Monsoon Assemblages was an interdisciplinary, practice driven research project that drew on the environmental humanities (anthropology, environmental studies, political ecology, cultural geography and philosophy), the natural sciences (meteorology, climatology and climate science) and spatial design (architecture and landscape architecture) to undertake research into the impacts of changing monsoon climates and rapid urbanisation in four of South and South-East Asia’s rapidly growing cities – Chennai, Delhi and Dhaka and Yangon.
THE PROJECT TEAM
To undertake the project, an interdisciplinary team was assembled in the School of Architecture + Cities at the University of Westminster. It comprised:
Exhibition Designer: Dr Jonathan Cane (2020-2021)
Exhibition Designer: Andrea Hayes (2020-2021)
DS18 Tutors: Roberto Bottazzi (2016-2018), John Cook (2018-2019), Ben Pollock (2018-2019)
Research Assistants: Georgia Trower (2017-2018), Tom Benson (2018), Thomas Blain (2018)
Business Support: Zahra Mohamed-Saleh (2016-2018)
Business Support: Aisha Forde (2018)
INTERNATIONAL ADVISORY BOARD
The project was advised by an international advisory board whose members included leading researchers and designers in the fields of anthropology, architecture, geography and environmental studies, landscape architecture, law, meteorology, planning, politics and international relations, social science and South Asian studies. Board members were:
Professor Simon Joss, Professor of Urban Futures in the School of Social and Political Sciences, University of Glasgow
Professor Sunil Amrith, Department of History, Yale University
Dr. Kazi Khaleed Ashraf, Director-General, Bengal Institute for Architecture, Landscapes and Settlements
Professor David Chandler, Department of Politics and International Relations, University of Westminster
Dr. Dilip Da Cunha, Department of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, Columbia University; Department of Urban Planning and Design, Harvard Graduate School of Design; Srishti School of Art, Design, and Technology, Bangalore
Dr. Radha D’Souza, Law School, University of Westminster
Dr Pamila Gupta, Professor, Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research, University of Witwatersrand
Professor Kirsten Blinkenberg Hastrup, Department of Anthropology, University of Copenhagen
Professor Anuradha Mathur, Department of Landscape Architecture, PennDesign, University of Pennsylvania
Professor Chella Rajan, Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, Indian Institute of Technology, Madras
Dr. Andrew Turner, Department of Meteorology, University of Reading
Professor Johan Woltjer, School of Architecture + Cities, University of Westminster
The project was housed in the School of Architecture + Cities at the University of Westminster. It was partnered with:
In addition to partner institutions, Monsoon Assemblages also collaborated with and was assisted by other organisations in undertaking and disseminating its research, including:
Care Earth Trust, a Chennai based technical Non-Governmental Organisation founded in 2000 with the mission of conserving biodiversity for human wellbeing through research, advocacy and capacity building.
Research Initiatives, Bangladesh (RIB), a Non-Governmental Organisation set up in 2002 to support research aimed at identifying strategies and programs that could ensure sustainable, progressive alleviation of poverty in Bangladesh.
DESIGN STUDIO 18
An unconventional aspect of Monsoon Assemblages was the alignment of DS18, the Master of Architecture (MArch) design studio at the University of Westminster with the research project for three years (2016-2019). Masters level students developed and tested representational and design strategies and prototypes in response to design briefs in Chennai, Dhaka and Yangon.
Yr 1: Constantina Avraamides, Sarah Bass, Charlotte Birch, Robert Fernandes-Dwyer, Rosanna Rolfe, Ben Street, Nora Szosznyak, Georgia Trower.
Yr 2: Tom Benson, Monica Cristu, Emma Hilton-Grange, Jeronimo Garcia, Seetul Ghattaora, Sebastien Monceaux, Laura Nica, Connor Page, Cid Schuler, Calvin Sin, Charles Weston-Smith.
Year 1: Raymonde Bieler, Thomas Blain, Aimee Cornelius, William Galloway, Lidia Gherghe, Fiona Grieve, Tahin Khan, Elisabetta Lafratta, Wendy Leung, Omar Manshi, James Purchon, Patricia Trivino, Rachel Wakelin, Qishuo Zhang.
Year 2: Constantina Avraamides, Anett Bako, Sarah Bass, Charlotte Birch, Robert Fernandes-Dwyer, Alexandra Horsman, Rosanna Rolfe, Georgia Trower, Costas Xenophontos.
Year 1: Tamanna Akhter, Jessmine Bath, Aimee Daniels, Katherine Dechow, Dagmara Dyner, Charlotte Grasselli,, Kate Hosking, Sara Kosanovic, Una Ledaal, Ioana Ungureanu.
Year 2:Raymonde Bieler, Thomas Blain, Aimee Cornelius, Lidia Gherghe, Fiona Grieve, Elisabetta Lafratta, Omar Manshi, James Purchon, Patricia Trivino, Rachel Wakelin.