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Popi Iacovou

University of Cyprus

Popi Iacovou, Lecturer at the University of Cyprus, is an architect, filmmaker and academic investigating transdisciplinary models of thinking and practicing architecture. Her research explores the intersections between architecture, performance and the moving image. Her methodology focuses on filming as a spatial practice for the study and interpretation of cultural and socio-political architectural and urban phenomena. Recent on-going research focuses on creative practices of archiving with a focus on reconstructing the multiple life cycles of buildings challenging dominant histories. Her work has been shown in film festivals and architecture exhibition venues such as the Melbourne Design Week, Copenhagen Architecture Festival, the 16th Venice Architecture Biennale, Hong Kong and Shenzhen Bi-City Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism, Byzantine Museum of Athens, the International Thessaloniki Film Festival and others. She has curated a number of architecture exhibitions for the London Festival of Architecture, The Gopher Hole (London) and the State Gallery of Contemporary Art – SPEL, Nicosia, Cyprus.

Secondment
ΝΝ Contemporary Art Northampton, 2023

Charis Nika

Charis Nika is an architect and researcher with an interest in the social, political and experiential aspects of architecture and urbanism. She is currently working on her PhD in the Department of Architecture at the University of Cyprus. Her research explores practices through which one can know and imagine the city and how such practices relate to questions of justice in the urban environment. Charis has completed postgraduate studies at TU Delft and undergraduate studies at Cardiff University. She has worked in architectural practices in Rotterdam, London and Cardiff. Her independent work has been presented in a number of exhibitions, including the 17th International Venice Architecture Biennale in 2021.

Sirius Front view

Andy Hewitt & Mel Jordan at Sirius Arts Centre

Andy Hewitt / Mel Jordan

Sirius Arts Centre, County Cork, Ireland, April 2022.

We are making three visits to Sirius in 2022 to complete a 31-day secondment. Our SPACEX research project is centred around ideas of commoning and the function of art as a politicizing tool. See our forthcoming essay, ‘Relational associations and critical deliberative processes as a politicalising force in social art practice’, 2022, Art & The Public Sphere, 11.1.

 

Our project for Sirius takes up a particular history of land ownership, focusing on the writing of Cork born, philosopher William Thompson. It is entitled, Talk to the Land and will include the development of participatory art project and an exhibition in one of the gallery spaces at Sirius. We are also planning more visits in order to develop our work on Thompson via public events and discussions. 

 

William Thompson’s An Inquiry into the Principles of the Distribution of Wealth Most Conducive to Human Happiness; applied to the Newly Proposed System of Voluntary Equality of Wealth, was first published in 1824. It was Thompson’s first major work in political economy, and it contains his most comprehensive critique of capitalism as well as his proposals for a co-operative society as an alternative to the existing state of affairs, which saw acute poverty amongst the lower classes in Ireland and the UK. Thompson identified many of the themes and analysis Marx and Engels would tackle half a century later. Common to them both is the use of the labour theory of value and of exploitation in understanding the creation of surplus value, wealth, and consequently inequality and mass unhappiness. It is claimed that Thompson popularised the word ‘competitive’ as a description of capitalism and also the word ‘socialism’ in debates in London with such notable political economists as John Stuart Mill. 

 

While on secondment at Sirius we visited Thompson’s old estate at Carhoogarriff, it was here that he proposed experiments for commoning. He willed the land to the cooperative movement although this was overturned and his sisters finally inherited the land. There is no evidence of the tower that he built as part of his experiment, no buildings remain. There is a plague memorising Thompson, (see image) but there is little more to acknowledge Thompson’s place in the history of socialism. 

 

Our work for, Talk to the Land, will see us engaging with his book, Practical Directions for the Speedy and Economical Establishment of Communities on the Principles of Mutual Co-operation, United Possessions and Equality of Exertions and the Means of Enjoyments, (Strange and E. Wilson: London), 1830. We are working on a new film, a collaborative leaflet and a series of text works.

