Research Seminars

UMA Research Seminars on Architecture bring together scholars from Sweden and abroad to share theories, methodologies and findings related to architectural research. The seminars provide a forum for critical exchange, discussion, peer-review, and dissemination of ongoing and emerging research at UMA.  

The seminars are held on Wednesdays in a hybrid format online and in a seminar room at Umeå School of Architecture. They consist in a short presentation based on work in progress or a research publication, followed by a collective discussion. 
For further information on UMA Research Seminars on Architecture please contact  Daniel Movilla Vega

Research seminars – Fall 2023

November 15 — Mikael Andersson: The architect’s studio – a rhizomatic space 

Mikael Andersson, doctoral student in Museology at the Department of Culture and Media Studies, critic, and editor, will present his ongoing PhD project “The architect’s studio – a rhizomatic space”. 
15 November 2023 15.30 – 17.00 
Umeå School of Architecture: Seminar room 3 

In this UMA research seminar Mikael will present his ongoing PhD project “The architect’s studio – a rhizomatic space”. The aim with the project is to investigate how the preserved architect studio functions, is perceived, experienced and interpreted as an exhibition space. How can the non-hierarchical structures that these spaces represent, and the certain kind of material feeling, or perhaps knowledge, that is derived from the sensuous and emotional experiences that these spaces generate (both in the immediate spatial situation, through our memories, and as representations) be conceptualized? An implicit goal with this aim is to formulate a critique towards how architectural and design practices in most (modern) museum contexts have been reduced to a visual sphere. The seminar will focus on the aesthetic-ideological background of the study; musealization processes; how to read space; and the idea of ‘writing as method’. 

December 6 — Julio Diarte and Elena Vazquez: Design Computation + Materials

Julio Diarte, assistant professor at Umeå School of Architecture, and Elena Vazquez, associate professor at Umeå School of Architecture, discuss the potential of critical making for materials research in architectural design education. 
6 December 2023 15.30-17.00 
Umeå School of Architecture: Seminar room 3 

This UMA research seminar presents the work done by Julio Diarte and Elena Vazquez on the application of computational design tools for materials research in architectural design and construction. Their work is based on the idea of critical making—a practice that engages with nature and technology, according to Ratto, 2016—as a way of deliberately intervening the physical world while designing and learning with materials. By using both craft and/or digital based tools, they develop and formalize methods and devices to work with different materials including waste or brand-new corrugated cardboard, wood, and using techniques such as creasing, laminating, folding, kirigami, and others. The presentation will illustrate different case studies linking research and education at both undergraduate and graduate levels. 

December 13 — James Benedict Brown: Collaborating in Architecture's Afterlife 

James Benedict Brown, associate professor at Umeå School of Architecture, and Maria Roth, professor at the Department of Architectural Design at the Faculty of Architecture, University of Zagreb, present cutting-edge EU-funded international research in architectural education. 
13 December 2023 15.30-17.00 
Umeå School of Architecture: Seminar room 3 


The definition of what is architecture and what it means to be an architect often falls outside traditional understandings of the profession such as, simply, ‘the design of buildings’. Between June 2021 and April 2022, the research project Architecture’s Afterlife solicited the participation of 3636 architecture graduates across Europe. 38% of respondents were working exclusively or partially in sectors other than architecture, yet when asked whether and when they had left architecture, only a small percentage of this 38% believed that they had indeed ‘left’ architecture. This percentage is understood as practitioners whose work is complementary, even instrumental to architecture. 
The multi-sector impact of an architectural qualification explores the relationships between the disciplinarity of architecture and its interdisciplinarity as a way to adapt architecture to societal changes, thus responding to systemic crises. Architecture’s Afterlife offers an alternative to this binary view, turning it into a relationship of complementarity. The interdisciplinarity of architecture is a necessary means through which architecture constantly redefines itself and adapts to resilient futures. Architecture’s Afterlife demonstrates that what is commonly understood as ‘other than architecture’ defines a necessary space of inquiry and adaptation for architecture to respond to contemporary shared challenges, thus making architecture current. 

January 10 — Maria Luna Nobile: Reading the contemporary city. Architectural experiments on the As found  

Maria Luna Nobile, associate professor at Umeå School of Architecture, together with  Elke Couchez  Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Hasselt   and  Leeke  Reinders,  anthropologist at the Chair of Urban Architecture TU Delft,  present the work in progress of the paper “ Writing over a marked canvas” following the discussion and exchange during the  As found conference. 

10 January 2024 15.30 – 17.00
Umeå School of Architecture:  Seminar room  3 

Looking at the contemporary city, understanding the complexity and relationship between architecture and its inhabitants is to be considered a first and important moment of the design process. This attitude is defined as the capacity of ‘reading’ the context, especially when it relates to the constructed environment.  
This reflection states a fundamental aspect of the research in architecture and urban design in contemporary times and opens up new questions for the future. On one side the research on the design of the contemporary city and its multiple transformations and on the other side the education of future architects able to deal with this complexity. The reflection initiated at the conference in Hasselt has been further developed in the paper proposal “Writing over a marked canvas”. The paper explores the notion of  “reading" as a method for urban reuse in research and education by applying two lenses: a historical one following the path of ILAUD and other theories and a contemporary lens based on the reflection on the experiments conducted in education and illustrated through the experience of a cycle of four years in the architectural design studio, starting from "Unlayering Umeå” up to the current “The City as a Laboratory”.                 
This UMA research seminar presents the reflections on the investigation conducted by the research group "Designing the contemporary city” shared during and after the  As found colloquium on Adaptive reuse, held in Hasselt in September 2023 and on the development of a contribution for the special issue of the magazine Future Anterior “Experimental Preservation as a Social Practice”.  

