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Architecture Doctoral Student Colloquium: Conversation 3, "Urban Enthnography: Documentary Practices in the Architectural Context"


This session is organized around the role that documentary methods of engagement and analysis might play within architectural research. Questions include: what is the scope of the documentation? What is the end goal? Does documentation always need to explore a specific research hypothesis, or is there value in a more open-ended approach? What are the ethical concerns involved, and what issues of accountability might apply? At what point in the research process might non-textual forms of documentation occur? Through the presentation of work by our invited guests, with discussion to follow, we will be exploring ways in which ethnographic and / or documentary practices might inform architectural research, and / or research into the built environment more generally. We will consider this topic both in terms of specific forms of mediated production (film, sound, photography, narrative), as well as methodology (ethics of engagement and best practices.)

Each year, the Doctoral Program in Architecture at Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning sponsors a series of discussions on a topic of interest in architectural research. This year, the doctoral colloquium, titled “The City Critical,” will explore issues in urban research using Detroit at the case study. In investigating the numerous techniques used to engage with the condition of Detroit, the colloquium will raise questions concerning effective research, design, curation, and activism, while foregrounding interventions in Detroit as effective and globally-applicable models.