This event took place on 11 February 2020.

Introducing Professor Robert Brown...

Our cities are sites of difference, marked by the presence of often disparate communities and conflicting socio-cultural, economic and political forces. Our challenge is how we respond to that difference. Too often this response has been one of neglect or marginalisation, or at best accommodation. Can we consider a different response where we instead dialogically embrace ‘the other’? What does this mean for architecture and other disciplinary practice? In what way does this influence how we educate for that practice?

Robert Brown, Professor in Architecture, will explore these questions and consider the potential of dialogue both as communication and as an attitude towards addressing these issues. Putting this dialogue into practice, Robert will be joined by colleagues both from within and outside the University – a filmic provocateur, an efficacious communicator, a studious angler and an embodying architect. Through shared discussion, Bob will reflect upon his own work as an architect, an educator and a researcher, in order to critically re-examine and theorise an architectural and pedagogic practice i.e. a praxis of dialogue.

Throughout his career, Robert has been situated somewhere else – an educator teaching in China and Egypt, and an architect practising in India, Kenya and London’s East End. In these settings, he has found himself as the ‘other’, the one ‘outside’ the normalised, locally-held sense of culture. While a position of ‘outsideness’ offers a useful perspective on the local, it can also prompt reflection upon ourselves as an ‘other’. More notably, it has fostered awareness of the potential of dialogue, both in operating across socio-cultural, economic and political divides and as an overarching praxis. Discussion of this potential will act as a springboard to consider the possibility for such praxis at a broader scale, and what this might mean for universities in general and the University of Plymouth specifically, both as a sense of agency and as a place.

You are welcome to join us for University of Plymouth's Inaugural Professorial Lecture series, which provide a milestone event in a professorial career. Through these we can promote and celebrate the academic reputation and achievements within their research.

“Bob’s longstanding contribution to Architecture at Plymouth has helped to ensure that we engage with pressing contemporary issues of socio-cultural, economic and political difference within the architecture of our urban environments. We see questions to do with how we embrace ‘the other’ within our cities, and how those responsible for developing those cities are trained to ensure that they flourish as diverse, inclusive and cohesive environments for the good of all of their inhabitants as of central concern to the twenty-first century. Bob’s research and pedagogic practice is at the forefront of that effort.”

Professor Dafydd Moore, Executive Dean of Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Business

Dafydd Moore
The Arts Institute

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