School of Geography

Migrants and their money

The City Centre logo

Launch Day: 7 December 2006

For further information, please contact Professor Jane Wills

The Pinter Studio, Queen Mary, Mile End Campus
a performance by Geography undergraduate students directed by London Bubble

City Centre launch poster

Room 125 in the Geography Department, Mile End Campus
Round table: Politics, culture and performance in the city
Chair and opening statement: David Pinder (Queen Mary)

  • Karen Tomlin, London Bubble
  • Bobby Baker, artist and creative fellow, Queen Mary
  • Angharad Wynne-Jones, LIFT
  • James Marriott, Co-Director of PLATFORM and AHRC Research Fellow, Department of Sociology, Goldsmiths College

Formal opening of The City Centre, ribbon cutting by Professor Philip Ogden (Queen Mary)
Refreshments and displays of student research projects in The City Centre

Small/Clinical lecture theatre, Francis Bancroft Building, Mile End Campus
Round table: Politics, justice and civil society in the contemporary city
Chair and opening statement: Professor Jane Wills (Queen Mary)

  • Professor Doreen Massey (Open University)
  • Madeleine Bunting (Demos)
  • Monsignor John Armitage (Diocese of Brentwood and London Citizens)
  • Dr Dilwar Hussain (Islamic Foundation, Leceister)
  • Mr Asad Rehman (Chair, Newham Monitoring Project)
  • Professor Yves Cabannes (University College London)

8pm onwards
Refreshments outside the small/clinical lecture theatre

The City Centre logo

Migrants and their Money: Securing a Better Deal
28 April 2007
organised by The City Centre and London Citizens

Ongoing research led by staff at The City Centre has identified the importance of remittance sending for foreign-born workers in London’s low paid economy. The ESRC-funded Global Cities at Work research project [new window] found that the majority of low paid migrants were sending money back home, adding to the difficulties they faced in living in London.

London Citizens [new window] has become increasingly interested in the issues of financial exclusion and remittance-sending through the experiences of low paid workers belonging to the London Citizens Workers Association and in their other member organisations such as churches, mosques and trade union branches. They are exploring the possibility of developing new financial products to help this under-banked group of workers and to find ways of assisting them in sending money back home without having the use the services of exploitative intermediaries.

The City Centre and London Citizens thus came together to organise a workshop entitled Migrants and their money: Securing a better deal. The programme and links to powerpoint presentations are listed below. The highlight of the workshop was a presentation by Lauren Leimbach, Executive Director of Community Financial Resources [new window] from the USA. Her organisation has developed a new debit card that is being marketed and supported via a network of workers centres in the USA.

The City Centre and London Citizens now plan to develop further research to explore the financial services needs, experiences and demands of low paid migrant workers in London with a view to replicating this model of service provision in the USA (more to follow on this).

Workshop Day at The City Centre,
Queen Mary University of London, Mile End Road, London E1 4NS

Degree programmes


10am Registration and coffees/teas
10.30am Welcome to City Centre and outline of the Centre’s mission
– Professor Jane Wills
Introduction to London Citizens and outline of the day’s purpose
– Catherine Howarth
10.40am Introductions
11am – Leon Isaacs, Coinstar and UK Remittance Taskforce
11.25am – Dr Kavita Datta and Dr Cathy McIlwaine, Queen Mary, University of London [new window]
11.50pm Response: What Happens to Remittances on reaching Destinations Overseas
– Professor Yves Cabannes, Development Planning Unit, University College London
1pm – Lauren Leimbach, Executive Director, Community Financial Resources
1.40pm – Gibril Faal, Chair, AFFORD [new window]
2pm Participants will break into groups to discuss/propose practical steps forward to address issues raised during the day
2.40pm Final plenary
3pm Close of workshop

Creditocracy and the case for debt refusal

Andrew Ross (New York University)

Thursday 27th March 2014, 2.00pm  Room 126, Geography Building

In this open lecture and discussion based on his new book, Andrew Ross argues that we are in the cruel grip of a creditocracy – where the finance industry commandeers our elected governments and where the citizenry have to take out loans to meet their basic needs. The implications of mass indebtedness for any democracy are profound, and history shows that whenever a creditor class becomes as powerful as Wall Street, the result has been debt bondage for the bulk of the population.


