Dr Sana Murrani

Dr Sana Murrani

Lecturer in Architecture

School of Architecture, Design and Environment (Faculty of Arts & Humanities)


Main role: Lecturer in Architecture.

Associate Director of the Arts Institute for Research 

Art, Design & Architecture School Postgraduate Research and Taught Coordinator

Architecture History & Theory, and Critical Context Stream Leader


BSc Architecture, MSc Architecture, PhD Architectural Theory

Fellow of the Higher Education Academy [FHEA]

Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice.

Roles on external bodies

ESRC Global Challenge Research Fund Peer Review College Member
A reviewer for Routledge Architecture Section
Leonardo Reviews: The International Society for the Arts, Science, and Technology
Guest reviewer for Footprint: Delft Architecture Theory Journal

Teaching interests

My teaching is research informed and supported by Live Projects:
Experimentation in Architecture through the exploration of different tools of representation and technologies [Sketches, Digital Drawings, Rapid Prototyping/Laser Cutting, MultiMedia technologies].
Focusing on the design process and the creation of narratives as a tool for design, communication as well as representation [Narratives, Diagrams, Story Boards, Comic Strips, Developmental Models].
Integrating theory and practice in studio teaching [Linking Mid and late Twentieth Century and Current Theories of architecture to Experimental Design and Social Practices].

Research interests

Sana Murrani is an urban theorist and an experimental architect. She currently holds the position of Associate Director of the Arts Institute for Research and a Lecturer in Architecture at the University of Plymouth, UK. She studied architecture at Baghdad University School of Architecture at both under-graduate and post-graduate level. Sana is a member of the Planetary Collegium’s CAiiA-Hub in Plymouth, UK where she undertook her PhD on the subject of theoretical encounters and the critique of architectural representation and material culture under the influence of technology. Sana’s main research interest is in the field of critical urban theory with a particular focus on the transient conditions of marginality and displacement. Her work focuses on linking contemporary spatial and urban philosophy and current critical theories of social practice in order to reveal the conditions of the marginalised, the contested and the peripheral in any inhabited situation/urban context. In her work Sana uses inter/trans-disciplinary methodologies such as second-order cybernetics, transmedia representation tools/mapping, and digital anthropology. She has published in peer-reviewed journals and participated in international conferences and workshops. Sana is currently a reviewer for Leonardo Reviews: The International Society for the Arts, Sciences, and Technology and is a guest reviewer for Routledge Architecture books.

Writers and theorists of particular importance for her research are: Doreen Massey, bell hooks, Edward Soja, Nigel Thrift, Henri Lefebvre, Michel de Certeau, Homi Bhabha, Heinz von Foerster, Nelson Goodman, Rob Shields, as well as the critique of the philosophies of Foucault, and Deleuze and Guattari, and the work of British anthropologist Victor Turner.

Other research

Founder of Displacement Studies Research Network

Collaborator with i-DAT, Plymouth University.

Collaborator with Trantechnology research group, Plymouth University.

Member of the Architectural Humanities Research Association AHRA.

Member of the Planetary Collegium research group, Plymouth University.


Research degrees awarded to supervised students

PG supervision  

- PhD supervisor [DoS]: Mapping The Spatial and Social Impact of Urban Displacement of refugees on the Formation of Public Spaces in Cities (focusing on Amman, Jordan) by Nadeen Albitar [ expected completion January 2020].                         

-PhD supervisor [DoS]: Arhitectura 1950 –1989. Interstitial Spaces of Communist Romanian Architecture by Ioana Popovici [expected completion July 2018].

- PhD supervisor [2nd]: Play Dynamics: participatory/ dynamic architecture as an instrument for social activism by Alejandro Quinteros,Planetary Collegium [expected completion October 2019].

- PhD supervisor [2nd]: Re-Imagine Your Town: Co created archives of community urban visions by Becalelis Brodskis, 3D3 Centre for DoctoralTraining [expected completion October 2019].

- PhD supervisor [3rd]: The Impact of Nostalgia on Media Form: the Video game by James Sweeting [expected completion 2020].

- PhD supervisor [3rd]: In and out of memory: exploring the tension between remembering and forgetting when recalling 9/11, a traumatic event by Anna Walker [expected completion 2017].

PG Completions:

- Post-structural and Post Colonial Critique of Utopian Ideas by Richard Bower [completed PhD January 2015].

- ParticipatoryDesign in Spatial Practice by Alex Lorimer [completed ResM March 2016].

- A Play between Interactive Architecture, Social Space and Participation by Chrysa Petrou [completed MRes August 2013].

- The Use of Technology and the Representation of Contemporary Architecture by Jessica Westmacott [completed MRes August 2011].

 This is in addition to several PhD internal examinations and chairing of vivas.

Creative practice & artistic projects


Cabinet: Changing Perceptions, PenArts Gallery, University of Plymouth, UK 2011.

Architectural Week Exhibition, Out of Scale, Plymouth Arts Centre, Plymouth, UK 2004.

Conferences and workshops attended:

Architecture and Writing: ARCHTHEO '14 / Theory of Architecture Conference, 6th-8th of November 2014, Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University, Istanbul - Turkey. 

