6th European Congress of Qualitative Inquiry. Qualitative Inquiry in the Anthroprocene: Affirmative and generative possibilities for (Post) Anthropocentric futures.

Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipation in conference

Description of Activity

Presented a paper entitled 'Material Encounters: Intra-Actions/Cuts.'

We see that problems in architectural design – particularly those around implicit and explicit adherence to both binary thinking and the speculative, future-oriented instrumentalist nature of spatial design – are indeed the problems which face us more broadly in the anthropocene.

These problems are sediment in the design process, specifically in architectural drawing practices. Buildings are imagined through abstract thinking and the tip of a fine black line, they are drawn on tracing, or detail paper and are produced through dry descriptions.

In architecture, the twin problems of binary thinking and future-oriented speculations are both about remaining in disconnectedness, in separation: the separation of subject and object (and subject and subject, object and object…) and humans and other-than-humans, and the separation of ‘now’ and ‘then’. And it is our view that the ‘problems’ of the now all result from this adherence to this disconnectedness, be it climate catastrophe, military aggressions, species extinction, or inequalities. Of course, these problems are neither ‘caused’ nor ‘healed’ by spatial design; architecture is a collaborator in complex ecologies. But its role is not insignificant, we investigate modes of engagement, of making, which resonate with the relationality and connectedness of everything, with the ‘being-with’ of co-existence (with other humans, non-humans, animals, plants, the earth, weather, etc.).
This paper establishes the notion of poetic encounters as constituting phenomena – in this case, situated environments. These poetic encounters are construed as choreographic practices, as modes of engagement. Our use of the poetic draws upon its 'first cousin' poiesis, as making, as "the activity in which [...] something [is brought] into being that did not exist before." For us, this making/becoming is situated within feminist new materialist thinking and practices. The poetic also embodies the political in its inherent relationship between aesthetic form and meaning – here we will be calling upon Jacques Rancière and possible 'redistributions of the sensible' through our encounters –, meaning which is in place of prosaic meanings.
Period10 Jan 202313 Jan 2023
Event typeConference
LocationPortsmouth, United KingdomShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational


  • Poiesis
  • Phronesis
  • Ontopoetics
  • Sensory
  • cutting-together-apart