Tag Archives: Resilience

Shock City: Launching the Year of Resilience

CCW Visiting Scholar Marsha Bradfield has organised a two-day event called Shock City: Resilience and the Anthropocene. This international event will launch the Year of Resilience (YoR) and features practitioners from Chelsea, Camberwell and Wimbledon Colleges of Art and beyond.

Resilience can be understood as the capacity of a bounded network – a person, bacterial culture, a forest, a city or an economy – to deal with change and continue to develop. It is a response to shocks and disruption, like an infection, financial crisis or climate change that spurs creative practice and encourages renewal. Resilience is a means of taking action and creating sustainable ways to co-exist within our biosphere.

This year, resilience will weave together research and teaching across Chelsea, Camberwell and Wimbledon. Shock City aims to establish an ethos for supporting this integration. It will provide a community response to broader change that is shaking the foundations of cultural production, including art and design education.

YoR will actively intersect with Cultures of Resilience (CoR), a two year, cross-UAL project focused on researching and presenting a new cultural discourse on resilience.

We are also pleased to be joined by practitioners from CCC Head in Geneva and others beyond UAL who are exploring resilience in sensitive and situated ways. We will share specific examples and discuss them while walking, talking and workshopping. An exhibition will not only showcase resilient actions but also host traces of our emergent understanding over the two days.

SHOCK CITY is composed of three aspects: an exhibition, a practice exchange and a ‘day of doing’ via a walk and a workshop. All three aspects are open and anyone can join—staff, students and members of the public.


This exhibition will investigate urban actions that model resilience in contemporary cities; London and Geneva in particular. It is inspired in part by Actions: What You Can Do with the City, realised by the Canadian Centre for Architecture in 2007. This collection of actions aimed to reinvent daily life by engaging with urban space to change our relationships with the built environment. It identified the potential of everyday activities like playing, cycling, making and gardening for producing our cities in more creative ways.

To help us think about resilience as a consequence of our decisions and behaviours, the exhibition for Shock City will present postcards featuring actions of urban resilience. Each one should show a relevant image on one side and some accompanying text on the other: guidelines, reflections, facts or other information. The postcards should be standard size, roughly 148mm x 105mm. Beyond this, the brief remains open to encourage a wide array of responses.

You are invited to submit to this exhibition by sending your entry to:

Shock City

CCW Graduate School

Chelsea College of Arts

16 John Islip St, London SW1P 4JU

United Kingdom

DEADLINE: 27th October 2015

You can also create a postcard during the YoR launch event. Join Neil Cummings in tracing responses to the anthropocene in parallel with the panel discussions on 28th October 2015. Materials will be provided but you can also bring your own.

A practice exchange composed of panel discussions presenting initiatives from CCW and beyond. Each one is modeling resilience in innovative and inspirational ways. Join us to learn more about initiatives such as,  LOOK AT THE (E)STATE WE’RE IN (LATEWI), #TransActing: A Market of Values, Textiles Environmental Design (TED), The Department of Repair  and Wilding the Edges.

Banqueting Hall, Chelsea College of Arts

10:00 – 10:30: Tea and Coffee
– Opening remarks by Marsha Bradfield and Malcolm Quinn

10:30 – 12:00: Empathy and Proximity: A panel chaired by Charlotte Web
– Edwina fitzPatrick and Geraint Evans (Wilding the Edges, CCW)
– David Cross (Fossil Fuel Divestment to UAL as a Social Enterprise)
– The Anthropocene Atlas of Geneva (CCC Head, Geneva)

12:00 – 13:30 Making and Repairing: A panel chaired by Aaron McPeake
– Robin Jenkins (Tsunami Escape Route, CCW)
– Ken Wilder (Interior and Spatial Design, CCW)
– Natalia Romik (The Bartlett, University College London)

