Studio (re)-Activist Architecture

Divided Cities

Studio lead: Simon Baker


Britain leaving the European Union is one of the most seismic political events in the last decade. It marked the first time any nation had decided to leave the European alliance. Nationhood and autonomy are issues that transcend the United Kingdom. Many areas of Europe have strong secessionist and Pro-independence movements wanting to redraw political borders of control and autonomy. There are over two hundred and eighty active separatist movements.

This year the studio will be based on the Isle of Man. 

The Isle of Man is one of the British Isles, located in the Irish Sea off the northwest coast of England. The island lies roughly equidistant between England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales. It is not part of the United Kingdom however it is a crown possession under the supervision of the British Home Office, where The United Kingdom Government is responsible for the defence and international relations of the Island. 

The studio will adopt the scenario that the Isle of Man, revokes British crown dependency and successfully secures national independence as a sovereign state, based on a republican form of government with the aim to further and safeguard the interests of Man and to protect the individual and collective rights of its people.

Students will explore this new speculative future, to actively and aggressively tackle real issues of population decline, migration, reduced birth rates, as well education, trade, employment and energy security.

We will investigate and project possibilities that could emerge from the island's unique position on Brexit’s new customs border defining new global relationships by returning to a historic position of free trade and “smuggling”. 

Our position will be informed by key texts; 

Keller Easterling; extrastatecraft…..the free zone phenomena - incentivised urbanism; headquartering and sheltering for global power players as well as; Alastair Bonnett; off the map – ferrel places and what they tell us about the world.

The studio adopts the spatial participatory practices of the situationist international; the derive and Constructed situation to explore specific places and identify different and diverse user groups.  With the “voices” of Manx islanders, the students will define active architectural structures of separatism to identify new speculative futures.  We will explore different possibilities of what it could mean to be independent.