Following in the ancient tradition of the jubilee, activists have had some success in repudiating the debts of developing countries. The time is ripe, Ross asserts, for a debtors’ movement to use the same kinds of moral and legal arguments to bring relief to household debtors in the North. After examining the varieties of lending that have contributed to the crisis, Ross suggests ways of lifting the burden of illegitimate debts from our backs, and outlines the kind of alternative economy we need to replace a predatory debt-money system that only benefits the 1%.


Andrew Ross is Professor of Social and Cultural Analysis at New York University, and an activist with Strike Debt and the Rolling Jubilee. He has written for the Nation, New York Times, Guardian, and Village Voice, and he is the author of many books, including, most recently, Creditocracy and the Case For Debt Refusal, Bird on Fire: Lessons from the World’s Least Sustainable City, and Nice Work If You Can Get It: Life and Labor in Precarious Times.

Research seminars in the City Centre seminar room 


l-r Professor Miles Ogborn, Professor David M Smith, Professor Paul Cloke, Professor Jon May

15 November 2012, 6.00 – 7.15pm


Rich Media Playback   Vodcast Playback   Podcast Playback

Venue: David Sizer Lecture Theatre, Francis Bancroft Building

Postsecular Stirrings? Geographies of hope in amongst neoliberalism

Professor Paul Cloke Professor of Human Geography, University of Exeter

Chair: Professor Miles Ogborn Head of School of Geography

Third Sector organisations associated with welfare, care and justice have become a significant element in the contemporary political and ethical landscape. These include a notable segment that is faith- motivated and founded on attempts to practice and perform theo-ethics. Far from simply being co-opted into neoliberal ideology and subject-formation, these organisations can represent spaces of resistance to neoliberalism. Moreover, in the possibility of establishing practical partnerships of postsecular rapprochement between different faith-related and non-religious groups, these ethical spaces can, I argue, become hopeful spaces of collaborative care and empowerment. In this way, postsecularism may be understood not as an epochal shift in the relations between the secular and the religious, but (following Klaus Eder and Jurgen Habermas) as a process by which the “hushed up voice of religion” in the public sphere is being heard again within specific postsecular technologies and spaces of reflexive ethical translation and crossover ethical narratives.

Paul Cloke is Professor of Human Geography at the University of Exeter, having previously held Chairs at the University of Bristol and University of Wales. Over the last decade he has been involved in collaborative research into ethical geographies, focusing in particular on responses to homelessness, the new politics of ethical consumption and the growing significance of faith-based or theo-ethics in contemporary society. He is currently engaged in research on postsecularism and faith-based interventions in a range of welfare and justice arenas. His latest books include: Swept Up Lives? Re-envisioning the Homeless City (Wiley-Blackwell, 2010, with Jon May and Sarah Johnsen); Globalising Responsibility: The Political Rationalities of Ethical Consumption (Wiley-Blackwell, 2011, with Clive Barnett, Nick Clarke and Alice Malpass) and Faith-based Organisations and Social Exclusion in European Cities (Policy Press, 2012, with Justin Beaumont).

See more images from this event


Tuesday 23 October, 2.30-5.30pm


City Centre seminar room, second floor of the Francis Bancroft building


  • Gillian Rose (Open University), 'Photography and/as urban research under conditions of convergence'
  • Jonas Larsen (Roskilde University and QM Visiting Fellow), 'Towards embodied ethnographies of urban cycling'
  • Justin Spinney (Southampton University), 'Glancing, glimpsing and glazing: the role of movement, technology and the body in framing fractured visualities’

Chair: David Pinder (QMUL)


Wednesday 24 October, 2-4pm


Graduate student methods training workshop

Jonas Larsen (Roskilde University and QM Visiting Fellow)

City Centre seminar room, second floor of Francis Bancroft

With inspiration from 'the new mobilities paradigm', this workshop explores ways in which one can conduct mobile ethnographies of mobile practices such as being a tourist, commuting, driving or cycling. To research mobility through ethnographic participation one needs to be on the move, to study it as it takes place in situ - on the street and in the city, as and when it is performed. More specifically, the workshop addresses the epistemological, practical and ethical dimensions of doing research on the move with people that are mobile too.


