Studio Resilient Futures

Learning from Besieged Sarajevo

Studio lead: Lucy Dinnen

Studio Friends
Professor Robert Mull, Global Free Unit, University of Brighton, Umea University
David Bickle, Hawkins\Brown
Dr Vedad Islambegovic, University of Sarajevo
Professor Kenneth Morrison, De Montfort University
Elma Hasimbegovic, Director, History Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina
Elma Hodzic, Curator, ‘Besieged Sarajevo’ Exhibition
Dan Cash, Atamate
Garret Patrick Kelly, SEE Change Network
Melika Konjicanin

With special thanks to Dr Paul Lowe, University of the Arts London and VII, for sharing his archive of photographs from the Siege of Sarajevo, which has been a continued source of inspiration for the Studio

Sarajevo is science-fiction!… Sarajevo can teach you how to survive the post cataclysm!… Sarajevo is the city of the future!

Sarajevo Survival Guide

FAMA, 1993

The pre-war city of Sarajevo was seen as the ‘European Jerusalem’ and cultural hub of the former Socialist Yugoslavia. The city’s global image changed during the Siege of Sarajevo (1992-1996), cutting-off 350,000 citizens from supplies of water, heating, electricity, food and comms for 1,460 days. 

Alongside violence and destruction, this also gave rise to an intensive period of cultural production, creativity, and human spirit, in which ordinary citizens and architects made tools, urban and architectural interventions that played a critical role in the city’s survival. 

Sarajevo remains in a perpetual state of crisis; suffering with trauma, political division, unregulated development, air pollution, erasure of public space and shared heritage, emigration and now, the Covid-19 pandemic.

Can we re-imagine Sarajevo as a laboratory for exploring alternative models of perpetual resilience for uncertain futures?

The Studio will explore models of resilient architectures that can redefine borders and empower vulnerable and marginalised communities in the age of global uncertainty.

Using the ‘Sarajevo Survival Guide’ (FAMA, 1993) as a starting point, we will investigate how Sarajevans adapted resourceful, transient, covert and often surreal infrastructures for survival.

We will ‘visit’ Sarajevo in the virtual and fictional sense; meet Sarajevans, get virtual tours of the City and museums, hear lectures and testimonies, dérive through 3D scans, archives, maps, war photographs, films and books. Re-interpreting and fantasising resilient architectures in relation to Sarajevo and our own ‘isolation’ in the Covid-19 pandemic.

We will work individually and collectively to make observations and propositions at different scales: Device and Individual, Building and Community and City Infrastructure and Society. Projects can be situated in present or future, real or fictional sites and crisis scenarios, through which we will explore informal development, right to the city, collective action, self-governance, protest, eco-action, and design activism.

As a studio, we will collaborate with Sarajevo based architect Vernes Causevic of projektvarhitektura, and bring together a team of international studio friends.

Four students laughing while sat at a bench, outside the Students' Union

International scholarships

We offer a generous package of financial support for international students, including undergraduate and postgraduate taught scholarships towards the annual tuition fee. Applications are open for existing offer holders.