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New Academic in Residence and Cultural Infrastructure in London

Uncommon building

Theatrum Mundi is looking forward to hosting Honor Gavin as our Academic in Residence this coming year.

Honor currently lectures in fiction and writing at the University of Sheffield. She is the author of two books: Midland: A Novel Out of Time (Penned in the Margins, 2014), which explores the twentieth-century transformations of the city of Birmingham, UK, and which was shortlisted for the 2015 Gordon Burn Prize; and a critical monograph, Literature and Film, Dispositioned: Thought, Location, World (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014). Previously, she was a Fellow of the ICI Berlin for Cultural Inquiry and completed her PhD within the multidisciplinary doctoral programme of the London Consortium at Birkbeck.

Honor will be further developing TM’s (Un)Common Building project, deploying a collective and cross-disciplinary practice of speculative fiction to explore the production of urban memory and its effect on contemporary spatial politics. During her residency, Honor will be developing the concepts and methodology the workshop initiated, via the production of a book publication, an exhibition, and accompanying events. The project has its origins in a workshop jointly organised by TM and the University of Sheffield in April 2016. Titled ‘Uncommon Building: Collective Exploration of a Fictional Structure’, it brought together architects, artists, and writers from both Sheffield and the TM network.


Can We Design the Conditions for Culture?

In late 2016 Theatrum Mundi organised three expert round tables to debate issues raised by Sadiq Khan’s plans to create a Cultural Infrastructure plan for London, by asking if and how the conditions for cultural production can be designed.

The three events were developed with and hosted by organisations that provide space for the production of artistic forms with very different relationships to the city: performance at Siobhan Davies Studios in October; making at SPACE Studios in November, and the virtual at The Trampery in December. They assembled over 50 artists, performers, architects, writers, urbanists, scholars, and institutional leaders as well as a representative from the Greater London Authority’s Culture Team.

The broad-ranging discussions revealed aspects of the relationships between spatial conditions for different kinds of culture labour and the way that labour is supported and valued, as well as proposals for ways to intervene in these conditions. A working paper, compiling the ideas and questions raised so far with related research, will be shared with the GLA’s Culture Team in April and developed into a full report for publication in September 2017.

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