‘Beneath the city streets’: Researchers discuss urban infrastructure in evening talk at Sheffield Hallam University, featuring Dr Becky Shaw – Wednesday 21 March 2018
Beneath the city streets: four researchers explore urban infrastructure and its invisibility will bring together researchers exploring urban infrastructure in an evening of discussion on Wednesday 21 March 2018 in Cantor building at Sheffield Hallam University.
Sewers, cables, roads and myriad other infrastructural networks are the enabling frameworks of modern life, and yet we so rarely notice them. This free, open-to-all, evening event will present a panel of four researchers who are each exploring urban infrastructure with the aim of making it better known. The presenters will each give an account of their practical and/or conceptual explorations and in doing so also offer up thoughts on how their work seeks to render infrastructure’s existence and operation better known. They will also reveal why this unmasking is of concern to them.
This event is jointly organised by the SHU Space & Place Group, a network of academics keen to sustain interdisciplinary conversations about the researching of places and spaces, and C3RI, SHU’s Cultural, Communicaton and Computing Research Centre.
Dr Luke Bennett, Reader in Space, Place and Law, Department of the Natural and Built Environment, SHU.
Dr Paul Dobraszczyk, author and Teaching Fellow, The Bartlett School of Architecture, University College, London.
In his recently published book, The Dead City: Urban Ruins and the Spectacle of Decay (IB Taurus, 2017), Paul explores Manchester’s Irk Culvert as a way of excavating lesser known features of that city’s urban history. Paul will present an account of that unmasking and also discuss the way in which he uses urban exploration as a research methodology.
Dr Becky Shaw, Reader in Fine Art, C3RI, SHU
Becky will discuss her participation in the ‘Watershed Plus‘ Dynamic Environment lab which saw five artists following the City of Calgary’s water supply from its glacial source through rivers, treatment plants, maintenance yards, pipes, meters and households. Her ongoing project, ‘How Deep Is Your Love?’ uses ‘dirty’ pop music to travel through the necessarily inaccessible, hygienic industrial, economic and romantic water infrastructure. The project follows the movement, actions and technologies of Calgary’s leak locators, exploring the role of public art in relationship to the water infrastructure as a material negotiation of publicness. Read Becky’s blog post about the project here.
Dr Chris Bailey, Lecturer, Sheffield Institute of Education, SHU
Chris will juxtapose examples from his doctoral study of children’s virtual-world-creation within a Minecraft club with experiences of physical investigation of urban spaces. Within the after-school club children made worlds, and in doing so made assumptions about the layout and provisioning of built forms and of their infrastructural interconnections. Here children, in their play, tested out and reinforced adult assumptions about what is foregrounded in the experience of the built environment and what falls conventionally to be unseen or unexplored.
Paul Graham Raven, PhD candidate at Sheffield Water Centre, University of Sheffield
Paul is a science fiction writer, critic and essayist who recently completed his doctoral studies in infrastructure futures and theory at the University of Sheffield. He is also affiliated to the Institute for Atemporal Studies. Paul’s research is rooted in a novel relational model of sociotechnical change, and is aimed at developing and deploying narrative prototyping methodologies for the critical assessment of speculative future infrastructures. In his contribution to this event Paul will explore the illegibility of the hidden city by theorising the metasystemic self-effacement of infrastructure: asking, in other words, how the hidden city came to hide itself.
Beneath the city streets: four researchers explore urban infrastructure and its invisibility
Wednesday 21 March 2018
Cantor Building, Room 9130
6PM – 8.30PM
Attendance is free but please register for a ticket on Eventbrite.
Becky Shaw is C3RI Postgradate Research Tutor in Art and Design and Reader in Fine Art in Sheffield Institute of Arts (SIA) at Sheffield Hallam University. Becky’s research focuses on the relationship between people and the material world, and how ideas of objectivity and subjectivity dwell in objects. Current work chronicles the life of an object and its concealed modes of production. Becky is often found in places where people and objects, or materials interact – in large social environments including hospitals, factories, and education.