Wednesday 21st March 2012

Urban Emotions: A Symposium on Stress and the City

The City Centre and the Centre for the History of Emotions, QMUL

GO Jones, room 602, Queen Mary, University of London, 2.30 – 6.00pm

The city has long been held up as a kind of psychopathological miasma. From the urban hypochondria identified by George Cheyne in The English Malady (1733) through to the theories of alienation and anomie advanced by Emile Durkheim, Walter Benjamin and Louis Wirth, the speed and stress of city life is seen as exhausting psychological resources and undermining mental health.  In 2011 Canadian and German neuroscientists claimed to have demonstrated the overstimulation of the amygdala in city dwellers led to long term changes brain function.

In this workshop, co-organised by QMUL’s City Centre and Centre for the History of the Emotions, Felicity Callard, James Mansell and Edmund Ramsden will interrogate the apparent connections between urbanism and psychopathology and consider the theories and techniques that have been deployed to make these forces visible.  Organisers and chairs: Rhodri Hayward (Centre for the History of Emotions) and David Pinder (School of Geography and the City Centre)

All welcome.

James Mansell (Nottingham), ‘Londonitis’: noise and nervousness in early twentieth-century London
What was the relationship between the experience of urban noise and popular constructions of 'nervousness' in early twentieth-century culture?  Organisations such as the Anti-Noise League (established in 1933) took it for granted that noise was the cause of 'nervous exhaustion' in London's population (a condition labelled 'Londonitis' by medical writer Edwin Ash) and successfully lobbied for all kinds of new legislation to control the urban soundscape. Emerging between somatic and psychological explanations for nervous illness, the early twentieth-century medicalisation of urban noise relied upon a hybridisation of the two. This paper examines popular psychological writings in order to explain why noise, often as a metaphor for modernity itself, came to be considered such a significant threat to twentieth-century urbanism.

Edmund Ramsden (Manchester), Coping with the ‘whirl of the crowd’: animal models and model cities in the twentieth-century United States
The study of population dynamics by animal ecologists and ethologists helped generate considerable interest in the problem of crowding stress among social and medical scientists and the design and planning professions. Most notable were a series of experiments on rats and mice carried out by John B. Calhoun at the National Institute of Mental Health from 1956-1986. In 1962, Calhoun published a particularly influential paper that identified a series of “social pathologies” that resulted from increased population density, such as violence, withdrawal and sexual deviance. The paper will explore how Calhoun’s work was used to express fears of, and solutions for, the damaging effects of the American city on social behaviour and psychosocial wellbeing. However, in spite of its influence, Calhoun’s rats also served as a focal point for growing opposition to the attempts to resolve urban problems regarding mental health and social deviancy through the planning and design of physical spaces.

Felicity Callard (MPIWG, Berlin and Durham), Where did the city go? Donald Klein, panic disorder, and the rethinking of agoraphobia

When agoraphobia emerged as a named condition in the early 1870s, discussions regarding its phenomenology and aetiology intimately engaged the question of urban modernity. Both in pre-psychoanalytic and psychoanalytic formulations of agoraphobia, for example, the spatial form of the city – its architecture, its socio-spatial relations, its materialization of a ‘public sphere’ – were central to accounts of what agoraphobia was, whence it arose, and how it might be combated. But after the Second World War, psychiatrists and psychologists’ investigations of agoraphobic anxiety tended to result in the city falling away as a central analytical term. In various models that attempted to account for pathological anxiety that limited individuals’ ability to move freely in their daily lives, the city appeared as a kind of backdrop – if it appeared at all. In this paper, I address the formulations of the American psychiatrist and psychopharmacologist Donald Klein, whose influential research on panic disorder (which he started in the 1950s and continues to this day) exemplifies this turn away from the city. His conceptualizations of pathological anxiety served to install a very different model of the articulation between subject, pathological emotion and socio-spatial word, a model that has had – through its consolidation in American psychiatric nosology – a significant influence on today’s Anglo-American discourses concerning anxiety and public space.  


l-r; Professor Jon May, Professor Miles Ogborn, Professor Geraldine Pratt, Dr Kavita Datta

Thursday 15th March 2012

Professor Geraldine Pratt (University of British Columbia)

Temporary Foreign Workers and Their Children: (Neo)Liberal Compromises and the Violence of Inclusion

2012 Distinguished Visitor Lecture at the School of Geography

The vodcast/podcast of the Lecture is available at the following links.

