In our current times of increasing crisis and anxiety, the relevance of more reflexive and fluid forms of spatial practice has never been more pertinent. Acting upon and engaging with the public realm, the field of spatial practices arguably allows people to reconnect with their own sense of agency through engagement in space and place, exploring and prototyping alternative futures in the here and now. To celebrate the publication of Spatial Practices: Modes of Action and Engagement with the City (Routledge, 2019), editor Mel Dodd will be in conversation with architecture critics Rowan Moore and Naomi Stead, considering the importance of alternative architectural practices.
Mel Dodd is an architect and academic who leads Spatial Practices at Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London, UK, where she is also Associate Dean of Knowledge Exchange. She has previously taught at RMIT University, where she was Programme Director in Architecture. Her teaching, practice and research interests focus on the relationships between social and political infrastructures and built environments. She has curated major events and exhibitions, and was Creative Director of the 2010 RAIA National Architecture Conference in Sydney – ‘extra/ordinary’. Most recently she was co-curator of the ‘Fundamentals’ Debates Series at Central Saint Martins with journalist Oliver Wainwright. She is an Adjunct Professor and Visiting Academic at Monash University.
Rowan Moore is architecture critic at The Observer. His book Slow Burn City (Picador, 2016), explores the unprecedented transformations of London in the twenty-first century. He was formerly the director of the Architecture Foundation, an architecture critic at the Evening Standard and editor of Blueprint magazine. His awards include the UK Press Awards Critic of the Year, and he also received the international Bruno Zevi Book Award for his previous book, Why We Build (2012). He holds an honorary doctorate from the University of East Anglia.
Dr Naomi Stead is Professor and Head of Department in Architecture at Monash University. Her research interests lie in architecture’s cultures of re/production, mediation and reception. She is an award-winning and widely published architecture critic and is presently a columnist for the San Francisco–based Places Journal where she writes essays on concepts and mythologies within and without architecture. She is also leader of the ARC Linkage project ‘Equity and Diversity in the Australian Architecture Profession: Women, Work and Leadership’.