Common Ground for Urban Inclusion

London Met co-hosted a networking event for academics, students and practitioners with an interest in migration, inclusion, and city-making.

Date: 23 May 2022

Stakeholders, students, and practitioners were brought together by London Met’s Art, Architecture and Design School. and the non-profit organisation Architecture Sans Frontières UK, to discuss urban inclusion and migration, on Monday 16 May.

The event, held at St Luke’s community centre in Islington, marked the conclusion of the EU-funded project Designing and Learning in the Context of Migration (DESINC Live), and aimed to build a network of peers in London with an interest in migration, inclusion, and city-making. Across the room, it was clear that everyone was very happy to be part of a face to face event after nearly two years of virtual work.

The evening focused on how education and research can better equip built environment disciplines to address urban inclusion.

Beatrice De Carli and Lucia Caistor-Arendar, both London Met researchers, co-hosted the event and opened the evening with a presentation on the innovative pan-European course, Practices of Urban Inclusion. The course has been developed across four European cities and centres around issues of inclusive city-making in the context of migration. Three of the London Met students who took part in the programme were at the event, and their work was displayed on the side of the room in bright, bold colours.

A highlight of the pilot programme was bringing a variety of different disciplines together, not just architecture. Students with backgrounds in art, design, playwriting, journalism and more, were able to share their knowledge and approach the issue of inclusive city-making from all fronts.

Agnes Fouda, a student on the programme, created ‘Migrapoly’, a twist on Monopoly that highlights migrants’ journeys towards settlement in London. Agnes joined the course through London Met: “I applied because I’ve always been interested in migration. Throughout the courses, lectures and projects I’ve learned way beyond the scope of my own discipline. I have come out of the course totally changed, it has been life changing.” Since doing the course, Agnes has been awarded a Fellowship in Venice during the 2022 Biennale to continue exploring these themes.

Pooja Agrawal, a highly experienced architect and planner, co-founder and CEO of Public Practice, also spoke at length about inclusivity in architecture and design.

Speaking about the event, Agrawal said: “It’s really an honour to do something in person and in London. It feels like a really nice moment to see everyone and to talk about inclusion, something that is really close to my heart.”

Rae Goddard, a graphic illustrator and Aysha Aktar, a student from London Met’s Hyper Studio, documented the event  live, creating a wonderfully rich visual summary of the session.

Anne Markey, Interim Head of the School of Art, Architecture and Design, was also in attendance: “It is so nice to see a number of different services and stakeholders come together. It’s also great to step out of the University walls, by holding it at a community centre it makes it feel like a more cooperative event.”