Research Seminars – Spring 2023

February 22 — Ele Carpenter: Nuclear Decoloniality

Ele Carpenter, Professor of Interdisciplinary Art and Culture at Umeå School of Architecture, will give a talk about her curatorial research on Nuclear Decoloniality with respondents: Kristina Sehlin MacNeil, Deputy Director of Vardduo, and Annika Egan-Sjolander, Professor Culture and Media Studies at Umeå University.
22 February 2023 10:00-11:30 CET
Umeå School of Architecture: Seminar room 4

Caption: Miamia, Sickness Country. 
This UMA research seminar will introduce Ele Carpenter’s curatorial research on nuclear decoloniality, with a specific focus on the deep time intergenerational knowledge transfer of radiation protection within aboriginal communities in Gunbalanya in the Northern Territory of Australia. 
Artists Alex Ressel and Kerri Meehan have been working in the region for over five years, collaborating with artists at the Injalak Arts Centre. They have produced a body of work investigating and recording the nuclear culture of the region which provides new insights into the European Radioactive Waste Management approach to the preservation of ‘Records, Knowledge and Memory’ (RK&M) of geologic repositories for high level radioactive waste.  
Whilst the artistic projects and practices are established, there is a need to clarify the curatorial research methodology in relation to the new round of European discourses in the field. The aim is to find ways for aboriginal knowledge to make a major contribution to the EGAP process, transforming the debate from one of localized technical solutions into a more geopolitical and decolonial discourse of responsibility. 
In this seminar Ele Carpenter has invited experts in decolonial discourses in Australia, and nuclear waste management in Sweden to give feedback on her curatorial approach and help to identify new research partnerships and funding opportunities.

March 8 — Luis Berríos-Negrón: Of nurseries, and other possible forms of phenomenotechnical geoengineering

Luis Berríos-Negrón, Postdoctoral fellow at Umeå School of Architecture, presents the research statement of his work at UmArts.
8 March 2023 15:30-17:00 CET
Umeå School of Architecture: Seminar room 4


ImageLuis Berríos-Negrón

Caption: Untitled #02 (Pedestal Butterfly Garden) 2022.

Currently geoengineering is limited to scaleless, hemispheric, technological mitigation. During his postdoc, Luis Berríos-Negrón will focus on exploring performative, sculptural, and spatial forms and manners that may critically challenge and shape other possible definitions of this controversial practice. To give way to that prospectus, Luis reviews recent research and teaching work in Puerto Rico, Switzerland and Sweden, presenting some initial views into related traditional and experimental, individual and collective art and science research methodologies. He contrasts these regions practicing different cultural and scientific techniques for observing and remediating colonial/industrial traumas and cataclysms on Caribbean forests, and on Alpine and Nordic riparian zones. Luis associates these materials to his continuing critical survey of the history of ‘greenhouse’ as practice-based research medium through the subset of ‘tree nurseries’. He intuits that expanded notions of ‘nurseries’ may facilitate or even heighten unforeseen sensory, physical, and mythical relations between human and more-than-human species as a potential, affirmative form of phenomenotechnique (i.e. as simultaneous specimen, space, and display structure for observation). These potential, alternative relations may generate proportional forms of geoengineering that recognize colonial memory and climate injustice, while affirming the elusive imperative of biodiversity.

April 5 — Francesco Camilli: Re-valuing urban planning and design in the face of climate change 

Francesco Camilli, postdoctoral researcher at the Norwegian Insitute of Science and Technology, presents his research work within the NTNU Smart Sustainable Cities group. 
5 April 2023 10.30am-12am 
Umeå School of Architecture: Seminar room 3 

This UMA Research Seminar will introduce Francesco Camilli’s ongoing postdoctoral research on how to make the transition of cities towards climate neutrality attractive, sustainable, and inclusive, according to the principles of the New European Bauhaus initiative.  
The research will contribute to creating and implementing an Impact Model, with a related body of research and guidance, that allows cities to identify essential leverage points for systemic change towards climate neutrality, by including all aspectual layers of sustainability (ecological, infrastructural, social, cultural, economic, aesthetical, legal, etc.). It will function both as a documenting and assessing tool, and a guidance instrument to improve shared understanding and support for cross-cutting decision-making and implementation between stakeholders from different sectors and disciplines. 
The research will be carried out within the Smart Sustainable Cities group at the Norwegian Institute of Science and Technology, which is responsible for several research projects in the framework of the New European Bauhaus initiative. It will particularly focus on the role of public space and its design in the transition to climate neutrality. It will analyse case studies selected among stakeholders involved in the various projects of the Smart Sustainable Cities group. 

April 19 — Katrin Holmqvist-Sten: Three kulturhus in the North

Latest update: 2023-10-09