas Carpentier, and Barbara Penner.

Aaron Williamson is inspired by his experience of becoming deaf and by a politicised yet humorous sensibility towards disability. Over the last twenty years he has created more than 300 unique performances, videos, installations and publications in Europe, Asia, Australia and North America. In a 1998 talk at University of California San Diego, Williamson coined the term ‘Deaf Gain’ as a counter-emphasis to ‘hearing loss’.

Damian Toal is a filmmaker and digital artist with a background in the broadcast and the independent sector; working collaboratively and independently on site specific work. This is complemented by consultancy work and mentoring roles in Educational arts initiatives, and creative partnerships. Research themes include public and private space, Identity, built environment, dis/ability, access, and creative architectural practice.

Nirmal Puwar is a Reader in the Sociology Department of Goldsmith’s College, University of London, where she has lectured for over ten years. She has authored Space Invaders: race, gender and bodies out of place (2004). The concept of Space Invaders has been developed and discussed in a number of institutional sectors. Puwar has co-edited 17 Collections, including the themes: Post-colonial Bourdieu; Orientalism and Fashion; Intimacy in Research; Live Methods and, South Asian Women in the Diaspora. A number of her writings have been translated into different languages. She is the Co-Director of the Methods Lab which undertakes projects to re-think, stretch and connect the very walls of the academy beyond the academy. She takes a critical historical take on ‘public engagement’. A number of collaborative projects she has been engaged with have involved creative methods.

Thomas Carpentier graduated from ESA in Paris and now works as an ARB architect in London. He is interested in identifying unconscious preconceptions and challenging them to explore new potentials. His work investigates social aspects of objects and spaces, rituals attached to them and their impact on our experience of space, behaviour and body.

Barbara Penner is Senior Lecturer in Architectural History at the Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL. She is Acting Director of Research and Director of the PhD Architectural History & Theory programme. She also teaches on the MA Architectural History and on BSc Architectural & Interdisciplinary Studies (AIS). Barbara is author of Bathroom (Reaktion, 2013) and Newlyweds on Tour: Honeymooning in Nineteenth-Century America (UPNE, 2009). She is co-editor of Forty Ways to Think about Architecture (John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., 2014), Ladies and Gents: Public Toilets and Gender (Temple University Press, 2009) and Gender Space Architecture (Routledge, 2000). She regularly writes for architectural magazines such as Architectural Review, Cabinet, Icon and Places.


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