Friday, 23 October 2015

Utopia on Trial

Next month, I shall be at the event below, talking about how postwar council estates were set up to fail because they were 'utopian':

Utopias! Experiments in perfection conference, 12 November, Letchworth Garden City

The 2015 Conference of the University of Hertfordshire's Social Science, Arts and Humanities Research Institute (SSAHRI)

Spirella Ballroom
Bridge Road, Letchworth Garden City, Hertfordshire, SG6 4ET
10.30am-5pm, 12th November 2015
(followed by a public lecture and reception)

This year's SSAHRI conference, organised by colleagues at the University of Hertfordshire and the University of Lincoln, and very kindly supported by the Letchworth Garden City Heritage Foundation, is on the theme of utopias.

It is very appropriate that the conference will be taking place in Letchworth, the world's first Garden City – and one of the first practical experiments in Utopianism. The conference is exploring the concept of Utopia – we will be looking at utopias from all sorts of angles: social, economic, educational, environmental, literary, cultural, aesthetic and philosophical to name a few.

The conference Keynote speech will be delivered by distinguished architectural historian of the 20th century, Professor Alan Powers. In other plenary and panel sessions we expect to range across some diverse and fascinating utopian themes including utopian politics, ideas about "The Ideal City"; Utopian visionaries; the way Utopia has been expressed in Garden Cities, New Towns and planned estates in the UK; how Utopianism has sometimes shaded into 'dystopia'; Utopianism as a social and economic vision for the future; and literary visions of Utopia.

Free. All welcome.


PROGRAMME – 12 November 2015

Tea/coffee/biscuits/fruit from 9.30am

Morning sessions chair: Professor Jonathan Morris

Session 1: Situating utopias 
10.30 Welcome - John Lewis LHF 
10.40 Introduction to SSAHRI conference - Professor John Senior, UH 
10.45 Keynote lecture – Professor Alan Powers - Milton Keynes or Civilia? Real and imagined utopia of the Pop period 
11.35 Q and A with speaker 

Session 2: Exploring utopian places - design, planning and architecture 
11.45 Mr. David Ames, LHF: Letchworth - the first garden city utopia? 
12.00 Dr. Daniel Marques Sampaio: Canary Wharf and Greenwich Peninsula: Reflections on the Utopias of Turbo Capitalism 
12.15 Dr. Paul Cureton: Garden City Utopias & Everyday Life: exploring the spatial accessibility of Welwyn Garden City 
12.30 Eva Sopeoglou: Utopia 'outside': exploring architectural approaches 
12.45 Dr. Susan Parham: Utopias, food and the radical tradition 
13.00 Dr. Ian Waites: A paradise, what an idea! The postwar council estate and 'Utopia' 

13.15 Buffet lunch

Afternoon sessions chair: Dr Steven Adams 

Session 3: Considering utopian ideas - health, place, work, gender and beyond 
14.00 Dr. Pat Simpson: Prince Peter Kropotkin: Anarchism, eugenics and the utopian ideal of Letchworth Garden City 
14.15 Dr. Steve Shelley: Multiple Utopias when exploring the future of work and the environment 
14.30 Professor Ursula Huws: When Adam blogs: Cultural work and the gender division of labour in Utopia 
14.45 Dr. Marta Rabikowska: Community Utopia and Agonism: The role of multiplicity and embodiment in building community relations in a context of participatory arts in superdiverse community 
15.00 Dr. Chamu Kuppuswamy: Urban Commons: Utopian idea or the future? 
15.15 Q and A 

15.40 Afternoon tea

Session 4: Part A: Investigating the utopian imagination 
16.00 Alex Anthony-Lewczuk: Re-evaluating DUNE – Ecological and Theological Dystopias? 
16.15 Dr. Neil Maycroft: Never mind my jet-pack, where's my four-legged chicken? 

16.30 Part B: Facilitated discussion between panelists and participants 
(ranging across ideas from the whole day, facilitated by Steven Adams)

17.15 Drinks and exhibition

Evening session chair: Professor Matthew Cragoe, UL 
18.00 Introduction by Matthew Cragoe 
18.05 Public lecture - Professor Carenza Lewis 
Brave new world or toil and trouble? The long view of new towns 
19.00 Q and A 

19.30 Close

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