Rich Media



For further details click here 

Thursday 24 November 2011

Professor Jamie Peck (University of British Columbia)

Fast Policy, at the Limits of Neoliberalism

Eighth David M. Smith Annual Lecture at the School of Geography

Drapers’ Lecture Theatre, 6.00 – 7.00pm

Chair: Professor Morag Shiach, 
Vice Principal for Humanities and Social Sciences, Queen Mary, University of London

Now available as video and podcast:

Rich Media:



The lecture will explore the phenomenon of globalizing “fast policy,” a form of contemporary policy development characterized by accelerated, transnational emulation and by continuous, multi-site mutation. The post-financial crisis reinvention of neoliberalism, as the prevailing form of market-oriented governance, provides the context for the analysis, both conceptually and historically. Contemporary forms of neoliberalization, it is argued, are being realized and reproduced through historically distinctive processes of fast policy formation. This calls for new forms of critical policy analysis, specifically concerned with the construction, circulation, and contradictions of rapidly diffusing policy norms, models, and practices. This “policy mobilities” approach is exemplified by way of a comparative analysis of two fast-moving policy innovations, both of which are associated with “silver bullet” policy models, and both of which have traveled “up hill,” from the global South to the global North: participatory budgeting (PB) and conditional cash transfers(CCTs). Both policies originated in Latin America in the 1990s, but have since been widely propagated around the world. They are also positioned, in historical terms and maybe also as policy rationalities, at the edges or “limits” of neoliberalization.

Jamie Peck is Canada Research Chair in Urban & Regional Political Economy and Professor of Geography at the University of British Columbia, Canada. His publications include Constructions of neoliberal reason (2010), Contesting neoliberalism: urban frontiers (2007, coedited with Helga Leitner & Eric Sheppard), Workfare states (2001), Work-place: the social regulation of labor markets (1996), and the Wiley- Blackwell Companion to Economic Geography (2012, coedited with Trevor Barnes & Eric Sheppard).


Wednesday 14th September 2011

Cities, Communities and Connections

AHRC-funded workshop held at the City Centre, Queen Mary, University of London

This is the third of four workshops funded as part of the AHRC research review on 'Connected communities: diaspora and transnationality', based at Queen Mary, University of London. The research team includes Alison Blunt, Jayani Bonnerjee and Cathy McIlwaine (School of Geography) and Cliff Pereira (community engagement facilitator). Each workshop aims to bring together academics, members of community organizations and those working in the arts and cultural sector. The workshops include a mix of short presentations and discussions, activities using texts, objects and images, and a final discussion about ideas for future collaborative research.

Building on the previous workshop on 'Home, Migration and Community' (held at The Geffrye Museum, 29 June 2011), this workshop will explore public and urban spaces of encounter, connection and exchange, focusing on workplaces, sites of consumption and leisure spaces. A key theme will be to explore different maps of the city as a way of thinking about proximity and distance, connection and disconnection, both within and between different communities. Presentations will address different encounters for the Latin American community at the Elephant and Castle (Patria Roman-Velazquez, City University), migrant workers and low-paid employment in London (Cathy McIlwaine, QMUL), memory maps of migrants from Calcutta (Jayani Bonnerjee, QMUL) and the work of the London Transport Museum in mapping connections across different cities and communities through the Stories of the World: Journeys project (Michelle Brown). Sue Mayo (Magic Me) will speak about her intergenerational work with the Women’s Library and lead two workshop sessions focusing on mapping London. Alistair Campbell (QMUL) will talk about The Living Map project and lead a workshop session tto create a performance about routes through the city.

