Studio 04: Public Protest – Spaces of negotiation

Carl Fraser

How do we shape the city? How do we claim, occupy and inform spaces as people who live, work and play? Occupations, pickots, boycotts, marches and riots – how we gather in spaces of significance and power – or in proximity to stakeholders and decision makers that designate the direction of social, political, economic and physical transformations to the landscape, are a critical part of understanding the conflicts of interest within our daily urban life.

People protest when they feel that the existing mechanisms of representation are not adequate to represent their needs, that they are not provided with the platform or resources to support and facilitate their lives. We will put the aims of the protests to one side, and instead explore them as a social tool to raise an objection. Protests have much to teach us about negotiation with others, not just over the use of spaces but other contentious issues in society.

In conjunction, what is produced in the interim, during the act of protest are spaces of shared identity and meaning created around a common cause in an accessible space. We will look at the myriad of ways that people use dissent as a mechanism to have their voice heard, by creating something together, to transform the city – even if only temporarily.

The studio is for students who want to explore, develop and represent a more layered, critical and nuanced understanding of the history of place. Using dissent and the necessary negotiations that the act requires, as a tool to aid this understanding. All places have a history of negotiation over territory and its use – which helps to bring them into their current form. Understanding this legacy through acts of dissent can better inform us about the places that we inhabit.


  • La battaglia di Algeri – Gillo Pontecorvo – 1966
  • Office Baroque – Gordon Matta Clark – 1977
  • The Battle of Orgreave – Jeremy Deller – 2001


  • Henri Lefebvre – The Production of Space – 1974
  • Ivan Illich – Tools for conviviality – 1973
  • Michel de Certeau – The practice of everyday life – 1984
  • Patrick Geddes – Valley section – 1909


  • Corridoio Vasariano, Florence, Italy – Cosimo I de' Medici – 1565
  • Northern Ireland peace lines, Belfast – 1969/98
  • Houses of Parliament, Westminster, London – SOCPA Zone – 2005
  • Cable Street, Limehouse, London – (site of the battle of) – 1936

Studio image: TBC. Banner: Hans Op de Beeck, Staging Silence (3), video still (detail), 2019

Occupy London


Tutor Carl Fraser

Dissertation Studios 2022–23