Studio leader: Virginia Mannering
Students in this class will propose projects for presentation at the 2020 Edinburgh International Culture Summit. A biennial event, the Summit invites participants from around the globe to ‘share ideas, expertise and best practice, with a view to inspiring positive change in cultural policy and investment’. This year’s brief centres around the imaginative use of redundant infrastructure and its re-purposing for ‘sustainable cultural and community use’, a theme that is particularly relevant to us at this time. The studio’s main ambitions are therefore twofold and set firmly within an Australian framework: students will be asked to reflect upon the role and impact of infrastructures - as complex, fragile and contested spaces, and interrogate the layered and evolving readings of ‘culture’ in a post-colonial context.
The broad area of study in this studio is a section of the Murray River between Albury Wodonga and Swan Hill. As the longest river on the driest occupied continent on earth, the ‘Mighty Murray’ exemplifies the paradox of Australian infrastructure, being both immense yet incredibly fragile. Despite its scale, or perhaps because of it, the river requires careful stewardship. Exploring a series of nodes as case studies and expanding to explore the length of the river, student projects will speculate on the impacts of climate change, population growth and decentralisation that might affect the area and the possible futures that could be imagined for them. These projects are subject to the student’s research but it is imagined they will take the form of, or hybridise, the following: observatories, interpretative centres, conservation areas, mini-museums, climate monitoring stations, hot weather refuges or community centres.