This symposium aims to open a discussion on the ways in which architectural researchers’ experiences during fieldwork and/or archival work shape architectural history and theory, with a specific focus here on recent and ongoing research in Turkey. Architectural researchers often encounter unforeseeable issues while working in archives or fields. How might they make these issues into the very stuff of the histories and theories they produce? The symposium explores this question through specific reflections and insights from Turkey, a context that over the past few decades has seen the sort of social and political fluctuations that amplify the unpredictability of fieldwork and archival work. It consists of a series of invited papers that discuss the following:

  • changes in the positionality of the researcher;
  • dynamics between intellectual autonomy and social debt to interlocutors;
  • consent, constraint, surveillance, accessibility issues, and (self-)censorship;
  • use and abuse of archives and other source material;
  • psychological and ethical implications;
  • narrative forms, structures, and styles through which the above might be written into architectural histories and theories.

While discussions on the above-mentioned topics are prevalent across various other disciplines such as anthropology, geography, and archaeology, architectural history and theory tend to gloss over them. This symposium, therefore, aims to create a platform for the exchange of scholarly tactics and strategies that help work through challenges of architectural research generally. A nuanced awareness of the challenges faced during spatially oriented archival research or fieldwork in an increasingly socially and politically volatile global context, we hope, will benefit not just those interested in the architecture of Turkey – or indeed in architectural history and theory per se – but also those operating in other settings or spatial disciplines marked by challenges to public space and critical thought.

Attendance is free but booking is required (please see below).

Symposium Programme

9.30-10am Welcome and introduction by Prof Murray Fraser, Vice-Dean of Research, BSA

10-10.30am "Architectural Research i̶n̶ Unsettling Times: a Speculative Framework": Dr Eray Çaylı, Teaching Fellow in Architectural History & Theory, BSA

11am-12.30pm Session One: Archives

  • "Archival Narratives of Istanbul’s Historic Peninsula: Entangled Fields of Shared Authority and the Evasion of Responsibility" - Pınar Aykaç (BSA)
  • "Accumulating Facts / Enabling Histories: in Search of Late-Ottoman Architectural History in Turkey's State Archives" - Dr Göksun Akyürek (Bahçeşehir University)
  • Response by Dr Zeynep Kezer (Newcastle University) 

1.30-3pm Session Two: Fields

  • "Participation and Collective Production in the Field: Bottom-up Urban Transformation in an Istanbul Neighbourhood" - Dr Senem Doyduk (Sakarya University)
  • "On the Relational Nature of Architectural Fieldwork: Researching Displacement and Minorities on Imbros/Gökçeada" - Sevcan Ercan (BSA)
  • Response by Prof Peg Rawes (BSA)

3.30-5pm Session Three: Archiving Fields

  • "Landscapes of Uncertainty: the Politics and Ethics of Architectural Research on Illegalised Migration" - Merve Bedir (TU Delft)
  • "Documenting Violence and Destruction in Southeastern Turkey" - Emre Özyetiş (Mardin Artuklu University)
  • Response by Dr Davide Deriu (University of Westminster)

5-6pm Plenary session (chaired by Prof Jane Rendell, Director of Architectural History & Theory, BSA) and discussion on plans for publication

Biographies of Speakers, Organisers, and Respondents/Chairs:

