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Call for papers of the workshop ‘Lives in Brick: Bodies, Justice, Power’. The workshop is organised by the Department of Geography, Royal Holloway, University of London and specifically team members working on the 18-month research project (2017-2019) ‘Blood Bricks: Examining the Climate Change-Modern Slavery Nexus in the Cambodian Construction Industry’. The event is supported by our project funders, the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and Department for International Development (DFID).


It will take place on October 24th 2018 at Senate House, University of London.


gOrganizers are looking to bring together a wide range of interested groups (scholars, design practitioners, artists, policymakers, planners, and construction professionals etc.), to dwell on brick; described in Brick: A World History as ‘the simplest and the most versatile of materials, the most ubiquitous and the least regarded, all too familiar yet strangely neglected’. While this and other similar books are dedicated to the historical tracing and visual capturing of the spectacular and most beautiful – from the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, to the Great Wall of China – the planned workshop aims to focus on more everyday and mundane engagements with this popular building material.
The starting contention is that although bricks could be considered ordinary, they tell complex stories about bodies, (in)justice, and power. Bricks matter; their making and consumption having political, material, and affective force as a vibrant form of infrastructure which mediates and organises life.
The call for participation seeks both academic and non-academic work which originates from anywhere in the world. The type of brick being engaged with is also flexible (e.g. Lego). Participation could take several forms – a 20-minute talk or a participant-led activity which engages other delegates.


Please submit your expressions of interest to Nithya Natarajan ( by the deadline of 29 June 2018. If you are suggesting a talk, please provide a title and short abstract; for a participant-led activity, please also supply a title, short description, and suggested time length required.
The workshop has been timed and located to coincide with the exhibition – ‘Blood Bricks: Untold Stories of Modern Slavery and Climate Change from Cambodia’ – and will include a short tour of it at the Building Centre near by and discussion as part of the workshop day.
There is no registration fee and lunch will be provided. We have up to two artist bursaries (£200 each) to support transport and accommodation. Please indicate if you would like to be considered for one of these.

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