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Making Architecture Politically

Research group The research group investigates how architecture through its own zone of competences, can contribute to emancipation in our age of cosmopolitisation. It is about a spatial and aesthetic polity that has everything to do with how architecture can move beyond simple adversity, can contribute to lives of sustained optimal wellbeing, solidarity and joy through a radical openness of co-habitation, co-existence, intersectionality, multivocalty and inclusivity as core attributes of our future context.

The entire span of human experiences today is, in one way or another, influenced by the overwhelmingly interconnectivity of the world. The consequence of this interconnectivity means the end of the ‘global other.’ The global other is now in our midst on many fronts. However troublesome, coercive, banal, and messy, a cosmopolitisation unfolds unwanted, unseen, powerful, and confrontational. 

Instead of advancing a worldview of b/orders between people, nature and other lifeforms of disconnection, war and fortification in reaction to cosmopolitisation, our research group explores – by welcoming the global other – how architecture, landscape and urban design can contribute to communities and their situated cultures, as border-crossers; at best as a visionaries and practicioners capable of transforming a space of restriction into one of radical openess where we can live well with each other in a thick and complex present of multi-racial, multi-species, and multi-kinded realities. 
To make architecture politically, our research group focuses, on the one hand, how architecture, landscape and urban design can contribute to diversity and heterogenous conjunctions through migration. We adopt a totally different model that shows another vision of migration: not a conventional one that sees migration just as the outgrowth of some sort of problem (such as poverty, population growth, war, or environmental disaster), but one that considers migration as an intrinsic part of a broader development process building a civilization. 

Furthermore, we investigate how architecture can welcome the global other by the power of gentleness. Gentleness is about another way to relate to the world; it enables forms of hospitality by redistribution of the sensible, it enables narratives and experiences, to be lavished and received with experiment and dolce vita. Gentleness resists a utilitarian ideology in which pleasures, beauties, the uncontrollable and imaginative are seen as counter-revolutionary, just bourgeois, decadent, indulgent, and that the desire for them should be eradicated and scorned.  

Our research group is embedded in architecture theory, history, design education, and practice. As members we work on research at Ba, Ma, PhD level, and conduct funded research in collaboration with other institutes. We organize conferences, lectures, seminars, exhibitions and publications. The spatial, material and aesthetic polity of architecture stands at the core of our research. We champion architecture as cultural endeavour. In addition to fields such as philosphy, sociology, geography, and political science, our architecture is inspired by the theory, history and practice of art, film, photography, literature, and music. 

Head of research

Overview

Participating departments and units at Umeå University

Umeå School of Architecture

Research area

Architecture
Latest update: 2024-03-20