Celebrating International Women’s Day: Amy Butt “Doors that could take you elsewhere”- science fiction as architectural research.

Monday 8th March is International Women’s Day and we have a brilliant talk lined up to celebrate women in research. Amy Butt lecturer in Architecture at the University of Reading will be giving a talk entitled: “Doors that could take you elsewhere”: science fiction as architectural research

Science fiction is a genre of thresholds. These are stories which exist as pockets of strangeness within our everyday lives, allowing us to imaginatively inhabit bodies and places radically different to our own and asking us to critically consider the lived in the light of a world made otherwise.

For sf scholar and activist Walidah Imarisha, sf texts have the potential to inspire and ferment change, ripe with the utopian potential of any such cracks in the world machine. Imarisha suggests that these fictions can provide a site to “dream as ourselves”, a space where we might liberate the imagination and gather the resolve to sculpt reality. As such, the worlds of sf provide a critical site for those us in the spatial disciplines who are intimately involved in the processes of imagining new built worlds into being.

This talk will consider a series of thresholds in sf texts to demonstrate how engagement with these imagined worlds can act as critical prompts for spatial practice. It will discuss how I have drawn upon these stories in my research practice in making workshops which blur the thresholds between different forms of imaginative construction by staging the spaces of sf.

Sf author and theorist Ursula Le Guin asks us to resist the lure of brash and gleaming utopian images, and develop an attentiveness to a utopianism of process which is passive and participatory. This then, is an exploration of work done to answer Le Guin’s call to “adjust to a dimmer light”, to inhabit the shadowed threshold between here and elsewhere.

You are invited to join via Zoom.

When: Mar 8, 2021 01:00 PM London

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