Current PhD Students


Dele Adeyemo - On architecture, Blackness and Being

Dele Adeyemo - On architecture, Blackness and Being

My research explores architecture, blackness and being.

David Burns - Spatial Politics of Refusal

Research Architecture image

As part of an informal austerity movement, the current conservative government in Australia has signaled that the responsibility of providing subsidies to remote communities will be transferred from the federal to state level. These aggressive moves by the government have reignited the debates regarding the rights of Aboriginal and indigenous communities over their traditional lands. Actions have been directly linked to mining in Western Australia, to development revenue in New South Wales, and to broader issues of control and land rights precedents in the Northern Territories. In each scenario land ownership and architecture are central to the ongoing struggle, defining an emerging spatial politics based on refusal.

Ariel Caine - Spatial Photography

Kite trejectory and point cloud of Al Araqib

Is the shift from pixel to point-cloud photography changing the condition of the photograph itself from image plane to three-dimensional architectural space? How can this transformation of photography into architectural space allow it to function as counter-cartography within the context of Israel and the occupied territories? I wish to formulate an approach to what I perceive as a new emerging condition of photography, one which I term ‘Spatial Photography’. This new condition calls not only for an analysis and redefinition of the apparatus, the image, the distribution, reception, and universe of photography, but may also offer the potential for a radically different ethical and activist possibility it opens up from within itself.

Ifor Duncan - Undercurrents

Hidroituango Hydropress in Colombia

My PhD reads historic and contemporary violence through the cultural constructs and materialities of rivers as archives. This project considers a watery turn away from allegory or abstraction in favour of employing water as a multi-dimensional materiality. The turn to water, whether oceanic or hydrological intends to reconsider received ‘discursive models’ constructed for terrestrial or land-oriented thought. From flood to drought, trace to erasure, I apply this watery epistemological and ontological turn to explore two riverine sites of violence. This thesis offers a new approach to the spatial histories of violence through the technologies, processes, materialities and epistemologies of contemporary riverine environments.

Mustapha Jundi - Beirut Coastal Dynamics

Mustapha Jundi - PhD Project

My research focuses on the processes of the built environment in its larger context and more specifically, in regards to its relationship with nature. I employ different mediums including video, text and objects. My PhD project highlights the various modes of scientific measuring processes tackling the weather and the sea in the context of Lebanon. It considers the coastal dynamics as a site for the entanglement between regulations, capitalism, politics and social / spatial / construction practices.

Stefanos Levidis - Nyktopolitics; Flight in the Black Aegean

Stefanos Levidis

During the long summer of migration, in 2015, the Aegean sea, with its territorial waters, contiguous and contested economic zones, patrol areas and shorelines, was crossed more than a million times by people migrating to Europe on unseaworthy vessels. It is since narrated as a space of death, diaspora, displacement and liminality, a barrier separating two continents; Europe and Asia. Throughout my research, I attempt to map out fissures; disjunctions in the EU border apparatus and the registration and detention regimes it engenders. The hidden, the undocumented, and the aquatic fold into my work, as I attempt to negotiate a strategy for imperceptibility, and, ultimately, for flight from the territorialising forces of the sovereign state. Onassis Foundation Scholarship

Margarida Mendes - Deep Sea Imaginings

Deep Sea Imaginings

Bridging acoustic ecology studies with oceanography and environmental theory, this project reflects about our understandings of the ocean as a dynamic milieu that challenges environmental politics. Rendering the sonic ocean, I will analyse the technologies for mapping, sensing and capturing the oceanic space,reflecting how varying forms of spectral analysis lead to different ecosystem constructs. This project further aims to speculate how forms of oceanic counter-literacy, such as modes of sonic resistance and conservation can operate with precautionary measure by creating a practical work group with a coalition of NGOs in the North Atlantic, while aiming to deconstruct the extractive mentality and the partitioning of the environment by politics and epistemologies.

