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Make public: performing the past and future of public housing in London

Why the talk is inspiring?

This talk is about the communities of two public housing estates in east London driven from their homes. It represents a microcosm of what the new Mayor has described the ‘housing catastrophe’ gripping London. It is a story of loss at all scales; personal loss of home as estates are demolished; a collective loss of neighbours as low-income communities disappear from London, and; a societal loss of ideals both in what these homes stood for and also the type of city in which we want to live.

Facing this loss, I ask what might recovery look like. In this talk I describe my long-term collaborative work with these communities, using performance as a medium for residents to embody and re-enact the history of their homes, invoking architects’ original social ideals to build collective knowledge and experience. I share these performances through film, photography, archive building and exhibition curation to amplify residents’ critical voices and display the liveliness, diversity and vibrancy of their estate communities. In doing so, I advance an argument for the continued and urgent importance of public housing today.

The talk will be held on Wednesday, 15th of June, 2016, from 8.00 p.m. at the National Art Gallery (NDG), Konstitucijos av. 22, Vilnius.

Entrance is free of charge.



David Roberts

How the speaker is exceptional?

David Roberts is one half of collaborative art practice Fugitive Images, one quarter of architecture collective Involve, and Research Ethics Fellow at The Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL where he also teaches.

David uses poetry and performance to explore the relation between people and place. He has exhibited, lectured and published work related to public housing, architecture, critical methodologies and site-specific practice. David co-produced and co-wrote the feature-length film Estate: a reverie (2015) which interweaves intimate portraits with the residents’ own historical re-enactments, architectural studies and dramatised scenes. His doctoral thesis, Make Public: performing public housing in regenerating east London (2016) explored the history and future of two east London housing estates undergoing regeneration.


Programs and Manifestoes on 20th-Century Architecture / Social Housing - Housing the Social: Art, Property and Spatial Justice

Ulrich Conrads

Why the book is worth reading?

The first book collates manifestoes from seminal Twentieth century architects and architectural movements, encapsulating the passionate principles which underpinned the philosophic and social basis of their art. It is striking how many of these revolutionary and prophetic statements centred around the question of housing. Read together they are symbolic of idealistic convictions and a public-spirited collectivity which seem prevailingly absent today.

The second book ‘Social Housing – Housing the Social: Art, Property and Spatial Justice’ exposes how the ‘idea and fact of social housing’ is being dismantled through the erosion of state support for social welfare in the West and consequently undermines the ‘democratic premise that living together in equality and security is a right to be afforded by all members of a society’. From this, it examines how contemporary urban practitioners have imagined and implemented radical new forms of social housing but also the complex politics whereby such attempts can also usher in new waves of gentrification.


Social Housing - Housing the Social: Art, Property and Spatial Justice

Andrea Phillips and Fulya Erdemci

Why the book is worth reading?

Andrea Phillips ir Fulya Erdemci redaguota knyga pristato kaip „socialinio būsto idėja ir jos realizacija“ yra ardoma menkėjant valstybės paramai, skirtai socialiniai gerovei Vakarų valstybėse. Taip pat joje kalbama, kaip dėl šios priežasties yra paneigiama „demokratinė prielaida skelbianti, jog bendros, saugios bei lygios gyvenimo sąlygos yra universali visų visuomenės narių teisė“. Šių idėjų šviesoje knyga nagrinėja, kaip šiuolaikiniai praktikuojantys miestų specialistai įsivaizdavo bei įgyvendino naujas, radikalias socialinio būsto formas. Taip pat joje tiriamos komplikuotos politinės aplinkybės, rizikuojančios sukelti naujas gentrifikacijos apraiškas.