13:30 – 14:30: Lunch provided

14:30 – 16:00: Community and Places: A panel chaired by Ezio Manzini
– Andrew Graves-Johnson and Patricia Ellis (Look At The [E]state We’re In, CCW)
– Marsha Bradfield (#TransActing: A Market of Values, CCW)
– Braulio Eduardo Morera (Arup)

16:00 – 17:00: Discussion led by David Cross
17:00 – 17:15: Closing remarks by Malcolm Quinn and Neil Cummings
17:15 – 18:00: Drinks

10:00 – 13:00 A curated walk in the environs of Millbank to explore anthropogenic impact and response. Meet on the Rootstein Hopkins Parade Ground at Chelsea for a 10:00 departure. Rain gear and comfortable shoes recommended as we will be walking rain or shine.

14:00 – 17:00  The Anthropocene Atlas of Geneva: workshop with CCC Geneva exploring their inspirational research. We will consider methods and collaborative resources of artistic practice to produce new interdisciplinary representations of the Anthropocene. Chelsea College of Arts, E-block, Room E305.


Aaron McPeake worked for many years as a lighting designer for Opera, Ballet and Theatre, but McPeake lost much of his vision due to an auto-immune illness. However, this has helped inform his artwork, and methods of practice. He was awarded PhD (2012) from Chelsea College of Art and Design, which examined adventitious vision loss, and its impact on visual artists and their practices. McPeake works with many different media and materials and has exhibited both nationally and internationally. Most of his work is interactive in nature.

Andrew Graves-Johnston was a leading collaborator on ‘Look At The (E)state We’re In’ project. He is interested (and concerned) by the way gentrification has suddenly become a byword for social cleansing. As well as being, at present, a mature sculpture student at Camberwell, he was a housing activist in the late 80/90s and was involved in the online/on the streets, global movements/protests of the noughties. Having been a squatter for 17 years, housing rights are very close to his heart. His studio practice is concerned with memory and he is currently researching how he can incorporate his activism into his practice.

Aurélien Gamboni develops a practice of critical investigation by the means of art, often involving field research and collaborations, and leading to multiple forms of interventions: installations, public discussions, texts and lectures-performances. www.ag-archives.net

Braulio Eduardo Morera is an urbanist and designer with a background in architecture and social sciences. He currently works as an associate, leading planning projects as well as resilience research, at the Arup International Development team in London. Braulio is also a PhD Candidate in Human Geography at University College London.

Bridget Harvey is a maker and PhD researcher exploring material practices of repair as a pathway to resilience and sustainability for makers and users. She is based between Camberwell and Chelsea colleges.

Charlotte Webb is an artist and researcher, currently undertaking a PhD investigating how the artist’s agency is enacted under the production conditions of the web. She has recently been involved in ‘The Work We Want’, a collaborative, cross-disciplinary investigation into the dynamics of global digital labour, which was showcased at the recent Web We Want festival at London’s Southbank Centre.

David Cross is an artist and Reader in Art and Design at the University of the Arts, London. Informing his research, practice and teaching is a critical engagement with the relationship between visual culture and the contested ideal of ‘sustainable’ development.

Edwina fitzPatrick is a UK-based artist whose work explores the living environment, especially in regard to mutability and change, focusing in particular on what happens when ‘grey’ and ‘green’ environments intersect and how human interactions have, and are affecting the nature, culture and ecology of a place. Edwina is also Course Director for MFA Fine Art, Wimbledon College of Arts, UAL.

Ezio Manzini is Chair Professor of Design for Social Innovation at the University of the Arts London, where he coordinates CoR: the Cultures of Resilience Project. He started DESIS: an international network on design for social innovation towards sustainability. Most recent book: “Design, When Everybody Designs. An Introduction to Design for Social Innovation”, MIT Press 2015.

