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  • February 26th, 2021

    Like so many others, I’ve had a hard winter. I’ve struggled to come to terms with the loss of my lovely Dad who died on 6 November 2020, and with my sister and partner, to try and help my Mum bear an impossible sadness. It is only now that I feel able to begin to re-emerge in the world. As I do, I realise anew how lucky I am to be part of an amazing community of architectural researchers, from the colleagues, students and friends who’ve supported me with such love throughout the past months, and to those writers who’ve included my work in their great new publications. I am just so incredibly thankful!

    In great company!

    In response to Matthew Butcher and Megan O’Shea’s invitation to contribute a revised version of my 1999 essay ‘Undoing Architecture’ to their collection, Expanding Fields of Architectural Discourse and Practice: Curated Works from the P.E.A.R Journal (just published by UCL Press) I had the opportunity to think, again, through a piece I titled, ‘A life of its own’, about what happens when one’s own life becomes the subject of one’s writing. This was a difficult essay to write in terms of content, as it deals with a sensitive time in my life, but I really appreciated the chance the editors gave me to see how I might do this in a more exploratory way. Overall, the volume brings together some of the more uncertain and emergent research Matthew and Megan published in their architectural journal P.E.A.R between 2008 and 2018, and so I feel in great company!

    Architecture and Culture Journal

    I am also really delighted to have been able to participate in two special issues of the wonderful Architecture and Culture journal:

    For Lorens Holm’s and Cameron McEwan’s special issue on Architecture and Collective Life, coming out of their brilliant 2019 AHRA conference, I was able to publish work from the KNOW project I’ve been working on. ‘Hotspots and Touchstones: From Critical to Ethical Spatial Practice’,  10.1080/20507828.2020.1792107, was part of a panel I convened on architecture and ethics, with a fantastic set of papers from Yael Padan, David Roberts and Camillo Boano.

    And Igea Troiani and Claudia Dutson’s special issue Space to Think: The Contested Architectures of Higher Education, gave me the opportunity to look back and write a two-part reflective piece on the strike actions I had undertaken with my UCU UCL and Bartlett School of Architecture colleagues in the winter of 2018, that I decided to call ‘After the Strike?’. The question mark was apt, as we found ourselves back on the picket line for two more strikes in the time it took for me to write the paper and for it to make it’s journey through the peer review process. DOI: 10.1080/20507828.2021.1827481

    Words – Before and After

    Just before the end of 2020, when I was feeling particularly blue, two beautiful books arrived in the post to cheer me.

    One is Helene Frichot’s and Naomi Stead’s edited collection, Writing Architecture: Ficto-Critical Approaches, published by Bloomsbury. This is a really dynamic set of essays which challenge the very essay form, accompanied by a reflective and comprehensive introduction to this field of writing practice by the editors. Helene and Naomi kindly gave me a lot of space to play with ‘how’ I wrote the prelude. ‘The ways in which we write’ situated their collection in relation to the work of earlier Canadian feminist literary critics, Tessera, who I had just discovered, and who I was delighted to discover had conducted important experimental feminist work linking theory, criticism and fiction in the 1980s.

    The other book is Peggy Deamer’s Architecture and Labour, published by Routledge, which brings together for the first time a series of her important essays on this topic. Peggy’s invitation to write an afterword, which I titled, ‘The Subject of this Object’, allowed me to read deeply into the rich development of her thinking in this vital area of architectural theory.

    Site-Writings on Vimeo

    This almost year of on-line teaching has also encouraged me to put recordings of three previous site-writings on vimeo.

    From To Miss the Desert to An Embellishment: Purdah.

    May Mo(u)rn


    On-line Exhibition of Site-Writing MA work from 2020

    And just as we approach the first day of spring in the northern hemisphere, I’d like to end by remembering where we were a year ago … and to celebrate the moving work written by students from the Bartlett School of Architecture on the Critical Spatial Practice: Site-Writing module during the April 2020 COVID19 lockdown in Refracted Sites.