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Connecting Principle Event 14: Sustainability in the City of Flux
Wednesday November 26th
Culture Lab, space 4/5


If our cities are in constant flux and we cannot predict how spaces will be re-appropriated in the future, then how can our urban spaces be sustainable and endure over time? This research forum/workshop will aim to open up a space for a discussion into the sustainable, yet flexible city through the fields of art and architecture by questioning:

What is the role of creative material experimentation - making, ‘testing’ ideas or ‘playing’ the city in an anticipatory, incremental manner – for observing how people co-construct, use, appropriate and change urban space, where the reactivation of space through informal use could act as a catalyst for subsequent use?

What role can public participation play in diluting the traditional power imbalances in the city, stimulating everyday active citizenship; and creating the sustainable city by giving people more of a stake in it?

As points of reference, we may look to Richard Sennett’s (2014) non-linear ‘open city’ or Yona Freidman’s concept of the city with no predefined form: only through the act of living within space can it be constructed. Here, space should be interpreted and determined by the user; generating social agency through sustained participation. Or we might look at the ‘planned obsolescence’ of Cedric Price’s adaptable designs - planning for an unknowable future, or Joseph Beuys’ conceptualisation of ‘social sculpture’, where society can shape their environment through participating in the creation of the artwork.

Approaching sustainability through the lens of the ever-changing society and the ever-changing city could offer a vision of how sustainability can be mobilised in the city of flux.


10:00  Arrival, coffee and tea

10:15  Introduction from Julia Heslop (Department of Human Geography and Fine Art, Durham and Newcastle Universities) and Wolfgang Weileder

10:30  Peter Kellett

11:15  Jonathan Baxter

12:00 – 12:45  Lunch buffet

12:45 – 13:15  Group discussions/ideas building

13:15 – 14:00  Ideas round-up with panel

14:00  End of event, tea and coffee


  • Acknowledgments

    With Special thanks to the following partners who enabled this project to take place:

    Culture Lab and the School of Arts and Cultures.

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    Wolfgang Weileder
    Fine Art, School of Arts and Cultures
    Tel: 0191 261 2962

    Julia Heslop
    Department of Human Geography and Fine Art, Durham and Newcastle Universities

    Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom, NE1 7RU
    Culture Lab forms part of an evolving network of artists, researchers and scientists 
  at Newcastle University looking at new ways of working across traditional academic