Read about our staff and their research interests.
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Research Director Professor Eyal Weizman
Eyal Weizman is the founding director of Forensic Architecture and Professor of Spatial and Visual Cultures at Goldsmiths, University of London.The author of over 15 books, he has held positions in many universities worldwide including Princeton, ETH Zurich and the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna. He is a member of the Technology Advisory Board of the International Criminal Court and the Centre for Investigative Journalism.
In 2019 he was elected life fellow of the British Academy and appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2020 New Year Honours for services to architecture. In 2020 he was elected the Richard von Weizsäcker fellow at the Bosch Academy.Eyal studied architecture at the Architectural Association, graduating in 1998. He received his PhD in 2006 from the London Consortium at Birkbeck, University of London.
Centre Director Dr Susan Schuppli
Susan Schuppli is an artist-researcher and writer. Through investigative processes that involve an engagement with scientific and technical modes of inquiry, her work aims to open up new conceptual pathways into the material strata of our world. he has published widely within the context of media and politics and as an author of Material Witness (MIT Press 2020), which is also the subject of an experimental documentary.
While many projects have examined media artefacts—photographs, film, video, and audio transmissions—that have emerged out of sites of contemporary conflict and state violence, current work explores the ways in which toxic ecologies from nuclear accidents and oil spills to the dark snow of the arctic are producing an “extreme image” archive of material wrongs. Creative projects have been exhibited throughout Europe as well as in Canada, Asia and the US. SShe is an affiliate artist-researcher and Board Chair of Forensic Architecture. Previously she was Senior Research Fellow and Project Co-ordinator of Forensic Architecture. In 2016 she received the ICP Infinity Award for Research and Critical Writing.
Guest Professors Stafford Scott & Kamara Scott
Stafford & Kamara Scott, founders of Tottenham Rights, inaugurate Forensic Architecture's Guest Professorship Programme for 2022-23. Working within the framework of the Centre for Research Architecture's post-graduate curriculum, the Scotts will expand on their "War Inna Babylon" style narrations of Black British histories and campaigning strategies that were featured in their collaborative ICA exhibition, through the development of a series of lectures, workshops, and projects. These activities will provide students across Goldsmiths with the opportunity to utilise a range of technological and research skills to investigate human rights infringements across the globe.
Tottenham’s black community has a unique history of challenging racial and policing oppression spanning over at least three decades. Last year’s August violent public disturbances in the locality, sparked by the police shooting of black youth Mark Duggan, are only the latest events underlying a litany of state neglect (poverty) and enforcement policies, such as stop & search, targeting black youth. It is clear that the events of last August occurred as a result of the local Black community feeling disempowered and marginalised from the mainstream.
In addition to this the lack of representation meant that the community felt compelled to seek answers for themselves. In so doing they were treated with dismissive contempt by those in authority. In the public meetings and various reviews that took place in the immediate aftermath of the riots local community members cited this kind of response to their concerns as being the norm, as such it clearly helped to create an atmosphere where the frustrations and anger, of those whose voices are seldom listened to, erupted with such devastating consequences for us all.
Although some of the root causes of the confrontations remain the same, the political & social landscape and the nature of racism has been transformed over the last three decades. The most dramatic has been the transformation of the community. During the 1990s, the predictability of post-colonial and post-independence migration patterns to the UK from South Asia, the Caribbean, West Africa and Hong Kong changed irrevocably as new movements of people (from over a hundred countries) took place. While this transformed the metropolitan urban landscape, it also changed what were assumed to be relatively ‘fixed’ minority communities. Alongside, new and enduring global associations were created within communities, many often taking an explicitly political, religious or communal form.
