SAHGB Conference 2022: The Architecture of Borderlands

UK and Online

16, 17 and 20 May 2022 Online and in person
Co-hosted by Queen’s University Belfast and Manchester School of Architecture
Conference panels convened by Professor Gary Boyd, Dr Karin Elliott, Professor Richard Brook and Dr Luca Csepely-Knorr

The architecture of borderlands is often unique to itself. This is because borderlands often belong to nobody, as was the case in for instance the English/Scottish ‘marches’. Borders can delineate physical geographies, as in the Pyrenees which separate France from Spain, or political lines, such as the 49th Parallel which separates the United States from Canada. Each condition often generates architectures of its own, whether for instance ski resorts in the French/Italian Alps or British Army/RUC checkpoints between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

Walls and other physical barriers between one country and another, as in Berlin, or between one community and another, as in Jerusalem or Belfast, have received much critical attention from architectural historians and the political and social significance of these border manifestations is widely recognised. Proposed papers for the conference might address such physical structures – walls, watchtowers, bridges and so on – however, it is not only these to which this conference is addressed. Here organizers also wish scholars to consider individual buildings, complexes of buildings, or designed landscapes, which are a direct response to their physical location or their political role within a borderland. Architecture that exhibits commonality or neutrality, dependent upon its situation and context – buffer zones, no-mans-lands, and transitional spaces have spawned a range of programmes that facilitate either community interaction and cross cultural dialogue or conflict, smuggling, escapes, rituals, parades, performances, protests and other kinds of border events.

Papers are thus invited which consider the borderland architecture of any country or countries, of any period and of any style, in ways that are seen as positive or negative – or both. Papers should identify what is specific, in their subject, to the borderland in question, whether in response to its site, its political condition, or other factors. Papers may challenge or critique understandings of identity, topography, carceral geographies, territorialisation, representation, bordering, de-bordering and re-bordering.

Please submit abstracts of no more than 250 words no later than 25 March 2022. Those who are accepted will be notified by 31 March, with further details communicated thereafter.

More information can be found here.

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