Performing infrastructure : urban planning, community property and gendered spaces in the London Plan (2019-)
Dr Lynne McCarthy
Performing Public Infrastructure is an investigation into the performativity of infrastructure (Larkin 2013; Amin 2014; Easterling 2014) in London's public spaces and civic infrastructure and its effects on the personhood and the political subjectivities of London's dwellers in terra nova (newly developed neighbourhoods identified through the London Plan). The project's partners are Just Space, an informal alliance of 80 community groups, campaigns and concerned independent organisations which was formed to act as a voice for Londoners at grass-roots level during the formulation of London's major planning strategy. In the context of austerity, the project will survey how public spaces for communities are conceived, allocated, and enlivened at metropolitan levels including through the London Plan's EiP (Examinations in Public) process.
Practically, the project deploys cultural and legal methodologies to interrogates civic infrastructure at borough level with a view to making material change to local environments. The project is interdisciplinary in approach utilising legal pedagogy and representational cultural practices to initially identify municipal planning policies that operate at a disadvantage to local community making. Utilising legal and performance studies scholarship, the project aims to interact materially with local planning law; firstly, through artistic discursive interventions focused on community collaboration in the identification of local planning concerns and; secondly, addressing community techniques for legal reform. The long term and significant aim of the investigation is to create local, borough and city-wide level discussion on emerging community spaces in the London Plan and to create interventions (legal, creative and discursive) in the next swath of housing reform to ensure the inclusion of intersectional public infrastructure.
Creating Spaces and Belonging
Dr Aura Lounasmaa
Aura Lounasmaa and the Centre for Narrative Research received £1,000 seed funding from CAPA for the project Creative Narrative Methods in researching forced migration and belonging. The aim of the project was to bring together researchers and activists who use creative, participatory narrative methods in this research area for a discussion, run a pilot project with a small number of participants and begin creating connections and ideas for a Research Network.
The Centre for Narrative Research organised a seminar in March 2019. Invited speakers included Professor Sari Poyhonen from the University of Jyvaskyla in Finland, Dr Elena Vacchelli from the University of Greenwich, Dr Helen Taylor and Dr Olivia Sheringham from Stories and Supper and Sonia Quintero, poet and the founder of Newham Poetry group and the Poetry Cafe in Stratford. The day was attended by 40 participants, many external researchers working in similar areas.
In the summer we organised four workshops with 7 migrant participants during which, with the guidance of an experienced theatre maker Devika Ranjan participants discussed the meaning of belonging, then wrote and directed a short performance on how asylum seekers are made to not belong in the UK through bordering mechanisms, bureaucratic technologies and the act of waiting. The performance was filmed using 360 camera by the creative technologist Leon Barker. Participants noted that 360 filming captures well the non-linear nature of waiting and not belonging which frame the lives of asylum seekers.
The video is currently being edited and participants are discussing the next steps for the project. Some of the participants of the seminar are preparing a grant application to continue to bring together an international network of researchers working in the area of migration and belonging through creative narrative methods.
The UK Hip Hop Leadership Movement. A leadership development programme to inspire, support and promote change makers from the Hip Hop community
The UK Hip-Hop Leadership Movement brings together a consortium of leading Hip Hop dance companies, programmers, producers, training institutions & development organisations: Artists4Artists, Avant Garde Dance, Boy Blue, Breakin' Convention, East London Dance, Impact Dance, Uchenna Dance, University of East London, & ZooNation: The Kate Prince Company.
The consortium will create and deliver a two-year programme to reveal, inspire, support and champion current and next generation leaders coming from the Hip Hop community who are passionate about making change. We want to celebrate & reflect the roots of Hip Hop coming from Black culture, so will use this programme to actively grow Black Asian and Minority Ethnic leaders, whilst also embracing how inclusive Hip Hop is currently in the UK.
BA (Hons) Dance: Urban Practice at the University of East London (UEL) will lead the action learning research programme consulting and facilitating an evaluation of the short, medium & long-term impacts of the leadership development programme. Additionally, we will offer research assistant roles to students and/or alumni from UEL. The outcomes of the research will be disseminated through a range of channels, such as industry reports, journal articles, and academic book chapters. There will also be a final event that shares our findings with the wider sector, raises debate about diversity amongst the cultural workforce, and gives a platform to the next generation of Hip Hop leaders.