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Walls: boundaries in a networked world



Monday 1 April 2019
6.30 — 8pm

This event has now ended

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Hidden Archaeology of the City of London

Image by Charles T. G. Clarke

Join us for a panel discussion exploring the architectural, political and experiential implications on establishing physical borders in today’s world.

Despite predictions of the emergence of a world without borders, walls (and especially border walls) have a very real presence in our daily lives. Walls separate the private from the public, the human from the natural, the “us” from the “other”. And while we can rightly claim that technology and climate change are permeating boundaries previously seen as fixed, the physicality of these walls remains.

In this panel discussion, we invite architects and designers to examine the architectural and spatial relevance of walls in a contemporary context. They will look at walls that persevere in today’s supposedly networked world on various scales, exploring the experiential and political implications of establishing walls on both a building, urban, and national scale. We will strive to move beyond understanding walls as impenetrable objects and delve into the ramifications of their often very real permeability and the ways in which individuals negotiate these conflicting characteristics in their daily lives.

Are walls necessary in a contemporary world? How can architects make a positive contribution to conversations surrounding the implementation of new boundaries or the maintaining of existing ones? Is a world without walls feasible in the near future? And how do walls affect our perceptions of space?


Ana Naomi de Sousa (chair) is a filmmaker and writer, whose work addresses history, spatial politics and identity. She has directed documentaries, including The Architecture of Violence; and Angola – Birth of a Movement, and was co-producer of the Rebel Architecture series for Al Jazeera English. She has collaborated with Forensic Architecture, most recently on the interactive documentary, Saydnaya.

Rowland Atkinson is the Chair in Inclusive Societies, working within the Urban Studies and Planning department at the University of Sheffield, as well as across the faculty of Social Sciences. His research has addressed household displacement due to gentrification and more recently the phenomenon of the gated or fortified community. He is the author of Domestic Fortress, published by Manchester University Press and is working on an upcoming book to be published by Verso on the role of the super-rich in the UK’s residential context.

Yara Sharif is an architect and holds a PhD from the University of Westminster. Her book Architecture of Resistance: Cultivating Moments of Possibility within the Palestinian/Israeli Conflict investigates the relationship between architecture, politics and power, and how these factors interplay in light of the Palestinian/Israeli conflict.

● Fully booked

● Cancelled

Monday 1 April 2019

6.30 — 8pm

Clore Learning Centre, Burlington Gardens, Royal Academy of Arts

£15, £9