See the subsequent publication: Connected Communities: Diaspora and Transnationality, by Jayani Bonnerjee, Alison Blunt, Cathy McIlwaine and Clifford Pereira (QMUL, January 2012)


Wednesday 6 July 2011

London Olympics: What's in it for Women?

Arts Lecture Theatre, QMUL, 1.30-5.30, followed by a reception

The London Women and Planning Forum wishes to explore how much and in what ways gender has been taken into account in planning 2012. Has the Olympic site been designed to address gender issues relating to ergonomics, safety, transport and accessibility? Have the competition facilities been designed to raise the profile of women's sports? Have the Olympic boroughs used the 2012 opportunity to increase the provision of women-friendly sporting venues? Will the Olympic legacy result in more women participating in exercise and sport? What are the wider implications for urban design of policies aimed at increasing women's participation in and access to sports?"

Speakers: Rima Akhtar (Chair, Muslim Women's Sport Foundation); Jayne Caudwell (Chelsea School, University of Brighton); Alison Nimmo CBE (Director of Design & Regeneration, Olympic Delivery Authority); Tim Woodhouse (Head of Policy and External Affairs, Women's Sport and Fitness Foundation). Discussant: Louise Mansfield (Department of Sport Science, Tourism and Leisure, Canterbury Christ Church University). Chair: Alison Blunt, Professor of Geography and Chair of the London Women and Planning Forum


20 May 2011

Workshop: Anti-/Fascism in a Globalising World: Seeking Transformative Politics beyond the Ballot Box

Francis Bancroft 1.02, 9.30am–5.30pm

This interdisciplinary workshop, open to academics and non-academics, explores the possibilities of a re-emergence of radical critiques of fascism and enactments of anti-fascism, particularly focussing on anti-authoritarian and autonomous organisational forms and philosophies. The workshop links this to the particular condition of globalisation as a factor in the constitution of fascism and anti-fascism in the present period.

Speakers include:  Mark Hayes, Nick Gill, Phil Johnstone, Andy Williams, Anthony Ince, Oisin Gilmore, David Broder and Johnnie Crossan.

Organised by Anthony Ince. Part-funded by the Anarchist Studies Network, a research group of the Political Studies Association. 

For more information, see: /geography/newsevents/events/46854.html



Wednesday 16 March 2011

Women and Worship: New Approaches to Sacred Space

London Women and Planning Forum seminar, organised with the Women's Design Service

City Centre Seminar Room, Francis Bancroft Building, 1.30pm - 5.30pm

This half-day seminar forms the final element of 'Women, Worship and Space', a Women's Design Service project funded by the Faiths in Action strand of the Department of Communities & Local Government. Religious practices are often replicated in social and domestic rituals, but how acceptable space for women is determined by their faith is poorly understood in the wider community. This project brings women from different communities together to create shared space for dialogue, by exploring sacred spaces and how they are used.

Drawing on previous visits to sacred spaces and narrative work with women of faith in east London, we shall ask: how can we understand different faith spaces as communal and inclusive, if women are excluded from some of these? Is exclusion designed into religious buildings? If so, where is the appropriate space for dialogue?  Can we share sacred space?

Speakers:  Patrick Anderson `(Planning Advisor, Planning Aid for London); Dr Amanda Claremont (Chair, Women's Design Service / LWPF); Dr Ann David (Principal Lecturer, Department of Dance, Roehampton University); Dr HaeRan Shin (Lecturer at the Bartlett School of Planning / LWPF); Dr Barbra Wallace - Director, Women's Design Service.



Thursday 18 November 2010

Professor David Harvey (City University of New York Graduate Center)

The Dialectics of Social Change

Seventh David M. Smith lecture at Queen Mary

Skeel Lecture Theatre, People’s Palace
Queen Mary, University of London, Mile End Road, London E1 4NS

David Harvey is a Distinguished Professor at the City University of New York (CUNY) and the Director of The Center for Place, Culture and Politics. He is a geographer whose interpretations of the workings of economies, polities and societies have had great influence on other disciplines. His numerous books include The Limits to Capital (1982), Consciousness and the Urban Experience (1985), The Condition of Postmodernity (1989), Justice, Nature and the Geography of Difference (1996), Spaces of Hope (2000), The New Imperialism (2003), A Brief History of Neoliberalism (2005) and The Enigma of Capital (2010).



