Space, cultures and politics

This group supports research into the socio-political dynamics and implications of space production. Researchers operate across different scales, contexts, and cultures, with varied methods and expertise.

People participating in stories of change research project

About us

Research in this group is geographically distributed, paying particular attention to east-west exchange, spatial production in the global south as well as closer to home, and is historically wide-ranging. The group has a shared interest in urban production and urban transformation processes.

The group comprises a number of significant research teams, which draw upon a range of attitudes, interests and methods including:

  • Critical Historiography: Critical approaches to the official history of architecture, focusing on the overlooked, on revisionist histories of Modern Architecture, and on critical historiographical methodologies
  • Conservation and Regeneration: With concerns regarding time, managing change, heritage and memory
  • Urban (Hi)Stories: Visual and material cultures, mediating and exhibiting architecture

The focus of research undertaken varies significantly, from incidental and temporary installation work to regional planning, and across a broad geographical and historical spectrum.

Our Space, Cultures and Politics researchers have expertise in reuse of abandoned places, architectural history, urbanism and mediation of architecture.

Group members

  • Emma Cheatle
  • Luis Hernan
  • Irit Katz
  • Florian Kossak
  • Jo Lintonbon
  • Krzysztof Nawratek
  • Xiang Ren
  • Renata Tyszczuk

Featured projects

East-West Studies in Architecture and Landscape

East-West Studies in Architecture and Landscape is an international-facing, cross-cultural and cross-disciplinary project with a focus on exploring the social dimension and deepening cultural studies of architecture and landscape. It has been welcoming PhD researchers from East Asian countries in architectural humanities since 1996, and in landscape humanities since 2002. 
It aims to extend and expand architecture and landscape knowledge beyond the canonical Western context by valuing the “local knowledge” in Clifford Geertz’s terms and through comparative and collective “interpretation of cultures”.

Culture and Climate Change

Supported by UK Research Councils, funding bodies, charitable trusts, the University of Sheffield and the Open University.

Culture and Climate Change is a framework for a series of research and public engagement projects on climate change. We convene research projects, workshops, exhibitions, events and publications that invite contributions from leading researchers, artists, producers, journalists and policymakers. All of our work tends to be collaborative, interdisciplinary, experimental and ‘in public’. We want all of this work to contribute to a more dynamic and plural conversation around climate change.

Find out more

Towards radicalpostsecular urban theory

The project critically reviews urban post-secular theory inspired by Jurgen Habermas' intervention in the early 21st century. This theory was formulated in a general framework of post-Enlightenment and liberal thought. This 'liberal' postsecular urban theory is not (or no longer) answering fundamental challenges that contemporary cities are facing - both political and environmental. Therefore this research proposes radicalization of post-secular urban theory, which goes beyond post-enlightenment and liberal frameworks.