Dr Elahe Karimnia

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  • Qualifications:PhD MSc M.Arch FHEA
  • Position:Senior Lecturer in Critical Urban Practice
  • Department:College of Arts, Technology and Environment School of Architecture and Environment
  • Telephone:+4411732 81752
  • Email:Elahe.Karimnia@uwe.ac.uk
  • Social media: LinkedIn logo Twitter logo

About me

I am an interdisciplinary urban scholar interested in Critical Urban Practices through which public and cultural life of cities are designed. These practices are feminist and decolonial in their imaginations, collaborative in their processes, and creative in their approaches.

My research is at the intersection of spatial practice and critical urban theory. I am intrigued by implementation of concepts - such as inclusivity - in urban planning and design, more in relation to the politics of design, intentions, narratives, and materiality as well as imbalanced power dynamics of its process. In my doctoral research "Producing Publicness" (Karimnia, 2018) at KTH Stockholm, I developed a critique of designing public spaces and the gap between intentions and outcomes of designing democratic inclusive spaces. I explored (re)appropriation of public spaces, not as unintended consequence, but as creative spatial practice that can creatively transform the publicness of urban spaces. The thesis articulates a productive dialogue between architects, spatial planners and users of public spaces.

In current project, I explore the potential of Temporary Practices, for interrupting the mainstream urban imaginaries, and providing alternative narratives that can help cities towards a just transition. I collaborate in research on Sparks Bristol as a meanwhile project, to investigate new visions for social and cultural infrastructures and models of community spaces as creative ecologies.

Prior to joining UWE, I served as an Associate in 'Urban Research and Spatial Practice' at Theatrum Mundi, a pioneering non-profit research centre based in London and Paris which aims to expand the crafts of city-making through collaboration between artists, architects and urbanists. I was responsible for research and writings on 'Urban Backstages' project exploring spaces and infrastructures for cultural production in cities. I was also involved in 'Choreographing the City' and 'Movement Forum' projects which offer interdisciplinary methods between choreography and urban design for designing (im)mobility justice in cities.

I have collaborated with different universities and programmes in both design studios and seminar classes, such as the MA Cities at Central Saint Martins in London (Voices of the City), the MSc in Sustainable Urban Planning and Design (Urban Theory + Urban Design Studio) and MSc in Urbanism Studies (Placemaking Studio) at KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm.

At UWE, I am the Co-programme Leader of BA(HONS) Architecture and Planning programme; also supervising PhD theses, MSc and UG dissertations., and teaching across Urban Geography, Urban Planning, and Architecture. 

I am currently supervising a DPhil (researching Belonging in Place/ - making: tools to creatively cultivate belonging in processes of public placemaking); and three PhD students (researching: Interactive Documentary Inspiring Design; Gender-based inequalities in the city - the role and potentials of urban planning; Co-designing Green Spaces to Improve Mental Health of Young People).

Area of expertise

- Designing publicness: creative and experimental urban practices in designing public and cultural life of cities;
- Practice-led research methodologies; 
- Dialectical thinking and Dialogic learning as critical tools for urban design; 


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