ISEA2011 Istanbul, Panel discussion: The Volatility and Stability of WorldMaking as Techné. Inter Society of Electronic Arts (ISEA2011) conference in Istanbul, September 14th-21st 2011. Invited panelists: Roy Ascott and Marcos Novak. Chair and Co chairs: MarkDavid Hosale, Sana Murrani and Alberto de Campo.

Fixed? Architecture, Incompleteness and Change, School of Architecture, Design and Environment, University of Plymouth, UK, 7-8 April 2011, p20.

The 13th Generative Art Conference15th, 16th, 17th of December 2010, Milan-Italy.

9th  Consciousness Reframed Conference: NewRealities: Being Syncretic. Vienna July 3-5 2008.

Vice Chancellor's Research& Innovation Conference, The University of Plymouth - UK April 2007.

8thConsciousness Reframed Conference: Art & Consciousness in thePost-Biological Era, Plymouth - UK, July 21-23 2006.

Models of Machine learningin Creative Design Conference, DCC'06, Eindhoven Technical University andUniversity College London, The Netherlands, July 2006.

SlidingScales Workshop,i-DAT and the Bartlett School of Architecture, The University of Plymouth - UKNovember 2006.

Designing for the 21stCentury Workshop, University of Westminster, London, September 2005.

Altered States Conference:Transformations of Perception, Place and Performance, The University of Plymouth, Plymouth - UK July2005.

BIOTECH ART, SymbioticAand Kings College, London, March-April 2005.

Sensational NetInternational Conference, Fortaleza - Brazil, November 2003.

Research groups

  • i-DAT (Institute of Digital Art & Technology)

Refereed book, journal, and conference proceeding articles:

MURRANI, S. 2016. 'Baghdad’s thirdspace: Between liminality, anti-structures and territorial mappings'. Cultural Dynamics, Vol 28 (2), pp. 189-220. 

MURRANI, S. 2014. To Cognise a Liminal Reality: on constructing a spatial and social assemblage of peripheral sites and situations in England. In: Architecture and Writing: ARCHTHEO '14 / Theory of Architecture Conference Proceeding Book, 6th-8th of November 2014, Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University. DAKAM: Istanbul, pp.217-226.

MURRANI, S. 2012. The Socio-Temporary in Architecture: Territories of Second-Order Cybernetics. The International Journal of Art, Culture and Design Technologies 2 (1), 44-56.

MURRANI, S & EMMETT, M. 2011. Overlaid Realities. In: Cabinet: Changing Perceptions Catalogue, University of Plymouth Press, UK. 16-17 & 26-27.

MURRANI, S. 2011. Third Way Architecture: Between Cybernetics and Phenomenology. Technoetic Arts: A Journal of Speculative Research 8 (3), 267-281.

MURRANI, S. 2010. Architecture of Generative Situations. In: 13th Generative Art Conference. Milan – Italy, Domus Argenia Publisher.

MURRANI, S. 2009. Instability andIncompleteness in Architecture. In: ASCOTT, R., BAST, G., FIEL, W.,JAHRMANN, M. & SCHNELL, R. (eds.) New Realities: Being Syncretic.Wien: Springer. 202-206.

MURRANI, S. 2007. The Behaviour ofArchitectural Forms. Technoetic Arts: A Journal of Speculative Research,5 (3), 133-149.

MURRANI, S. 2005. Re-thinking ArchitecturalForm: The Emergence of Self-organized Architectural Form. In:  Altered States Conference: Transformationsof Perception, Place and Performance Plymouth, UK. Liquid Reader.


MURRANI, S. 2014. Review of Soft Estate by Edward Chell. Leonardo Reviews, July 2014. Available: http://leonardo.info/reviews/july2014/muranni-chell.php

MURRANI, S. 2016. Review of Drawing Ambience: Alvin Boyarsky and The Architectural Association by Igor Marjanović and Jan Howard. Leonardo Reviews, May 2016. Available: http://leonardo.info/reviews/may2016/marjanovic-murrani.php


Published abstracts:

MURRANI, S. 2011. Unstable Territories of Representation: Architectural Experience and the Behaviour of Forms, Spaces and the Collective Dynamic Environment (PhD thesis abstract). LABS: Leonardo ABstracts Service, UK. Online: http://leonardolabs.pomona.edu/SearchDetails.aspx?UID=331.

MURRANI, S. 2007.Architectural Form between Theory and Practice: Architectural Form Perceivedand Conceived as a Set of Behaviours. In:Vice Chancellor’s Research and Innovation Conference Plymouth, UK. Poster.

MURRANI, S. 2006. Stigmergic Architecture. In:ASCOTT, R., ed. Art and Consciousness in the Post-Biological Era: 8thInternational Consciousness Reframed Conference Plymouth - UK. University ofPlymouth Press.

MURRANI, S. 2003. TransphenomicArchitecture. In: MACIEL, K.,PARENTE, A., ASCOTT, R., NOBREGA, G., eds. Sensational Net InternationalConference Fortaleza – Brazil. 27. 

Reports & invited lectures

COGTALK December 2014 for the Cognitive Institute on the social and cultural construct of Architecture. An evening with artist Tim Knowles and Dr. Mathew Emmett.

Other academic activities

Member of the Planetary Collegium Research Group, University of Plymouth, since Jul. 2003.

Member of the Architectural Humanities Research Association AHRA, since Jan. 2008.

Member of the Culture-Theory-Space group, University of Plymouth, since Sep. 2009.