Geraint Evans is interested in the ways in which we perceive, encounter and experience the natural world and read it as landscape. Geraint’s solo exhibitions include Newport Museum and Art Gallery; Wilkinson Gallery, London; Chapter, Cardiff and CASA, Salamanca, Spain. He has been a resident artist at the Banff Centre for the Arts, Canada and, in 2003 received a Pollock-Krasner Foundation Award and the Berwick Gymnasium Fellowship. He is the Course Leader for MA Painting at Wimbledon College of Arts, UAL.

Hannah Entwisle Chapuisat‘s research interests include seeking enhanced forms of collaboration between artists and non-artists through transdisciplinary research. Her research builds upon her background in law and peace studies, and her work with the United Nations and NGOs on issues related to humanitarian affairs and human rights, and, most recently, protecting cross-border disaster-displaced persons.

Janis Schroeder is an artist and researcher working with video, photography, artist books and essays. His research and artistic practice is about the influence and language of image montage. He uses the video essay as a niche form of knowledge production and representation to take a critical view on the power relations within these images. He currantly works as an assistant in the CCC Programme at Geneva University of Art and Design.

Kate McHugh Stevenson is a native of Rhode Island, USA, now living in the Rhône-Alps region of eastern France. She is a writer, gardener, knitter, hiker, sourdough bread baker, canner of produce, and Henry David Thoreau enthusiast.

Ken Wilder is Course Director for the MA in Interior and Spatial Design at Chelsea College of Arts. His research explores Projective space, installation art, video sculpture, spatial practice, philosophy of art. He has exhibited widely in the UK since 1998, and has also exhibited in Ulm, Germany (funded by British Council).

Malcolm Quinn is Professor of Cultural and Political History, Associate Dean of Research and Director of Camberwell, Chelsea and Wimbledon (CCW) Graduate School.  His role at the University is to develop, sustain and promote world-leading research in art and design within CCW/UAL. Malcolm is also currently Chair of UAL Research Ethics Committee and CCW Research Committee.

Marsha Bradfield is an artist, curator, writer, educator and researcher. Marsha’s current body of work explores economies and ecologies of collaborative cultural production and has developed through practicing with Precarious Workers Brigade, Critical Practice Research Cluster and many more people besides.

Natalia Romik has created numerous artistic and architectural projects, including videos (It’s Not Here – about The Ghetto Heroes Monument), installations (JAD – post Jewish architecture in Silesia), performances (Zamenhof birthday, Shtetl Signboard) and she established the architectural collective, Senna, in 2013. Natalia is currently researching (post) Jewish architecture of memory and emptiness in contemporary urban reality of former Shtetls.

Neil Cummings is Professor of Critical Practice at Chelsea. He was born in Wales and lives in London.

Patricia Ellis is an artist, art writer, consultant and curator whose research spans all areas of contemporary art. She is also Contextual Studies Coordinator, Fine Art at Camberwell College of Arts and CCW Academic Coordinator for Enterprise and Employability, Teaching and Learning Exchange.

Robin Jenkins is a Senior Lecturer at Chelsea College of Arts on the Interior and Spatial Design Course. He studied at the Architectural Association, London. Robin has, for the past 10 years worked in academia but is also an RNLI Lifeboat Man on the River Thames. Recently Robin has consolidated his research, practice as and artist and role on the Lifeboat together, having been invited to partake in a project endeavoring to breath life back in to the Earthquake and Tsunami affected region of Northern Japan. Robin’s teaching and research practice concerns the investigation and promotion of solutions to disaster.

Top image: Superstudio, The Continuous Monument: St. Moritz Revisited, 1969

Cultures of Resilience

Cultures of Resilience (CoR) are the interwoven narratives, ideas, meaningful products and performances that, together, create the cultural fabric of an emerging society: a resilient society capable of facing and navigating the turbulence of our time, learning from experience how to thrive best. Resilience, when referred to in socio-technical systems, means a system’s capacity to cope with stress and failures without collapsing and, more importantly, the ability to learn from the experience. Therefore, it should be considered a fundamental characteristic for any potential future society.