Tottenham Rights has been established to meet the old and new challenges for those settled in the area. In particular, we aim to :
a) Challenge all forms racism (institutional and violent) by providing advice and advocacy service to victims and to hold institutions to account by developing public interest campaigning where specific cases through campaigning can lead to positive changes in legislation, policy and practices.
b) Develop a community empowerment programme through information sharing, by holding public & educational events and campaigning for greater local public inclusion, representation, transparency and accountability.
c) Build new community and social alliances. Alliance-building has existed as a traditional model of anti-racist work for several decades. However, with the dramatic rise of new media and the creative potential of other political techniques, traditional forms of political alliance-building and related activities need reinvigorating and thinking afresh in different ways. In a period where equalities, anti-discrimination and human rights work has come under sustained attack, new ways of conceiving anti-racist alliances and anti-racist politics, and linking domestic and transnational issues need to be developed.
Senior Lecturer Dr Ghalya Saadawi
Ghalya Saadawi is senior lecturer with an interest in the intersections of art and politics, Lebanese post-civil war art, political economies of art, critical human rights, theories of witnessing and testimony, among others. Saadawi's doctoral dissertation underscored the art practices and theoretical considerations that informed a rethinking of witnessing, representation, and ideology after the declared end of the Lebanese civil wars.
Following her MSc at the London School of Economics and Political Science, she was researcher for a number of Lebanese and international NGO’s. She was adjunct lecturer at the American University and Alba in Beirut offering courses in Lebanese contemporary art and politics, and 20th and 21st century art with an emphasis on social art history, critical theory and post-Marxist theory. Saadawi is now theory tutor at the Dutch Art Institute,and between 2015-17 she was Resident Professor of the Ashkal Alwan Home Workspace Program (Beirut). She has written for numerous publications and artist monographs and is recently at work on an Art Protocol that considers regulation in art, and an auto-theory manuscript on hypochondria. Saadawi is co-editor of Makhzin and is affiliated with the Beirut Institute for Critical Research and Analysis. She teaches the MA module Conflicts & Negotiations, Special Topics in Research Architecture for third year BA students, and Critical Methods workshops for PhDs.
Lecturer Christina Varvia
Christina Varvia convenes the MA stream in Forensic Architecture. Former Deputy Director and Lead Researcher of Forensic Architecture (FA), Christina joined the FA team in 2014 and held a variety of roles, from leading investigations and overseeing research and the development of new methodologies, to setting up office structures. She is trained as an architect at the Architectural Association (AA) and Westminster University, and has taught a Diploma unit (MArch) at the AA (2018-2020).
She was also a member of the Technology Advisory Board for the International Criminal Court (2018). Christina is pursuing her PhD at Aarhus University where her research focuses on biopolitics and imaging of the human body. She has received the Novo Nordisk Foundation Mads Øvlisen PhD Scholarship for Practice-based Artistic Research and is also a fellow at Louisiana Museum of Modern Art. She is a founding member and the chair of the board of Forensis, the Berlin-based association established by FA.
Lecturer Dr Ifor Duncan
Ifor Duncan is a writer, artist and inter-disciplinary researcher who focuses on political violence and watery ecosystems. He is Lecturer in Research Architecture at Goldsmiths, and has previously held the position of postdoctoral fellow in Environmental Humanities at the New Institute Centre for the Environmental Humanities (NICHE), Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, where he remains a research affiliate.
Ifor holds a PhD from CRA entitled Hydrology of the Powerless and is developing a book project Necro-Hydrology, a concept which exists where the knowledge and corresponding management of water in all its forms is produced as adversarial to marginalised communities and positions human and environmental justice as always intrinsically connected. Ifor has also been a visiting lecturer at the Royal College of Art, and has been a visiting tutor at the Dutch Art Institute and the Rachel Carson Centre.
Lecturer Dr Louis Moreno
Louis Moreno’s research, teaching and writing explores the spatial relationships and political economic forces that shape the social and cultural forms of everyday life. Specialising in urbanism and spatial theory, Louis’s academic background spans literature and philosophy, architectural history, urban geography and political theory.
His PhD research examined the urban incubation and architectural effects of financialised capitalism in post-industrial Britain. His current research examines the urban processes and cultural logic of financialised capitalism. Louis is a member of the research collective freethought, who co-curated the Bergen Assembly 2016 in Norway. He is also the joint program leader of the BA in History of Art at Goldsmiths. Louis's research explores the spatial, historical, and cultural systems of financial capitalism, with a particular focus on architecture, urbanism, and the cultures of everyday life. Louis is a member of the research collective freethought, who are currently fellows of BAK in Utrecht developing a new project on ‘Spectral Infrastructures’. Louis is also a part of Le Mardi Gras Listening Collective.
