I am pleased to have joined you in Brighton as Head of School and Professor of Architecture and Design. For 12 years I led the Free Unit at the Cass. The Free Unit helped students to generate and realise their own projects within a structured and supportive environment. Students were able to connect their actions to their own history, experience and ethical position rather than submit to the more codified values of education, practice or a single unit. Many saw their time in the FU as the first stage of their future practice rather than the last stage of their education and many practices have emerged from it.
Over the next year these principles of freedom will go global as part of a new international network of academic partners and live project “classrooms”. This Global Practice Unit includes academic partners in the UK, South Africa, Sweden, Ireland, Russia, Latin America and Korea. As a member of the unit you may either initiate and define your own projects or be embedded in existing project ‘classrooms’. In the coming year these live project “classrooms” will have a particular emphasis on issues of migration, social justice and cohesion, scarcity and identity, building on my own work within the current refugee crises.
Accordingly, there will be the opportunity to work on projects relating to the refugee crises in Africa, Turkey, Greece, Calais and Northern Sweden. Students choosing this option will work with staff and students from across the programme and have access to a global network of project “friends” drawn from leading academics, politicians, architects and cultural practitioners.
Your work will form part of the 2017 Seoul Architecture Biennale and the 2017 Festival of Love on London’s Southbank.