Sam Nightingale - Spectral Materialism

A Crystalline World (2017), photographic salt print

Spectral Materialism is an original theoretical concept and visual approach that seeks to re-imagineand re-image the encounter between time, technology and materiality of site. I explore how time-based media can be enacted as a mediating technology that opens up the possibility for another (counter) visuality to come to presence – one in which the visible, invisible, material, immaterial, human and non-human have equal standing. Spectral Materialism opens up the possibility for what Nicholas Mirzoeff calls a ‘countervisuality’: an aesthetics that is counter to the visual regimes that produce subject-object and nature-culture separations complicit in the rise in the Anthropocene.

Rachel O'Reilly - Planetary Dysgovernance

Rachel O'Reilly Drawing Rights

When struggles around infrastructure developments appear in public against the limits of the land, water and social reproduction, the imperialism of structural adjustment by infrastructure appears takes the plain view, also in the recruitment of community into grassroots installs of corporate investment socialities. The sheer scale of present-day developments across the planet, combined with the gap left by increasing value uniformity, neutral branding, and singular vocabularies of extinction-oriented ‘best practice’, creates epistemic-political rifts and gaps of symbolic opportunity, where religious, environmental, new labour, indigenous and subaltern communities have been able to differently occupy, and challenge, in turn, the ‘fundamentalist’ dimension of late capitalist developmentalism, thus querying the category of the infrastructural itself.

Joao Prates Vital Ruivo - Histories of Soil

Cinema in Angola

The combined use of the military apparatus with urban planning is driving the formation of new technologies of governance that are shaping the territory at different scales. Departing from the Angolan government’s plans to redevelop Luanda, this research project aims at unravelling the thread between urbanisation, violence and surveillance, to demonstrate how urbanisation has become the continuation of war by other means. In particular I exmaine the ways in which resistance movements shape the bio-politics of the land.

Asim Rafiqui - Invisible Geographies

Invisible Geographies

My research focuses on “seeing” into communities and geographies made “invisible” by the interests of the state. A focal point is the city of Gwadar, Pakistan, where a hegemonic, state-centred discourse of “globalisation” and “modernisation” and a conviction that there are no other futures or ways of being, justifies not only large scale infrastructure projects, but also the violence and dispossession that accompanies them. But what other ideas of “modernity” exist and can help break this cycle? What alternative imaginations of the future are available for us to work with? How do indigenous and local communities resist the acts of the state, and what does their resistance tell us about alternative ideas of progress, development and futures? Based on ethnographic work, my work uses fictional photography and film, graphic illustrations and architectural models, to “see” into these invisible spaces, and represent alternative modernities and visualise futures as yet unimagined and ‘invisible’. 

Francesco Sebregondi - Operational Urbanism: Abstract Machines and Concrete Violence in the Gaza Strip

Research Architecture image

My research examines the built environment of the Gaza Strip since the withdrawal of Israeli army and settlements in 2005. Does the continuous making and unmaking of Gaza's urban fabric constitute a new model of urbanism? By tracking the ebb and flow of concrete in and out of the enclave, as its patterns of distribution, aggregation, and disintegration, my research traces the intricate diagram of power that crisscrosses the Gaza Strip. The notion of "operational urbanism" is proposed here to designate the machinic framework that binds together computational logistics, monitoring technologies, and military targeting to generate an urban environment of total control. Chase-AHRC Studentship.

Anna-Sophie Springer - The Nature of Investment: Natural History, Forests, and Finance in the Malay Archipelago Since 1835

Anna Sophie Springer

My research investigates the changing modes of investment in tropical nature arguing that zoological and botanical scientific objects offer an under-examined archive for tracing the complex geopolitical legacies of environmental and colonial violence and their attendant visual economies. I link colonial practices of “collecting” to current strategies for “banking” nature. I also trace practices of forest modification from the invention of Prussian forestry to the ongoing monocultural plantations of oil palm in Indonesia. My analysis of colonial scientific practices in Nusantara—through specimen collecting and forest modification—provides the historical basis against which I go on to investigate contemporary modes of investing in nature through “species banking” and “forest financialisation.” Chase-AHRC Studentship.