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Chega de Saudade, see you next time!

Posted on 29-09-2021

The RE-DWELL Lisbon workshop was a particularly challenging experience for me. It was the very first time that the entire cohort of ESR's would summon, several lectures and guest speakers would come to complement and enrich the variety of perspectives on the issues that interest us the most. The three-days programme seemed an utterly refreshing event that would inspire us to take off in this research journey. Lisbon was the perfect scenery, with its distinctive pleasant weather, sinuous alleys full of history and architectural enchant. But also with an acute housing crisis that demands immediate solutions.

 

All of this sounds quite positive, so you might be wondering why it ended up being so challenging. Well, simply because I was the only one that couldn’t make it to Lisbon. That’s right, the Coronavirus post-pandemic world kept stubbornly making my life difficult and what in other times would entail a really simple trip from London to Lisbon, now meant the possibility of going back to quarantine afterwards. So, I had to catch up with the team in activities that were clearly designed to be carried out within the classroom, hands-on, organic and open to, perhaps one of the most exciting aspects of (on site)-human interaction, unpredictability. The unpredictability that leads to opportunities, the doses of chaos that make workshops a fruitful encounter. And inevitably, Microsoft Teams became my best ally to plough through the 985 miles* that were separating me from the vivid tête-à-têtes that my colleagues were having those days.

 

However, it was not always difficult to engage during the sessions. The open roundtable with guests experts discussing transdisciplinary research on housing rendered a very refreshing debate on how to apply transdisciplinary principles and theories, and common pitfalls and opportunities when researching sustainable and affordable housing. It was the demonstration of the evolution that these ideas have had in time and an urgent call to truly consider transdisciplinary and participatory practices in decision-making boards and academia. The importance of devoting comprehensive efforts to develop the field of housing studies, assembling not only economists but also architects, urban planners and other professionals involved in the production of the built environment; and to bring about a real research culture at the heart of architecture schools, are some of the takeaways I got from this stimulating debate.

 

Now that the workshop is done, and after witnessing my fellow ESR's having such a prolific time there. I only have to say that I won't miss the Nicosia summer school for anything in the world!

So see you in Cyprus from the 15 to 19 Nov!          

 

*1,585.76 km. (For the ones that, like me, are still trying to get used to the odd imperial system) 

 

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