Lecturer Tomas Percival
Tomas Percival is an artist and researcher. His work investigates the spatial politics of securitisation, specifically in relation to questions of algorithmic governance, punitive geographies, bureaucracy, and rights. He holds an MFA from the Interdisciplinary Studio programme at UCLA, and has participated in residencies at SOMA and the Jan van Eyck Academie. Previously, he was a visiting fellow at the Institute of Political Science at Leiden University.
His projects have been exhibited in Europe and the United States. He is currently a PhD candidate at the Centre for Research Architecture.
Affiliated Researcher Dr Lorenzo Pezzani
Lorenzo Pezzani previously convened the MA stuido in Forensic Architecture (2017-22). An architect and PhD graduate from the Centre, his work deals with the spatial politics and visual cultures of migration, with a particular focus on the geography and history of the ocean. His current research focuses on Border Forensics is an agency that mobilises innovative methods of spatial and visual analysis to investigate practices of border violence.
Border Forensics is an agency mobilising innovative methods of spatial and visual analysis to investigate practices of border violence, wherever this violence might take place. Working collaboratively with migrant communities and non-governmental groups, we aim to promote and defend the dignity and rights of migrants and to foster mobility justice.
Border Forensics builds upon the work that we have conducted over the last 10 years within the Forensic Oceanography project, through which we have sought to critically investigate the militarised border regime imposed by European states across the EU’s maritime frontier. While the Mediterranean remains one of the deadliest border zone in the world, we have set up Border Forensics as a non-profit association based in Geneva to conduct research and carry out investigations with and in support of communities exposed to border violence – broadly understood as the different forms of harm resulting from the existence and management of borders, wherever this violence takes place.
We operate at the intersection of four different domains. In our critical Human Rights work, we generate evidence of violations and contest the (il)legality of bordering practices, all the while interrogating and challenging the limits of strategic litigation and forensic work. Technology provides us with the practical tools and know-how to understand how border surveillance operates and devise new tools of documentation that can be shared with non-governmental groups fighting border violence. Our Research allows us to locate particular practices of border violence within a broader social and historical context of highly uneven (im)mobilities. It also provides a critical space to interrogate the ethical and political dilemmas that we encounter in our work. Arts and Architecture based strategies provides us with crucial means of visual and spatial spatial analysis. Through exhibitions and public events, we explore how borders themselves operate visually and spatially, all the while attempting to challenge the boundaries of what can be seen and heard.
Border Forensics produces human rights reports, maps, video reconstructions and other visualisations that ground demands of accountability for the violation of migrants’ rights and support claims for the identification of the deceased. Our findings have been presented in national and international courts and people’s tribunals, discussed in parliaments and political assemblies of various kinds, published in the international press and academic journals, and featured in exhibitions and public events.
Research Fellows and Postdoctoral students
Each year research and postdoctoral fellows as well as international visiting scholars spend a portion of their time at the Centre for Research Architecture participating in seminars and presenting their work.
Dr Jamon van Den Hoek from Oregon State University, USA is our current visiting research fellow 2018-2021. His research focuses on conflict ecology as a method for better understanding how environmental conditions and patterns are tied to processes of violent conflict. He uses satellite imagery to measure long-term and spatially diffuse changes in forests, agriculture, and surface water, and consider potential relationships to conflict and sociopolitical power as well as land use policy and climate change. Most of my research involves spatial modeling and landscape pattern analysis, and I tend to use open-source machine learning, image processing, geospatial analysis, and spatial statistics programming tools.
Postdoctoral fellows and visiting scholars included Imani Jacqueline Brown, Alessandro Petti, Ayesha Hameed, Patrick Kroker, Ana Medina, Stephen Turner, and Runa Johannessen.