28 October 2010

Professor Ash Amin (University of Durham)

Cities and the Ethic of Care Among Strangers

Public lecture: Clinical Medical Lecture Theatre, Francis Bancroft Building, 6pm

Thinking on the politics of integration in plural and diverse societies has only just begun to recognise how everyday habits of encounter shape feelings of affinity or distance among strangers. In this lecture, Professor Ash Amin will consider the balance between bodily experience of the other and habits of urban dwelling in shaping relations between a city’s diverse communities. He will propose that, although worthy, attempts to break down community barriers through initiatives to bring people from different backgrounds together can only have a limited effect since most people in cities interact only fleetingly or rarely with strangers. Instead, he will make the case for a far broader approach based around building on the shared experiences of people living in an urban environment, involving interventions in a city’s public infrastructure and its cultures of shared concerns and attachments. Professor Amin will warn, however, that little progress will be made unless a new public aversion in the West towards the stranger, which is evolving into a broader sentiment of suspicion about difference, can be overcome.

Ash Amin is Professor of Geography at Durham University and the Executive Director of the Institute of Advanced Study. He is well known for his work on regional economic restructuring in conditions of globalisation, on reimagining what plural and diverse cities might be, and on the future for left politics. He is the author or editor of 17 books, including Cities: Re-imagining the Urban (2002, with Nigel Thrift), Placing the Social Economy (2002 with Angus Cameron and Ray Hudson) and The Blackwell Cultural Economy Reader (2004, edited with Nigel Thrift). His next book – Political Openings: An Essay on Left Futures (with Nigel Thrift) – is to be published by Duke University Press.



Monday 22 March 2010

Global Cities at Work: New Migrant Divisions of Labour

Discussion and celebration to mark the publication of this book by Kavita Datta, Yara Evans, Joanna Herbert, Jon May, Cathy McIlwaine, Jane Wills (Pluto Press, 2010)

At the The Octagon, QMUL, 7–9pm.

Global Cities at Work is about the people who always get taken for granted. The people who clean our offices, care for our elders and change the sheets on the bed. The book draws on testimony from more than 800 foreign-born workers employed in low-paid jobs in London during the first decade of the 21st century. We link London's new migrant division of labour to the twin processes of subcontracting and increased international migration. The book calls attention to the issue of working poverty and its impact on unemployment and community cohesion in London.

Chaired by Jane Wills. Introduction to Global Cities at Work by Kavita Datta, Jon May and Cathy McIlwaine. Followed by responses from: Marzena Chichon (London Citizens’ living wage campaign); Mark Abani (The Central Association of Nigerians in the UK); and Don Flynn (Migrants’ Rights Network).

For more information on the book, see:

For more information on the Global Cities at Work research project at QMUL, see: /geography/globalcities/



Wednesday 24 June 2009

Home, Mosque and the Street: Muslim Women and Urban Design

London Women and Planning Forum Seminar
At the City Centre, Queen Mary, University of London

This half-day seminar focuses on Muslim women and their experiences of the built environment, particularly in London. Exploring religious, domestic and 'public' spaces, the seminar will address the ways in which Islamic design principles affect the everyday lives of Muslim women. It will also consider how planners, architects and urban designers can meet the needs of Muslim women from different communities and backgrounds and discuss how Muslim women working in these fields envisage urban change.

Speakers include Salmar Samar Damluji (architect and writer on Islamic design and mudbrick architecture in the Yemen); Barbra Wallace (Director, Women's Design Service); Barara Disney (Commissioning Manager, Older People, London Borough of Tower Hamlets Focusing on Sonali Gardens); Imogen Wallace (Department of Geography, Queen Mary, University
of London); with discussant Claire Dwyer (Department of Geogaphy, University College London).



Monday 27th April 2009

Arts Week Events with PLATFORM, organised by The City Centre

11.30–1.30pm 'Loot!' A walk around the East India Company, the world's first transnational corporation, with interdisciplinary group PLATFORM.
What can we learn about contemporary trade, human rights, and justice from the odyssey of the East India Company? Why is there almost no trace of this behemoth? Investigation, discussion, and tracking with Jane Trowell, starting at Fenchurch Street and ending at Bank.