Andy and Mel in conversation with Miguel and Ardeen at Sirius
Andy and Mel in conversation with Miguel and Ardeen at Sirius
Plague for Thompson at Carhoogarriff
Plague for Thompson at Carhoogarriff
Sirius from Gallery – Sea view
Sirius from Gallery – Sea view
Thompson’s book in the landscape at Carhoogarriff
Thompson’s book in the landscape at Carhoogarriff

SPACEX Training Event Artists / Writers Bursaries

We are delighted to announce three micro-bursaries for artists, writers and community activists to attend a SPACEX training event and public forum on arts and the urban commons in Coventry on June 30th and July 1st 2022. 

We have two bursaries of £150 to support creative practitioners to attend the two-day Spacex training event at Coventry University’s Centre for Postdigital Cultures. Day 1 introduces ethnographic research, field research and participant observation methods and brings researchers that have been working with publics through participation and creative practices to share their work. Day 2 is entitled the Arts and the Urban Commons Forum and is held at the LTB showrooms. Artists, curators and scholars share their work and ideas around the city and culture’s role in living together empathetically.  The bursaries are available for CV-postcode applicants who are invested in processes of commoning, community and public art in their practice, or who would like to learn about these themes. 

We are also offering a writer’s bursary of £300 for an artist to attend the Arts and the urban commons forum on Friday 1st July, and to write a 1,000 word review of the event. The bursary recipient will receive mentoring / support from Mel Jordan (SPACEX / Partisan Social Club). We are interested in supporting a creative practitioner who wants to develop their art writing and/or critical writing. The bursaries are available for a CV-postcode applicant who may have interests in arts–led regeneration, contemporary art, public and socially–engaged art.

We are keen to receive applications from Black and Global Majority artists, those who identify as living with a disability, and creative people from backgrounds which are currently underrepresented in the arts.

Please note the LTB Showrooms venue does not have wheelchair access.

How to apply

Please complete this short application form for bursaries to attend the 2-day SPACEX event, or this form to apply for the critical writing bursary by 5pm 6 June 2022.

Any queries please email mel.jordan@coventry.ac.uk

Read more about the SPACEX Training Event here

 

Badges for opinion formation, Freee Art Collective & Partisan Social Club, ongoing
Shopping, still from Phoenix City, Duncan Whitley 2021

SPACEX Training Event – June 30 & July 1, 2022

Day 1: Hosted by Centre for Postdigital Cultures @ ICE Building, Coventry University, UK. Starts: 10.45 registration, 11am – 6.00pm

Day 2: Hosted by Centre for Postdigital Cultures @ LTB Showrooms (upstairs at The Litten Tree Pub) Coventry, UK. Starts: 09.30 coffee / registration, 10 am – 6.00pm

SPACEX responds to the troubling rise of populist nationalism and conflict in European societies by engaging new publics and forging a culture that embraces diversity, difference, and discursive exchange within cities, towns and urban sites.

The lack of interdisciplinary knowledge by those working in the cultural sector has significantly affected the way in which the social benefit of cultural activities is understood, articulated and applied. SPACEX proposes that inventing new and inclusive ways of living together, requires the implementation of new transdisciplinary and cross-sectoral practices and methods, that connect spatial practice with cultural sociology, cultural policy, critical pedagogies and behavioural economics

The Coventry based SPACEX training event will consist of two days of talks and presentations addressing the contexts outlined in the SPACEX research action. The aim of the two-day event is to review research methods that draw on perspectives across the social sciences and humanities, in order that SPACEX researchers can devise an approach best suited to their contribution to the SPACEX action. The first day entitled, ‘An introduction to Cultural Sociology’, will cover traditional ethnographic research, field research and participant observation methods. It will introduce researchers to action research (with others), affective methodologies and creative and arts-based methods as well as feminist approaches to new societal challenges. While day one – concerns itself with methods and processes that help to explore the social and cultural contexts of working with others, day two engages with the institutions and practices of the city. For day two entitled ‘Arts and the urban commons: new visions for the phoenix city’ we move out of the university and into the city where we will discuss the issues arising from Coventry’s year as UK City of Culture. We will hear from artists, curators, researchers and local citizens, this will give an insight into some of the cultural activities that are played out in the city as well as the broader context of arts and culture as a UK government process of regeneration. We imagine questions of agency, function and the depoliticization of arts and culture will result from the talks and conversations planned for the day.