The Cultures of Resilience Project is a two years UAL-wide initiative, the goal of which is to build a ‘multiple vision’ on the cultural side of resilience by putting together a set of narratives, values and ideas that are coherent in that they are all based on resilient systems, but in many other aspects they are very diverse. A multiplicity of images that, like the stones of a mosaic, may generate a larger one: a mobile, dynamic, colourful vision of a resilient, sustainable civilization. During UAL’s Research Fortnight (16-27 March), Cultures of Resilience will be holding a four day programme of events from 24-27 March.

CCW is contributing to Cultures of Resilience with Tracing Networks of Evaluation, led by research staff members Neil Cummings, David Cross and Marsha Bradfield. Discussing the work, Cross said, ‘We have enabled the values of competitive markets to dominate contemporary cultural production, we inhabit a mono-culture of evaluation, and this is not resilient. Taking our model from resilient ecosystems – where bio-diversity is essential for their reproduction- we intend to explore different, varied, even conflictual evaluative communities. For the week-long festival, we intend to exhibit a fragment of our ongoing research. Taking the University as an exemplar, we are mapping/tracing of some of its evaluative communities. These include student/staff numbers and composition, our financial entanglements, our stated aspirations, and our energy procurement. These tracings are enabling us to visualise evaluative networks, and assess their resilience. We would also like to run some live mapping/tracing workshops, to research in-real-time, and share the results of that research.’ Tracing Networks of Evaluation will be on Tuesday 24 March from 10am-1pm.

Cultures of Resilience is being led by Professor Ezio Manzini, UAL Chair of Design for Social Innovation.

CoR timetable

CoR Facebook page

CoR Exchange event on Facebook

Twitter: @CoResilience#CoR_Exchange

Top image by: Marsha Bradfield

Mapping/Tracing: Sustainability, Resilience and Divestment

Following the previous research exchange with CCC in Geneva, on Tuesday 20th January from 11am-4pm, there will be a collaborative mapping/tracing workshop with Dr Marsha Bradfield, CCW Reader David Cross and Professor Neil Cummings. The group will be researching and visualising UAL’s financial entanglements, for example, with the Royal Bank of Scotland —the fossil fuel bank, the University’s insurers and energy providers, etc. CCW’s project partners in Geneva, home to an extraordinary network of financial institutions and international civil society organizations, will be simultaneously doing the same mapping process in relation to Haute École d’art et de design de Genève (HEAD Geneva). All UAL postgraduate students are most welcome to participate. For more information about this workshop email Neil Cummings.

The aim of this partnership is to compare and contrast our approaches to the emerging field of practice-based research degrees. Rather than approach this in a generic way, we decided to develop a specific focus on the research interests we have in common, shared research interests are a critical engagement with the contested ideal of ‘sustainability’ and the problematic notion of ‘resilience’.

Following the mapping workshop, on the 27th of January, the two groups will be sharing their relational visualisations via a Skype session. This will feed into CCW’s visit to Geneva from 9—13 March 2015. For any UAL postgraduate students who would like to get involved with the partnership, please email David Cross.

Image: Tributary Diagrams, by Neil Cummings

CCW Graduate School and CCC/HEAD: Sustainability, Resilience and Divestment

In the past year CCW Graduate School and CCC/HEAD in Geneva have been developing a partnership between staff and students. From 10-13 November students and staff from Geneva came to London for the first collaborative sessions. David Cross, Reader in Fine Art and Graphic Design, is leading CCW’s side of the partnership and wrote about the recent visit.

‘The aim of this partnership is to compare and contrast our approaches to the emerging field of practice-based research degrees. Rather than approach this in a generic way, we decided to develop a specific focus on the research interests we have in common. Some shared research interests are a critical engagement with the contested ideal of “sustainability” and the problematic notion of “resilience”… The production of situated knowledge through action research and radical pedagogy… And of course, the central importance of artistic practice as an intersection of content, form and process.