3.45pm–5.30pm: 'Useful Discomfort: Direct Action, Art, and the Urgency of Slowness'. In Physics 602, GO Jones Building, QMUL. Presentation and discussion with interdisciplinary group PLATFORM, whose work over twenty five years has moved between the street, the office, the river, the fence, the field, cyberspace, and the art space. What does it mean to keep creating work that demands social change and environmental justice in a world where it is all too easy to be driven by emergency? Speakers include Jane Trowell (PLATFORM); David Pinder (Department of Geography, QMUL); Jen Harvie (Department of Drama, QMUL); and Sophie Hope (Birkbeck and B+B).

PLATFORM is a leading exponent of social practice art and brings together artists, social scientists, environmentalists, activists, human rights campaigners and educationalists to create innovative projects driven by the need for social and environmental justice. The group’s interdisciplinary approach combines the transformatory power of art with the tangible goals of campaigning, the rigour of in-depth research with the vision to promote alternative futures. In recent years its members have focused on the cultures and wide-ranging impacts of transnational corporations, and on the ways in which they are shaping our lives with unprecedented power. PLATFORM received Britain’s most prestigious environmental prize, the Schumacher Award in 2000, the first artist-led organisation to be honoured in the history of the event.



2 December 2009
The People’s Legacy: community participation in the shaping of East London 2012 and beyond

Focusing on the extent to which the Olympic Games can act as a catalyst for transformation in the places and people it touches, this event draws on the lessons of previous urban regeneration initiatives. Organised by the City Centre at Queen Mary, in association with the Olympic Park Legacy Company, the event will explore the potential for 2012 to set a new standard in social, economic and political legacy.

Chair: Jane Wills (Deputy Director of the City Centre)


  • Bob Colenutt (University of Northampton)
  • Nick Edwards (Fundamental)
  • Lord Mawson (founder of the Bromley by Bow centre)
  • Gregory Nichols (London Citizens)
  • Samantha Sifah (Olympic Park Legacy Company)
  • Students from the Department of Geography at Queen Mary, University of London

The Legacy Lecture Series has been conceptualised on behalf of the Olympic Park Legacy Company by Gillian Evans, Centre for Research on Socio-Cultural Change, University of Manchester.


Space for dance

London Women and Planning Forum Seminar

Wednesday 9th December 2009, 1.30–6.00

City Centre Seminar Room, Department of Geography, Queen Mary, University of London

This half-day seminar focuses on the importance of dance for women of all ages, and the planning and urban design issues around providing and using different spaces for dance. Drawing on discussions about the role of dance in improving health and wellbeing and ways of encouraging participation, the seminar will consider some of the challenges and opportunities presented by different spaces, and will consider how planners, urban designers and architects can meet the need for welcoming, accessible and innovative spaces for dance.

Welcome: Alison Blunt (QMUL Geography and LWPF Steering Group)

2:00 Sue Tibballs (Women’s Sport and Fitness Foundation)

2:30 Carolyn Deby (LABAN and sirenscrossing

3:15 Lisa Craddock (Foundation for Community Dance)

3:45 Sue Cooper and Lorraine Drolet (Essentially Dance)

4:15 Discussion

5:15 Drinks reception

The seminar fee is £25 and £10 for concessions. Payable on the day in cash or cheque. Please email Evelyn Owen at to reserve a place, and see for more information.