Confirmed speakers

(Day 1) Dr. Marcus Maloney, Dr. Akilah Maxwell, Dr. Saba Hussain, Dr Adrienne Evans, (Day 2) Duncan Whitley, Ryan Hughes, Diane Dever, Dan Thompson. Poster Provocations x 5: includes Melissandre Varin (B.o.o.K), Christine Eade.

Jasper Joseph-Lester & Simon King – The Walkative Project
Public participants creating a mosaic out of recycled archaeological finds at Kingston Museum with Recycle Archaeology

SPACEX KICK OFF meeting – exciting moments at the beginning of the project.

In 2020 we had to suspend the SPACEX project because of the COVID Pandemic and it was beginning to be hard to imagine it would ever start.  On 3rd February 2022, we hosted the SPACEX Kick off meeting. It was amazing to see so many researchers and organisations join the meeting. It enabled us all to get a sense of all the practitioners, curators, researchers, and activists that had committed to the project. This was the first time most people had met each other and this meeting enabled us to put faces to researchers who until now had just been abstract names aligned to institutions. The desire for a network around critical and spatial practices across the EU and beyond is a possibility and we have all started to make it happen.

Hold the Date! SPACEX ‘Work Package’ Seminar and Researcher Meetings.

Tuesdays 15, 22 & 29 March 2022 @ GMT 4.30 – 6pm CET 5.30- 7pm, EET+2 6.30 – 8pm

15 March 2022 PRACTICES
22 March 2022 URBAN SUBJECTS
29 March 2022 THE ARCHIVE    

We are hosting a series of three research ‘Work Package’ meetings.  The sessions will be an opportunity for SPACEX researchers to engage with the aims of the research action, framed around the Work Packages outlined in the SPACEX Grant Agreement. 

It will be an opportunity to meet other researchers from the network and for us all to discuss how our research, practice and cultural programming can fit with the SPACEX project. Meeting fellow researchers will also help in the planning of the Secondment Person Months over the period of the project. 

The seminars include contributions from leading researchers from the network who will offer insights on their own research activity. For the work package PRACTICES Barbara Holub and Paul Rajakovics will present their work, which sees over 2 decades of them working as transparadiso in the public realm with artistic practices, their most recent projects include the exhibition NORMAL direct urbanism x 4, 2021 at Forum Stadtpark Graz. The URBAN SUBJECTS session is led by Stavros Stavides, author of a number of books and articles on the commons, including ‘Common Space: the City as Commons’; THE ARCHIVE sees Christa Mia Lerm Hayes introducing her work and sharing her knowledge of practice research, author of numerous books most recently ‘W.G.Sebald’s Artistic Legacies: Memory, Word and Image’, 2022.

After hearing from the speakers there will be an opportunity for all researchers to contribute to a round table discussion in which all participants will be asked to introduce themselves and their research/ practice/ programming interests

All SPACEX researchers are welcome to all work package meetings (you don’t have to commit yet) and it will be great to see you at as many of these events as you can make so we get to know each other and gather some momentum as a community. 

Hold the Date!
SPACEX Seminar 1: PRACTICES
Tuesday 15 March 2022 @ GMT 4.30 – 6pm GMT +1 5.30- 7pm, GMT+2 6.30 – 8pm.
Speakers: Artists and SPACEX Researchers Barbara Holub & Paul Paul Rajakovics
Chaired by: Mel Jordan and Andrew Hewitt

SPACEX Projects starts 1st January 2022

Kick Off Meeting 3rd February 2022, hosted by Coventry University, convened by Andy Hewitt, Mel Jordan, Emma Mahony and Socrates Stratis. Supported by Kauser Husain and Cathryn Thompson-Goodwin

SPACEX Seminars (dates to be announced):

  1. Urban Subjects
  2. Archives
  3. Practices