Urban Research Forum | Performance research

A tool kit | around space | towards place | 

Practising Space: towards a tool kit.

This research exercise has endeavoured to build a logical system in which to answers questions as to how  people use space; the modes in which particular social codes are prevalent domination tools which mean people move through space in very particular codified ways. Just as classical ballet heralds a specific form of codified movement; public space creates similar notions of codified forms which in turn create particular patterns of space use; which this research has initially sough to record and notate then actively find means to attune space users to the modes in which they are using space; and further to enable specific shifts and re-focusing which may in turn lead to more creative and personalised methods of space use. To resolve the potential of the subjective through multiple attempts towards an answer; which in turn points to another question; which can construct another series of answers for more questions. This process forms a steady repetitive nature; underlying remains the concept of personal definition and belief.

Urban space within this research becomes a canvas; upon which numerous marks, symbols and lines are added to; such marks and codes constitutive of some form of spatial and movement language; yet how can this language be transcribed, documented, recorded and then re-told? To translate is a lie. Just as to converse and re-present scenarios of the urban encounter relies on the subjective realities of the author to generate a narrative which another then reform a presentation of. Losing all sense of meaning to cultural assemblage of language. Concept of universal language as impossible as language is shaped by geography, history. Patterning; which in the fabric of its construction lays bear the failures of communication into physical fruition of the desires of the mind in its solitude? The results of Practising Space function as creative subjective impressions initially; the weight of the task forms as to how such a subjective experiential task can bare productive social fruit; a dialog which can further enable new methodologies as to how the space is used?

The moving body in urban space becomes a fragment for the potential reinvestigation of the use of space; subjective and figurative; terms of the experience of the city; how can the body become reflective mechanism for the experience of the body in urban space; how can the body be positioned into a performative realm which may allow others to re-evaluate their own use of space use; how can such reflections be then translated into ‘useful’ potential applications for shifts within design schemes. The expressive non verbal art forms within this research process become potential tools for mass communication beyond conventional mechanisms of the representation of lived experience. Does writing or talking then limit human action and creative energy?

The body within this research acts momentarily as a heritage site; with the potential to retain physical experiences of the city; how far can the physical experience of urban encounter create a unique movement vocabulary? The city generates a systematic series of movements; walking in patterns which cannot necessarily be recreated in the rural environment. This vocabulary is somehow learnt and maintained; yet we often bury deeply into our subconscious the patterns and codes of movement we learn well. How far can the body remember the emotions of architecture? Can architecture have a memory and how far can the body be a site which can calibrate a sensibility of a location which exists beyond the ability of the written word or object to reproduce and narrate? 

For further information please contact Beatrice Jarvis ( Project Co-ordinator) 


There are regular sessions, labs and workshops which are open to all. 

 See lab blog for more information also: 


Please click below on line journal for current activities of Practising Space research Lab:  


"Practising Space has become an explorative social apparatus which can used in a plethora of uses to reflect the relationship of space and the affect subtle changes in the urban fabric have a profound affect on space on its users"