Diaspora Cities: Urban Mobility and Dwelling

One Day Conference on Wednesday 16 September 2009

Held at the City Centre and the Department of Geography, Queen Mary, University of London

Themes include: urban mobility and disapora; urban dwelling and diaspora; representing the city in diaspora: film and art; diasporic urban cosmopolitanisms; diaspora, community and the city; diaspora cities

Welcome by Alison Blunt. Speakers: Misha Myers, David Kendall, Paul Watt, Deirdre Osborne, Kate Edwards, Eduardo Ascensao, David Garbin, Gareth Millington, Yoseka Loshitzky, Ayça Tunç, Nitasha Kaul, Myria Georgiou, Paolo Giaccaria, Uma Kothari, Charles Gore, David Rands, Jennifer Mack, Shompa Lahiri, Noah Hysler-Rubin and Jayani Bonnerjee

For full conference programme see: /geography/diasporacities/programme9-09.pdf

Part of the programme Disapora Cities: Imagining Calcutta in London, Toronto and Jerusalem, funded by The Leverhulme Foundation. For details see: /geography/diasporacities/

Arts of Cities

Seminar series co-convened by David Pinder for the City Centre, QMUL, and the London Group of Historical Geographers, in spring 2009

All seminars are held on Tuesdays at 5pm in the Wolfson Room at the Institute of Historical Research, Senate House, University of London.

20 January 2009
Luke Dickens (Royal Holloway, University of London) These are a few of my favourite fiends: post-graffiti, art worlds and the city

3 February 2009
Ian Walker (Newport School of Art, Media and Design) City gorged with dreams: surrealism and urban photography in Paris, London and Prague

17 February 2009
Rachel Lichtenstein (Artist, writer and oral historian) Memory embedded in place: exploration of city streets

3 March 2009
Esther Leslie (Birkbeck, University of London) On cold climates and crystal chains: ice and snow in the built imagination

Immaterial Labour and the Metropolis

6 February 2008, 12.30–2pm City Centre Seminar Room, Geography (Francis Bancroft Building, second floor, Room 2.07)

Department of Geography and School of Business and Management Inter-Departmental Seminar

This seminar opens a dialogue on new developments in work and city life. Recent ways of understanding the spread and intensification of capitalist work across bodies have drawn on the rich tradition of theory coming from workerist and post-workerist thought in Italy. The concepts of immaterial and affective labour, mass intellectuality, the general intellect, and cognitive capitalism, to name a few, seek to address the deepening struggle over the exploitation of biopolitical life for private profit. As more and more of social life is drawn into directly productive relations of exploitation, one finds that culture, art, aesthetic, ambience, mood, taste, public opinion and attention, now, more than ever, join science, technology, demography and management in the direct service of accumulation, albeit through the less than direct channels of social labour. Here the metropolis and the university work like a single bodily metabolism. The university pushes culture and science into bodies, and the metropolis pumps it out of these bodies. But what immaterial labour points to is the fissures and fractures of this metabolism, its parasitic and schizophrenic borders, its body doubles, prison breaks, and migrations. The metropolis and the university bring together more than they can account for, and more than they can manage. This seminar will cover some aspects the metroversity as work machine and the sabotage that gives this metroversity its future.

The seminar will feature brief presentations by Arianna Bove, Lecturer in Marketing in SBM, Matteo Pasquinelli, Doctoral Student in SBM, Paolo Do, Doctoral Student in SBM, and Stefano Harney, Reader in Strategy in SBM. This will be followed by a discussion chaired by Professor Jane Wills from Geography.

Interdisciplinary seminars
'Citizenship and Community: Moscow, Paris, London, Berlin and St Petersburg'

6 March 2008, 5.30pm City Centre Seminar Room, Francis Bancroft, Room 2.07

Tristram Hunt (Department of History, Queen Mary), Friedrich Engels’s London

Alastair Owens (Department of Geography, Queen Mary), Living in Victorian London: Materiality and Everyday Life in the Mid-Nineteenth-Century Metropolis

All invited.
For further information, please contact Professor Catherine Merridale or Professor Andreas Schonle.

The First Annual City Centre Workshop: Diaspora and the City [new window]
7 November 2007

Vital Geographies [new window]
ESRC-funded seminar series, 2007

Valuing Migrants in the City
1 May 2007 3.30-5.30pm

The Global Cities at Work team [new window]
Austen Ivereigh, London Citizens, Strangers into Citizens Campaign [new window]
Don Flynn, Migrant Rights Network

Migrant Voices, Migrant Rights [PDF 162KB] [PDF 162 KB]

Migrants and their money
28 April 2007
organised by The City Centre and London Citizens

Launch Day
7 December 2006