Wilkinson Lecture 2010

Creative Regions: the demiurge of public space

On 2 December 2010, The Sydney School of Architecture, Design and Planning proudly hosted the 2010 Wilkinson Lecture. This year's lecture, by Professor Paul Carter, writer and artist, Chair of Creative Place Research, Deakin University was held amongst the work of the 2010 Graduate Exhibition.

70:20 minutes Download video (mp4, 38 Mb)

About the lecture
'A new breed of architect is emerging,' we are told 'that has no truck with concepts that have defined architecture for millennia 'such as inertia, stasis and muteness.' Maybe, but there is little evidence of a comparable evolution in the design of the public realm, where a persistent management and master planning rationalism disable the fictional, mythopoetic and relational conditions that constitute real places and regions.

If public space is the product of 'immaterial labour', then 'relational infrastructure' might constitute a framework for its design. Public space appears where the transactions of social value and symbolic exchange meet the blockages and repressions imposed by master planning and design. Such blockages erect walls in the paths of freedom, but they are also sites for thinking and writing differently?creative regions where inscription reconnects with drawing and space through desire. In this context it is no accident that the demiurge who creates public space is, in the western tradition, Eros?love, desire, care. The communities that Eros imagines are multitudes that neither unify nor fragment but build and rebuild their own relational infrastructure. The new alchemists will need to master choreography as well as statics if they are to build the enabling infrastructure necessary for the public realm to genuinely take place.

About the speaker
Professor Paul Carter is a leading writer and theorist of public space. In his book The Road to Botany Bay (1987, 2010) he coined the term 'spatial history' to characterise the situational materiality of historical process. In subsequent books, and through his practice Material Thinking, he has explored the applications of this insight to the elucidation in design of 'the movement form', an envelope of potential passages that lends the interstitial a character of its own. In books such as Repressed Spaces (2002), Material Thinking (2004), Dark Writing (2008) and, most recently, Ground Truthing (2010) he has explored the implications of these ideas for the theory and practice of place-making. His current work-in-progress is Against Master Planning. His groundwork, Nearamnew, is at Federation Square, Melbourne and he is currently working on a 'meeting place' in Alice Springs. He is Chair of Creative Place Research, Deakin University. For further information on Material Thinking click here.

About the Wilkinson Lectures
The first Wilkinson Lecture, named after the Foundation Professor of Architecture at the University of Sydney, was held in 1969. Organised by students Michael Dickinson, Rod Hayes and David Turner, they invited the then Federal Opposition Leader Gough Whitlam to deliver the inaugural lecture titled 'An Urban Australia' in the Great Hall.

The Wilkinson Lecture has been delivered many times since by many eminent architects, planners and historians. In 2008 we were privileged to have the team conserving the Parthenon in Athens describe their massive project to a packed McLaurin Hall. In 2009, Richard Francis-Jones, an alumnus of the faculty, delivered it in the main theatre of the new award-winning Law School which he designed.