When I was asked to lead a collaboration between CCW and CCC, I imagined a regular institutional exchange, and I expected my rusty French to be put to the test. But when we connected between London and Geneva via Skype, it was clear that communication wasn’t going to be a problem — our Swiss collaborators’ English was better than mine! Even better, from the moment our collaborators from Geneva arrived, our interaction was more sociable, creative and unpredictable than I had hoped. We began with an introductory show-and-tell session of research by staff, led by Professor Catherine Quéloz (CCC/HEAD) and Professor Liliane Schneiter (CCC/HEAD); and by PhD candidates Aurélien Gamboni (CCC/HEAD), Janis Schroeder (CCC/HEAD), Joana de Oliveira (CCC/HEAD), Manoela Afonso (CCW), Karel Sidney Doing (LCC), and Vanessa Saraceno (CCW). After this, our wide-ranging and critical dialogue was so absorbing and challenging that spontaneous action began to change the plan.

That evening, we went to Wimbledon for the launch of the new “sustainable” studio building by the architects Penoyre and Prasad, and the award of a Soil Association Gold Catering Mark to Baxter Storey, the caterers at UAL. We had been invited to announce the collaboration between CCC and CCW, but the computer stubbornly refused to show the presentations we had prepared. Faced with a blank screen, I invited the audience to participate in the work of picturing sustainability as a paradoxical and ambiguous idea, an urgent challenge that distracts us with technical problems when cultural transformation is the goal. Completely undeterred by the technical failure, our partners from Geneva stepped up to give a delightful collaborative speech performance that described their research interests while demonstrating their shared values of collectivity and participation.

The next day, we visited the inspirational MayDay Rooms in Fleet Street, a “safe haven for historical material linked to social movements, experimental culture and the radical expression of marginalised figures and groups”. Co-founders Anthony Davies and Iain Boal generously hosted us, and presented the collections of radical material held in the archive. I think we were all impressed by the elegant architecture, but what really inspired us was the MayDay Rooms’ ambition of going beyond critical engagement to activation — handling the historical archive material and interacting with the people who produced it, in order to energise current struggles.

Our final day together was to be devoted to a seminar. Before their visit to Chelsea, I had corresponded with Professor Quéloz to agree the choice of material. I proposed, The Three Ecologies by Félix Guattari, which identifies the compound ecological, social and psychological nature of the crisis. Catherine and her colleagues came back with, How Big is Big? by Peter Sloterdijk, which considers the revolutionary implications of Buckminster Fuller’s identification of the earth as a spaceship, and Mike Davis, Who Will Build the Ark?, which offers a thrilling image of a “mental tournament between analytic despair and utopian possibility”. We also planned to discuss artworks: Hans Haacke’s Rhinewater Purification Plant (1972) in relation to Olafur Eliasson’s Weather Project (2003-4), and Ursula Biemann’s video piece, Deep Weather (2013).

But the group was keen to pursue the ideas sketched out in our introductory session and developed at the MayDay Rooms, so rather than use our seminar to discuss artworks and writing, we discussed our options for action. Encouraged by the sense of shared possibility coming from our time together, I outlined my aim of persuading UAL to switch banks away from Royal Bank of Scotland —the fossil fuel bank— and to put our money with a bank that supports our aim of becoming a more sustainable university. Our fellow researchers from Geneva were really supportive, and went so far as to propose making divestment from fossil fuels a focus of our future collaboration. Geneva is home to an extraordinary network of financial institutions and international civil society organizations, so with creative and critical input, it seems we could make something exciting happen.

The collaboration between CCW in London and CCC in Geneva is going ahead: we are planning further meetings at Chelsea, a Skype session from London to Geneva on 27 January, and a visit to Geneva from 9—13 March 2015. If you’d like to get involved, please get in touch!’

Image: in the archives of the MayDay Rooms, photo by Marsha Bradfield