Spatial Articulations of Collective Identities in the Context of Middle Eastern Cities

Friday 23rd September 2016, 9:00-19:00

Department of Architecture, University of Cambridge

As Tim Cresswell and Ginette Verstraete theorize, place is the stage for performance—for the creation of identity. Accepting this notion “can help us think of place in radically open and non-essentialized ways where place is constantly struggled over and reimagined in practical ways. Place is the raw material for the creative production of identity rather than an a-priori label of identity” (Verstraete & Cresswell, 2002: 25).

Through this one-day symposium we attempt to discover themes of identification as an ongoing and changing process rather than identity as a rigid social construct embodied in the form of physical representations. The problem is not the destruction of identity by means of the rising and omnipresent conflict in the Middle East but it extends to a search for the self, a reconstruction of a long lost collective sense of being, or a reconciliation between the cherished past, the intrusions of the present, and the unknown future.

The question of identity in the Middle Eastern context cannot be more evident than today, given the problematic dichotomies of religion and secularism, tradition and modernity, oppression and emancipation, making it essential to discover the theme in relation to one of its most explicit representations, the built environment.

This event is generously funded by the School of Arts and Humanities and the Department of Architetcure, University of Cambridge and Churchill College.

Image above: Chris Friel/ Damascus 1950

Coloured lion with text.png

Screen Shot 2016-07-03 at 17.02.01