Conference/Brisbane: Liberalism and the Built Environment – Then and Now / 17-18 May

Conference convenors: Janina Gosseye, Helena Mattsson, John Macarthur, Deborah van der Plaat

This conference seeks to explore how concepts of freedom and liberal political and economic theories have intersected with architecture and the built environment from the 19th century to the present day.  The popular reaction against ‘neoliberalism’ understood as an economic structure has reignited academic debate as to whether architecture, bound up as it is in real estate speculation and the financing of building, has a capacity for critique. The present socio-political circumstances of architecture, however, ought to be understood in the longer and more varied history of liberalism and architecture’s imbrication with political and economic thought on freedom and the subjects of freedom.


Thursday, 17 May 2018

Held at State Library of Queensland, Auditorium 2  

13.00 – 14.00: Registration

14.00 – 14.30: Conference introduction

14.30 – 16.00: SESSION 1

Liberalism, Markets and Marketization

Session chair: Helena Mattsson

  • Manu P. Sobti: ‘Wither the Bazaar and Maidan: Changing Retail and Social Choreographies in the Neo-liberal Indian Mall of Supposed Prosperity’
  • Jiawen Han: ‘Liberalism and the Chinese Architectural Profession’
  • Janina Gosseye: Title to be confirmed

16.00 – 16.30: Coffee break

16.30 – 18.00: SESSION 2

Liberalism, Marketing and Media

Session chair: Janina Gosseye

  • Helena Mattsson: Title to be confirmed
  • Phoebus Panigyrakis: ‘Marketing for Architects: Ernest Dichter and the Architectural Record
  • Lea-Catherine Szacka: ‘TV-Am: Architecture on Screen’

18.00 – 18.30: Coffee break

18.30 – 19.30: Keynote by John Macarthur: ‘The Smell of Politics: Civilia, Collage City and Liberalism in Architectural Discourse’

20.00 – … : Conference dinner


Friday, 18 May 2018

Held at Australian Institute of Architects, QLD Chapter 

11.00 – 11.30: coffee + registration

11.30 – 13.00: SESSION 3

Liberalism, Labour and Community

Session chair: John Macarthur

  • Karen Burns: ‘Labour, Liberalism and Paternalism: Design Reform in the Potteries’
  • Jianfei Zhu: ‘Freedom or Equality: Reading Rancière for a New Political Aesthetic in Design’
  • Deborah van der Plaat: Title to be confirmed

13.00 – 14.30: lunch break

14.30 – 16.30: SESSION 4

Liberalism and (De)Regulation

Session chair: Helena Mattsson

  • Susan Holden and Cameron Logan: ‘A Lost Liberal Setting?: The Australian University Campus in the Post-WWII Expansion Era and Today’
  • Isabel Rousset: ‘Building Liberal Character: Housing Research and the Historical School of Economics’
  • Joanna Merwood-Salisbury: ‘Liberalism and the Tenement House Reform in NYC at the Turn of the Nineteenth Century’

16.30 – 17.00: coffee break

17.00 – 18.30: SESSION 5

Liberalism, Civic Identity and Citizenship

Session chair: Deborah van der Plaat

  • Neal Shasore: ‘Civic Centres: New Liberal Progressivism in Interwar British Urban Governance’
  • Sushma Griffin: ‘Architectural Critique and the Failure of Liberalism in India’
  • Charles Drozynski: ‘Non-liberal to Liberal: The Relation of Developing Liberties and Spatial Design in the City of Nowa Huta’

18.30 – 19.00: Concluding panel discussion, with drinks


This event is organised in collaboration with the Australian Institute of Architects, Queensland chapter.

Practising architects can claim formal CPD points for attending this event. For more information, click here.

To download full program, please click here