  • Dr Göksun Akyürek currently teaches architectural design and history at Bahçeşehir University, Istanbul. She received her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from the Middle East Technical University, Faculty of Architecture, and holds a PhD in Architectural History and Theory from Yıldız Technical University, Istanbul. Göksun is the author of the book Reconstructing Knowledge: Architecture, Knowledge, and Power in the Tanzimat Period (Bilgiyi Yeniden İnşa Etmek: Tanzimat Döneminde Mimarlık, Bilgi ve İktidar), published in 2011 by the History Foundation (Tarih Vakfı) in Turkey. She has published widely on 19th and 20th-century Turkish architecture and its history in critical perspective.
  • Pınar Aykaç received her Bachelor’s degree in Architecture from the Middle East Technical University in 2004 and her MSc in Conservation of Cultural Heritage from the same university in 2008. Between 2007 and 2011 she worked as a research and teaching assistant at METU Department of Architecture. Pınar was involved in various conservation projects including Presidential Ataturk Museum Pavilion Restoration Project, Gordion Management Plan Project and Commagene Nemrut Conservation and Development Programme. She is currently completing her PhD dissertation titled ‘Musealisation as an Urban Process: The Transformation of Sultanahmet District in Istanbul’s Historic Peninsula’ at the Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL.
  • Merve Bedir studied architecture at Middle East Technical University (2003). She is the partner of Land+Civilization Compositions, and a PhD candidate at Delft University of Technology. Her work focuses on urban transformation, migration and (forced) displacement. She was a freelance curator for the Netherlands Architecture Institute (2013); curator of Vocabulary of Hospitality (Studio X Istanbul, 2015), uncommon river (One Architecture Week, 2015), and Aformal Academy (Shenzhen Biennale, 2015). Merve Bedir was the producer of Agoraphobia (2013), a documentary film on urban transformation in Turkey. She has participated in the Misericordia (Oudekerk/ Amsterdam, 2016), Bucharest Biennale (2016), Istanbul Design Biennale (2016), Oslo Triennale (2016), Future Architecture Platform (2016). Merve has published widely, and her first book, Vocabulary of Hospitality, will be published in 2017 by DPR Barcelona. Merve is a member of Matbakh-Mutfak (a transnational women's collective in Gaziantep) and Beyond Istanbul (Collective for Spatial Justice) in Turkey.
  • Dr Eray Çaylı is a researcher, educator, and writer working at the interface of architecture/art and anthropology. His PhD (University College London, 2015) studied the relationship between urban/architectural space and discourses of "facing and reckoning with the past" in Turkey. In his research and teaching Eray explores the ways in which the built environment shapes and is shaped by conflict, disaster, and protest. He currently works as Researcher in Contemporary Turkish Studies at the European Institute, London School of Economics, and teaches Architectural History & Theory at the Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL, and at Syracuse University School of Architecture (London programme).
  • Dr Davide Deriu is Reader in the Department of Architecture, where he teaches History & Theory and co-leads the Architecture MA course. Davide holds degrees from Politecnico di Torino (Turin, Italy) and the Bartlett, University College London, where he completed his PhD in 2004 after taking a Master with distinction in History of Modern Architecture. Prior to joining Westminster, he taught at architecture schools in Britain (UCL; Brighton; Canterbury) and Turkey (METU). Davide has been a Visiting Professor at Istanbul Technical University, Università Iuav di Venezia, and Università di Cagliari. He has published on a wide range of subjects, from aerial visuality to underground space, in academic journals of high repute, has edited several volumes, including Emerging Landscapes: Between Production and Representation (Ashgate, 2014), and has contributed to a number of international architecture magazines.
  • Dr Senem Doyduk is Assistant Professor at the Department of Architecture, Sakarya University. She is an expert in architectural conservation and a member of Architects' Assembly (Mimar Meclisi). The projects in which Senem has played a significant role include the Tarsus Makam-ı Danyal Museum Mosque Restoration, Kyrenia/Girne Acheiropoietos Monastery Renovation, and Küçük Armutlu Architectural Improvement.
  • Sevcan Ercan is an architect and researcher with a particular interest in sites of displacement and islands. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Architecture from Middle East Technical University in 2008 and an MSc in Architectural History from Istanbul Technical University in 2012, alongside which she also practiced in archaeological and architectural documentation and conservation projects. Sevcan obtained her MA in 2013 from the Bartlett School of Architecture, where she is currently undertaking a PhD in Architectural History and Theory.
  • Prof Murray Fraser is Professor of Architecture and Global Culture at The Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL, as well as Vice-Dean of Research for The Bartlett Faculty of the Built Environment. He has published extensively on design, architectural history and theory, urbanism, post-colonialism and cultural studies. Murray's book, Architecture and the 'Special Relationship' (Routledge, 2007) won the 2008 RIBA President’s Award for Outstanding University-Located Research and the 2008 Bruno Zevi Prize from the International Committee of Architectural Critics. The books he has edited include Architecture and Globalisation in the Persian Gulf Region andDesign Research in Architecture (both Ashgate, 2013). Previously he co-created the online Archigram Archival Project, shortlisted for the 2010 RIBA President’s Research Awards, and chaired the RIBA’s Research and Innovation Group. He is Editor-in-Chief of the ARENA Journal of Architectural Research (AJAR) and now General Editor of the new 21st edition of Sir Banister Fletcher’s Global History of Architecture (Bloomsbury, forthcoming).
  • Dr Zeynep Kezer is Senior Lecturer at the School of Architecture Planning and Landscape, Newcastle University. She is an architectural historian who specialises in modern architectural and urban history and nation-building processes. In her recently published book Building Modern Turkey: State, Space and Ideology in the Early Republic (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2015) Zeynep explores the making of citizens via architectural projects in the early Republican era, and in particular, through the national network of government schools. Her recent article "Spatializing Difference: The Making of an Internal Border in Early Republican Elaziğ, Turkey," which appeared in the Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians focuses on the spatiality of borders and the effect of the physical environment on different social groups.
  • Emre Özyetiş holds a Bachelor's degree in Architecture (2009) and Philosophy (2010), both of which he obtained from Middle Eastern Technical University. In 2013 he completed his Master's degree in Architecture at SIAL-RMIT with a dissertation entitled Revisiting the Political Context of Manfredo Tafuri's Toward a Critique of Architectural Ideology. Since 2013, Emre has been working at Mardin Artuklu University in Turkey, while also pursuing his PhD at Middle Eastern Technical University.
  • Prof Peg Rawes is Professor of Architecture and Philosophy, and Programme Director of the Masters in Architectural History at the Bartlett School of Architecture UCL. Her recent publications include Equal By Design (2016); "Humane and inhumane ratios" in The Architecture Lobby’s Asymmetric Labours (2016); Poetic Biopolitics: Practices of Relation in Architecture and the Arts (co-ed., 2016); Relational Architectural Ecologies: Architecture, Nature and Subjectivity (ed., 2013).
  • Prof Jane Rendell is Professor of Architecture and Art, and Vice Dean of Research at the Bartlett, UCL. She trained and practiced as an architectural designer, before studying for her MSc and PhD in Architectural History. Jane's transdisciplinary writing, through which she initiated ‘critical spatial practice’ and ‘site-writing’, crosses architecture, art, feminism, history and psychoanalysis. She is author of The Architecture of Psychoanalysis: Spaces of Transition (2017), Silver (2017), Site-Writing (2010), Art and Architecture (2006), and The Pursuit of Pleasure (2002). Jane is Director of History and Theory at the Bartlett, leads the Bartlett’s Ethics Commission, and with James O’Leary, is launching the MA Situated Practice in September 2017.

This symposium is funded by the Architecture Research Fund, the Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL.