Sheffield Design Week Design Symposium

sdw3Welcome to the Sheffield Design Week Design Symposium 2016.

This year the conference is a partnership with Sheffield Hallam University Architecture Department, and is part of the Catalyst: Festival of Creativity.

The symposium theme is ‘Design as Distributed Agency’. We claim that the ability to design and make change is always shared, and to extend the potential of this is important democratically. This starting point acknowledges that designers are operating in interdependent economic, social, political, technical and cultural networks. We also understand that the materials with which we design are not passive- they are acting on, with, and in response to our gestures and decisions as a designer.

We are interested in the process of design as one of making/ remaking/ repairing/ modifying/ hacking/ and crafting with others, both human and non-human. We consider those who design, occupy and use buildings, objects and spaces to have the potential to do so in creative and even subversive ways.

We are pleased to be able to offer FREE entry to the Symposium, please note you will have to book your tickets through the links below.




Book Tickets

When: Wednesday 26th October
Where: Pennine Lecture Theatre, Sheffield Hallam University


2.00pm Session 1
Design as Distributed Agency: SHU_Architecture

Speaker: Julian Marsh

Julian Marsh is a retired architect and currently Professor of Architecture at Sheffield Hallam University. He trained at Cambridge and has taught at Cambridge, Nottingham, Nottingham Trent and De Montfort Universities as well as Sheffield Hallam. He was a founding partner of Marsh Grochowski Architects designing projects which have won numerous RIBA and Civic Trust Awards, most recently for the Meat Factory, which won both national awards in 2011. He is currently active in the community energy field having been the founding Chair of Mozes, a community run ESCO in Nottingham, and now is project Co-ordinator for the Nottingham demonstrator of the Horizon 20-20 Sensible Project, researching the potential for energy storage to become the foundation for the widespread sharing of locally generated energy within communities.

Speaker: Gabriel Tang

Gabriel Tang is an architect and Senior Lecturer in Architecture at Sheffield Hallam University, UK. He trained at the Bartlett, University College London, UK, and worked in the offices of Foster + Partners, London. Currently completing a PhD at the University of Edinburgh, UK, on the novel use of deployable gridshells as formwork for concrete shell construction, his research interests lie in technology culture, material tectonics and the innovation synergies between architecture, structure and construction processes. He is co-author of the book entitled Timber Gridshells, Architecture, Structure and Craft released by Routledge later this year in 2016.

Speaker: Sam Vardy

Sam is Senior Lecturer in Architecture at SHU_Architecture, where he leads the M.Arch in Architecture course. This innovative Part 2 programme is concerned with the praxis of architecture as a fundamental, socially and politically transformative, act, and hence carries out creative and critical investigations of multiple forms of practice. Sam’s research furthers these questions, and his doctoral study established the notion of Spatial Self-organisation, which attempts to reframe the relations between spatial practice, political action and processes of subjectivation in urban conditions.

His 2016/17 teaching at SHU_Architecture includes the studio Design as Distributed Agency, and with Atelier 3 investigating Skein: Posthuman Territories, Matter and Programmes across the South Wales Coalfield and in Port Talbot.

Sam is a founder member of the critical art practice a place of their own which explores social inequalities and injustices through critical thinking and creative practices, founded with Paula McCloskey. We use critical creative research methods and art practice to explore ideas concerning the production of subjectivity, encounters, the family as a place of radical imagination, capitalism, posthumanism and climate change.

Sam is also on steering group of the national Architectural Humanities Research Association (AHRA).

Speaker: Dr Julia Udall 

Julia is a director of social enterprise architecture practice, Studio Polpo and a Senior Lecturer inArchitecture at Sheffield Hallam University. Her 2016/17 teaching at SHU_Architecture includes the studio Design as Distributed Agency. Over the past 8 years she has taught Masters in Urban Design, Masters in Architectural Design, M.Arch Architecture and Landscape at The University of Sheffield, including post-graduate design studios ‘Future Works’ and ‘Design it Together’.

Julia has recently completed work as a Post-Doctoral Research Associate on the Arts and Humanities Research Council ‘Connected Communities’ project, ‘Stories of Change’, which investigates energy and industry, past, present and future, working across a number of factory sites in the Don and Derwent Valleys.  Her research interests include ecological, social and spatial justice; architectural and urban activism; commoning; making, industry and craftsmanship; and diverse economies. This autumn she will take part in Eco Nomadic School, investigating community economies, in Northern Italy with Brave New Alps.

