Re-imagining rurality 2015-Feb-26-29

Re-imagining rurality 2015-Feb-26-29

Feb 26-29, London

Re-imagining rurality is the second conference organised by the ARENA AlterRurality network organised by the University of Westminster.

Rurality can be understood as a body of economic, ecologic, societal and ethical attitudes, richness and qualities. Exploring rurality in a contemporary setting of sustainability can help us rethink the human habitat.

In 2013 the inaugural Rurality Network conference1 succeeded in bringing academics and practitioners from architecture and the built environment into contact with the work of internationally respected agronomers, environmentalists and geographers researching rural environments and their particular kinds of social occupation. The emphasis of this second rurality conference is upon the representations and designs of rural space and culture and how they relate to rural experiences.

Submission of abstracts JULY 20 2014
Notification of acceptance SEPTEMBER 15 2014
Registration opens SEPTEMBER 2014
Conference 27 + 28 FEBRUARY 2015

Our interest is not only in places and cultures outside the city; the location and meaning of rurality is not clear cut. After all many contemporary spatial types with rural traits transgress perceived urban-rural divisions, such as urban gypsy settlements, city farms, nature parks and so on. Similarly many countryside landscapes and villages are occupied as extensions to urban lifestyles. And in any case, as Marc Mormont surmised, the rural ‘ a category of thought’2 or as Simon Schama put it ‘Landscapes are culture before they are nature; constructs of the imagination projected onto wood, water and rock’.3
Re-imagining Rurality invites spatial practitioners, writers, artists and others whose work relates to the built / cultivated environment to re-consider ideas of rurality by interrogating the representations, designs and cultural values of new and traditional rural landscapes and settlement forms. It asks what the role of creative practice should be in constructing, de- constructing, or maintaining rurality.

The conference will take place in London, a city whose pre-occupation with concepts of rurality is evident in its picturesque squares, parks and suburban gardens. Its protected green belt, a milestone of planning history, is threatened by new exploitations, such as shale gas fracking and housing development. To what extent should a city like London re- think its relationship with rurality? What and who is the countryside for?


Ben Stringer, Senior Lecturer, Dept of Architecture, Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment (FABE), University of Westminster (UoW). Email:
Dr. Krystallia Kamvasinou, Leverhulme Research Fellow, FABE, UoW. Email:
Dr. Gwyn Lloyd Jones, Architect and recently graduated UoW Ph.D student. Email:
Sarah Milne, Researcher and Ph.D student at FABE, UoW. Email
Colette Davis, Senior School Administrator, FABE, UoW, Email: C.Davis@westminster
Andy Colley, UoW (FABE) Faculty Events Coordinator. Email:

Scientific Committee

Prof. Lindsay Bremner, University of Westminster Dr. Helen Farrell, University of Westminster
Dr. Helen Farrell, University of Westminster
Dr. Davide Deriu, University of Westminster
Prof. Kate Heron, University of Westminster
Prof. Kerstin Mey, University of Westminster
Prof. Murray Fraser, University College London
Jane McAllister, London Metropolitan University
Sophia Meeres, University College Dublin
Prof. Malcolm Miles, Plymouth University
Prof. Kelly Shannon, AHO Oslo and Leuven University
Dr. Eugenie Shinkle, University of Westminster
Dominic Stevens, University College Dublin
Prof. Pieter Versteegh, Wester Switzerland University of applied sciences Fribourg
Dr. Marcel Vellinga, Oxford Brookes University
Prof. Paola Viganò, EPFL Lausanne & IUAV Venice
Dr Ronald Wall, Erasmus University
Dr. Robin Wilson, University College London
Dr. Chris Younes, ENSACF Clermont-Ferrand


for more info go to:
Conference and exhibition guide: Re-imagining-Rurality-call.pdf