Utopian Acts 1


Spaces of Feminist SF Workshop

Workshop at Utopian Acts
Event at Birkbeck University


Panel: Building Utopia: 13:45 - 15:15, GOR G01

Come and re-stage the imagined worlds of feminist utopian novels, in a workshop that asks you to build and occupy the spaces of science fiction. Through the collective process of make-shift construction, we will create a common ground to discuss how architecture can reflect, shape, or support utopian social practice.


Over the course of this workshop held as part of the ‘utopian acts’ conference, the ubiquitous space of a university seminar room was briefly transformed. Participants were asked to read extracts from three works of feminist utopian science fiction (sf): Ursula Le Guin’s ‘The Dispossessed’, Marge Piercy’s ‘Woman on the Edge of Time’ and Sally Miller Gearharts’ ‘The Wanderground: Stories of the Hill Women’. They then worked in groups to rearrange the furniture into an echo of the utopian space of the text. By inhabiting these temporary stagings of utopian space the participants disrupted existing patterns of behaviour and opened up a site for alternatives.  

This process of imaginative construction is extended into this paper which crosses the fields of architecture, utopian studies, drawing and performance. A series of narrative architectural drawings by the author are presented alongside commentary from the workshop participants to reflect on multiple voices and modes of interpretation which shaped these overlapping utopian acts of construction. 


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“.. they open up the discussion and allow anybody to respond without fear of judgment or fear of being wrong …it allows you to have an emotional response and leaves room for people to interpret the installations however they wish…. gave us all room to interpret and create in a safe space, and then reflect on that as a group and find meaning.”

"Plumbly, interview.