June Conferences 2011

July 4, 2011

Its Summer, therefore conferences!

June has been a little busy on this side of things so I thought I would give you a summary of June’s conferences as attended by me, one member of the Adaptable Suburbs team, David Jeeva.


3rd June 2011 Mimesis, transmission, power

Throughout this seminar the issue of representation and the way in which it is made to work appears again and again. Whilst this is not directly relevant to the project the seminar allowed me to gain a greater understanding of approaches to a wide range of issues in both Anthropology and Archaeology that will inform the way in which I go about my own research.  This is especially important as I sit in anthropology yet have an education background in geography.  The issues of representation, scale and power are of particular interest in regard to the aspects of the project which look at planning in the suburbs.


9th June Just Space / Urban Salon Conference, Department of Geography, UCL

The Just Space Network (as I heard it referred to) was a genuinely interesting coming together of academics and community action groups.  The group was formed ‘as a voice for Londoners at grass roots level during the formulation of London’s major planning strategy….(with the aim of)….improving(ing) public participation in planning by supporting member groups and spreading information.’

During the conference I felt that I gained a real sense of many ‘on the ground’ frustrations that arise from the ways in which the urban morphology is changed by many actors be that private development, small scale, large, council, city, state and so on.  The day had some scattered and impassioned talks.  It was refreshing to attend a event where there was so much energy is was almost hard to contain the conference.  It is such a field that I feel Adaptable Suburbs could really contribute.


17th &18th June Peripheral Visions: Suburbs, Representation and Innovation.

An outstanding and fascinating array of work on many aspects of the suburbs.  I was particularly interesting in the work of Sshibboleth Shechter’s work on the Garden Spaces of suburbs.  Her work is a completion of a AHRC funded MRes and as yetis unpublished.  Hannah Lewi’s work on Heritage of modernism in Australia got behind some of the human aspects of Heritage.  The closing plenary from Professor Rob Shields gave a fascinating insight into the way suburbs may be a site of practice.  His talk looked at the emergence of a traditional suburban form in mining communities.  This is stark contrast to the incremental historical evolution approach used in the Adaptable Suburbs project.




20th June Anthropology in London Day

Again an excellent way in which a rounded understanding of anthropological issues and approaches in London’s community.  I was particularly interested in discussions over methods, which to me, are relatively unfamiliar (being schooled in Geography) and are going through major theoretical revisions in the age of digital media and communications.  This is of particular interest to the project as we aim to develop GIS profiler tools so that we can not only gather data but publics can aid in the analysis of that data.


30th June DEMOS – The big (suburban society)

I’m not quite sure why the words ‘the big’ needed to be added to the title of this conference especially with the noticeable absence of small scale local community groups and dominating presence of academics and planners so I scribbled it out on my pack.  The new ‘centre for London’ think tank that is being created aims to ‘be a friend to London’s leaders and policy makers’ and ‘be an important voice for London’s policy debates’.  The morning was devised to be an exchange of ideas, and that they were with some very different presentations and an even larger range of views.  I got a sense that this was a start of conversation amongst the various groups interesting in planning development in London, one that very much needs to happen.  It will be interesting to see what happens from here.



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