A Good Time Not A Long Time: Negotiating Ephemerality in Socially Responsive Practices

The next SoAD Research Talk is on 1st March at 1pm with Akil Scafe-Smith, Resolve Collective. In the UK today, the term ‘meanwhile use’ describes the practice of a space or structure’s interim use. Though it’s lexical rise can be traced back to a number of national government initiatives in 2009 responding to the fallout of the 2008 economic recession and its effect on town centres, the term refers to a set of practices that are largely indebted to longstanding ‘informal’ urban phenomena such as squatting, seasonal festivals, and thespian subcultures. As such, ‘meanwhile use’ reads as a fitting paradox of managerial logic and unmanaged practice: contradiction is intrinsic to use in the meanwhile.

The narrative of meanwhile spaces is a narrative that must question, not answer: one that offers revelation not resolution. When successful, through these temporary spaces we are forced to ask: why, if short-term high street tenures are so transformative, is there a lack of centralised, formal support behind their implementation? Why should disused buildings lay empty in the same areas that people are unable to be housed? How can we scale up social infrastructures that are integral to the wellbeing of communities without losing the intimacy and flexibility that makes them valuable?

Looking through some of the work of RESOLVE Collective and building on the work of others, this talk will look at the questions temporary urban interventions raise in our cities and discusses how we might hope to address them.

The talk is supported by the Centre for Spatial, Environmental and Cultural Politics.

Register in advance for this meeting:


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