Unsettled Subjects: Confronting Questions of Race, Space and Identity in Architecture

This event brings together several architects and faculty members of the larger collective, Unsettled Subjects, to discuss diverse approaches to issues of race, space and identity in members’ architectural practice, pedagogy, and writing. Unsettled Subjects was established in the context of the Black Lives Matter movement and the on-going challenges we face to recognise the systemic and structural legacies of British imperialism, colonialism and slavery within the built environment; and the marginalisation of dynamic and transformative practices of indigenous and diasporic communities of former colonies and the metropole. We are an interdisciplinary group of architects and historians, whose members hail from diverse institutions across the UK and Europe, who seek to understand the political present by engaging critically and collectively with texts and ideas – through reading, research and creative practice – in order to interrogate issues of identity, race, ethnicity, gender, sex, sexuality, class, and power.  

The event will feature several members of the collective: Nick Beech, founder and convener of  Unsettled Subjects will introduce the group’s short history and the lacunae it was formed to address. Derin Fadina will discuss the 2020 protests against police abuse and violence in Nigeria, exploring how the various perspectives offered by the Unsettled Subjects’ readings and discussions facilitate a critical reflection on the events. Shumi Bose will screen and discuss short student film work from her recently taught architectural studio, Learning from Each Other: Race, ethnicity, diversity and the student experience at architecture school. Shahed Saleem will present his 2021 Venice Architecture Biennale work, Three British Mosques. Tania Sengupta and Catalina Mejía Moreno will consider processes and outcomes of writing collectively. Following short presentations, members will engage in a panel discussion and Q&A with audience members.  


Nick Beech is an architectural historian and Senior Lecturer in the School of Architecture and Cities at the University of Westminster.

Shumi Bose is an architectural writer, historian, editor and Senior Lecturer and Contextual Studies Co-ordinator, BA Architecture, Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London.

Derin Fadina is a Nigerian-British architectural and urban designer, and writer and visiting critic at the University of Westminster.

Catalina Mejía Moreno is an architect and historian and Senior Lecturer in Climate Studies, Spatial Practices Programme, Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London

Shahed Saleem is a practising architect (founder and director of Makespace), and Senior Lecturer in the School of Architecture and Cities at the University of Westminster.

Robin Schuldenfrei, an architectural and cultural historian, is the Katja and Nicolai Tangen Reader in 20th Century Modernism at The Courtauld.

Tania Sengupta is a historian of colonial/ post-colonial architecture and cities and Associate Professor at the Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London.

Organised by Dr Robin Schuldenfrei, Katja and Nicolai Tangen Reader in 20th Century Modernism (The Courtauld.)

This event is part of The Courtauld’s activity to support Black History Month. 

This event has passed.

20 Oct 2021

Wednesday 20th October, 5.30pm - 6.40pm BST

Free, booking essential


Registration closes 30 minutes before the event start time. If you do not receive log in details on the day of the event, please contact researchforum@courtauld.ac.uk