Dr Sana Murrani

Dr Sana Murrani

Associate Head of School - Graduate Affairs

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


Associate Head of School for Graduate Affairs (School of Art, Design & Architecture)

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 Head of School for Graduate Affairs for the School of Art, Design and Architecture at the University of Plymouth, UK. This is in addition to her role as the Stream Leader for History and Theory of Architecture and Critical Context. She studied architecture at Baghdad University School of Architecture at both under-graduate and post-graduate level. Sana completed her PhD with Professor Roy Ascott and the Planetary Collegium research group, on the subject of theoretical encounters and the critique of architectural representation and material culture under the influence of technology. She is the founder of the Displacement Studies Research Network, working at the intersection between displacement, heritage, and creativity to research, share, and enhance the impact and power of the creative agencies of displaced peoples, their culture, identity, heritage, health and well-being. Sana’s main research interest is in the field of critical urban theory and spatial practice with a particular focus on the transient conditions of post conflict spatial practices. She is the principle investigator for Creative Recovery: Mapping Refugees’ Memories of Home, as Heritage funded by the European Cultural FoundationCourageous Citizens 2018. The project is in partnership with British Red Cross, and is based on co-produced creative research with 15 refugees. 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 section. Sana recently became a member of the ESRC Global Challenge Research Fund Peer Review College.

Other research

Founder of Displacement Studies Research Network: https://www.plymouth.ac.uk/research/displacement-studies

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]: Radical Rivers: Blue Spaces for the 21st Centuryby Sally Sutton [expected completion December2019].

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

PG Completions:

- 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 [completed PhD December 2017].

- 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].

PhD and MRes chairing and internal examinations:

- InSearch Of The Domonovus: Speculative Designs For The Computationally-EnhancedDomestic Environment by Stavros Didakis [PhD Art & Media, August 2016].


- Theroia:The Veneration of Icons via the Technoetic Process by Katerina Karoussos[PhD Art & Media, June 2016].


- Museumand Technology: aspects of multimediality and multimodality in the culturalassets field by Simona Caraceni, Plymouth University [PhD Art & Media, September2014].


- OccupyLondon as an Integral Part of London’s Urban Morphology by Ben Taylor [MResArchitecture, September 2011].

Grants & contracts

Principle Investigator for  Creative Recovery: Mapping Refugees’ Memories of Home, as Heritage  funded by the  European Cultural FoundationCourageous Citizens 2018 . The project is in partnership with  British Red Cross , Plymouth – Devon. Grand award: €10K, , August 2018-October 2019.

Creative practice & artistic projects

Conferences and workshops attended:

Sustainable Earth Institute Annual Conference, June 2018, University of Plymouth - UK.

UK Alliance for Disaster Research, University of Bristol, March 2018, Bristol - UK.

Urban and Human Displacement: from crises to creativity Symposium, Launch event of the Displacement Studies Research Network, Part of University of Plymouth Research Festival, January 2018, Plymouth - UK. 

Off the Lip 2017: Creative Innovation Conference, July 2017, Plymouth - UK.

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)


- MURRANI, S. [forthcoming 2019]. ‘Urban Creativity through Displacement andSpatial Disruption’, In: Michael E Leary-Owhin and John P McCarthy (eds), The RoutledgeHandbook of Henri Lefebvre, The City and Urban Society. London: Routledge.


- MURRANI, S. 2018. ‘Estranged Space Appropriated’, In:de Campo, A., Hosale, MD., and Murrani, S. Worldmaking as Techné: ExploringWorlds of Participatory Art, Architecture, and Music. Cambridge, Ontario: Riverside Architectural Press, 296-319.


- MURRANI, S. 2016. ‘Baghdad’s thirdspace: between liminality, anti-structures andterritorial mappings’, The Journal ofCultural Dynamics 28 (2), 189-220.


- MURRANI, S. 2014. ‘To Cognise a Liminal Reality: on constructing a spatial and socialassemblage of peripheral sites and situations in England’, In: Architecture and Writing: ARCHTHEO ’14 /Theory of Architecture Conference Proceeding Book, 6th-8th of November2014, Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University. DAKAM: Istanbul, 217-226.


- MURRANI, S. 2012. ‘The Socio-Temporary in Architecture: Territories of Second-OrderCybernetics’, The InternationalJournal of Art, Culture and Design Technologies 2 (1), 44-56.


- MURRANI, S. 2011. Unstable Territories of Representation:Architectural Experience and the Behaviour of Forms, Spaces and the CollectiveDynamic Environment. PhD thesis abstract published in LEA – LABS: Leonardo Abstracts Service,UK. Leonardo Online: http://www.leoalmanac.org/unstable-territories-of-representation-by-sana-murrani/


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


- MURRANI, S. 2009. ‘Instability and Incompleteness 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 of Architectural Forms’, Technoetic Arts: A Journal of Speculative Research 5 (3), 133-149.

Reviewsand Organised Conferences:

October       2016                 Member of the Global Challenges ResearchFund ESRC Peer Review College.


October       2016                 Reviewer for Footnote: Delft Architecture Theory Journal.


June              2015                 12th AHRA Research Student Symposium, Syncretic Architectures: new approachesbetween theory & practice, School of Architecture, Design andEnvironment, University of Plymouth, Plymouth - UK 11-13 June 2015. Symposium chair, member of the internalreviewing panel, main organiser and mentor for PhD students.


December    2014              COGTALK: An evening of talks organisedfor the Cognition Institute on the social and cultural construct ofArchitecture. An evening with artist Tim Knowles, academic and architect Dr.Sana Murrani and Dr. Mathew Emmett.


July                2014                Reviewer for Leonardo Reviews: The InternationalSociety for the Arts, Sciences, and Technology. Soft Estate by EdwardChell (reviewed 2014), Cartographies of Place: Navigating the Urbanby Michael Darroch and Janine Marchessault, and Drawing Ambience: Alvin Boyarskyand the Architectural Association by Igor Marjanovic and Jan Howard(reviewed 2016).


August          2013                Re-New: Digital Arts Festival - THE BIGPICTURE: the confluence of art, science and technology, Copenhagen, Denmark2013. Invited reviewer on the subject ofarchitecture and cognition.


August          2013                LocativeMedia, Edited by Katharine S. Willis and Regine Buschauer, TranscriptVerlag, 2013. Invited reviewer.


September   2011              Paneldiscussion at ISEA2011 Istanbul: TheVolatility and Stability of WorldMaking as Téchne, Inter Society ofElectronic Arts (ISEA2011) conference in Istanbul, September 14th-21st 2011.  Workshoppanellist.


August           2011                Reviewer for Routledge Architecture Section.


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.