Q&A: 3:30pm – Session finish 3.45pm

Break 15 minutes


4.00pm Session 2
Design as Distributed Agency: Guests 

Speaker: Cesar Reyas DPR Barcelona

Co-founder of dpr-barcelona as editor specialized in technology and city issues. Co-author of the book “Sustainable Architecture” which was long-listed for the Riba Book Awards 2008 for Architecture and Construction.  His work seeks a thermodynamic approach to architecture focusing on social issues. His research deals with the development and application of low-tech biomaterials for architecture. He drives the research platform entropicIQ.

dpr-barcelona is an architectural research practice based in Barcelona, dealing with three main lines: publishing, criticism and curating. Their work explore how architecture as discipline reacts in the intersection with politics, technology, economy and social issues. Their publications, both digital and printed, transcend the boundaries of conventional publications, approaching to those which are probably the titles of architecture in the future, exploring the limits between printed matters and new media, transforming traditional publishing practice [as we know it] into a live exchange of knowledge. Their [net]work is a real hub linking several publications and actors on architecture and theory.

Speaker: Territorial Agency

Territorial Agency is an independent organization that innovatively promotes and works for sustainable territorial transformations. Territorial Agency works to strengthen the capacity of local and international communities in comprehensive spatial transformation management; it’s projects channel available spatial resources towards the development of their full potential. Territorial Agency works for the establishment of instruments and methods for ensuring higher architectural and urban quality in the contemporary territories, and it’s work builds on wide stakeholder networks. It combines analysis, projects, advocacy and action.

Ann-Sofi Rönnskog is an architect and urbanist from Finland. She has established Territorial Agency together with John Palmesino. Her work focuses on the architectural and spatial analysis of contemporary city transformation processes. She has participated in a pioneering research in the field and has developed new modes of representation and analysis of the contemporary inhabited environment, with particular attention to the spatial and architectural configurations of European metropolitan regions. Her works and research explore what architecture can do and what it can become, and fosters new roles for the profession in a rapidly changing urbanised world. She has studied in Oulu, Copenhagen, Helsinki, and at ETH Zurich. Her thesis work on the Helsinki metropolitan region explores the contemporary developments of the Finnish Capital city. She has worked as scientific assistant at ETH Zürich / Studio Basel – Contemporary City Institute with Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron in Basel, Switzerland where she has curated the mapping project for the book Switzerland – An Urban Portrait (Birkhäuser 2005) and has contributed to research on Paris, MetroBasel, and the Canary Islands. She has co-curated the Institute’s participation in the 10th Architecture International Exhibition at the Venice Biennale and the exhibition Das neue Bild der Schweiz at the Swiss National Library, Bern.

John Palmesino is an architect and urbanist, born in Switzerland. He has established, together with Ann-Sofi Rönnskog, Territorial Agency, which has designed the integrated vision for the future of the Markermeer, in the Netherlands. He is in charge of the Master course at the Research Architecture Centre, Goldsmiths, University of London, where he is also conducting his researches for his PhD. He is the initiator and curator of the research project Neutrality, a multidisciplinary investigation in the territorial implications of UN policies and self-organisation processes of transformation and control of the contemporary human landscapes. He has been Head of research at ETH Zurich, Studio Basel / Contemporary City Institute, between 2003, and 2007, a research platform for the investigation of the transformation patterns of the city of the 21st Century founded by the Pritzker Prize winner architects Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron. Recent publications inlcude Switzerland–An Urban Portrait (Birkhäuser, 2007). His researches at ETH Studio Basel focus on Paris, Napoli, San Francisco, St Petersburg, Hong Kong, and the Canary Islands. Open and Closed: Transformations in the 21st Century City is the working title of his forthcoming publication. He also has co-founded multiplicity, a research network on contemporary territorial transformations. The Milan-based organisation deals with contemporary urbanism, representation of inhabited landscape transformation, visual arts and general culture. Multiplicity is a research network of architects, urbanists, social scientists, photographers, filmmakers and visual artists.

His work has been exhibited at documenta11, the Biennale di Venezia, the Triennale in Milano, the KunstWerke, Berlin, the Musée d’Art Contemporaine de Paris, the Vanabbe Museum in Eindhoven, and IABR Rotterdam.

Session finish 5.30pm

Venue Info

The Peninne Lecture Theatre
City Campus
Sheffield Hallam University
Howard Street
S1 1WB

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