Monsoon Assemblages Seminar Series


Chennai, India. Photo: Beth Cullen

As part of the Monsoon Assemblages research project, the MONASS team are organising a series of public seminars. These seminars have been conceived with at least two objectives in mind.

On one hand, the seminars will assist and inspire the research team in following and tracing the many rivulets of associations that flow through and around the interactions of urban materials and people with the monsoon, as a more-than-human phenomenon. A range of guest presenters will offer their views, snapshots, analyses and accounts on and of specific aspects of the monsoon-city interaction, from diverse standpoints and different intellectual disciplines. Presentations will include perspectives from human geography, disaster management, design, human geography, environmental humanities, culture… The linkages between the work of the presenters and the scope of the project may appear loose at times. However, they are designed with the explicit intention of clearing the field from prefabricated assumptions about the monsoon and allowing fresh inputs to inspire new readings, animate novel discussions and open horizons.

On the other hand, the seminars aim at gathering together a cohesive community animated by a broad and shared intellectual interest or curiosity for the monsoon as a multifaceted, evolving phenomenon. The premise of Monsoon Assemblages is that the monsoon should not be interpreted as “something out there”, to which cities and societies have to adapt or perish, but as something that has ever been present structuring and coproducing cities and societies. In turn, cities and societies have influenced our understanding of the monsoon. Responses to this immense weather system can be traced through a vast, mixed and intertwined bundle of cultural expressions, meteorological observations, land uses plans, built forms, social interactions, labour-capital relations, etc.

We hope the seminar series will inspire people with different backgrounds, not only scholars, to take part in these events and join the conversation. The presentations will not necessarily only feature the three focal cities of the project (Chennai, Delhi and Dhaka). Work from other places may also provide insights and perspectives that will inform our understanding of this incredibly complex phenomenon, and contribute to our attempts to ‘reassemble’ it from a multidisciplinary and multi-locational standpoint.

Seminars will feature a short introduction of the guest presenter, the presentation itself ranging between 20 to 45 minutes, followed by a short debate with the public. Attendees are encouraged to bring their lunch and eat in.

Monsoon Assemblages Seminar 01

Dr. Tomas Holderness, Research Associate, MIT.

Research project: Imploding the Post-Disaster Information Vacuum: Crowd-sourcing a real-time flood map for Indonesia

Date: 23-09-2016

Monsoon Assemblages Seminar 02

Vaishali Enos, MSc, University of Westminster.

Master graduation thesis: Resilient Urban Edges: Adaptive and Mitigative Strategies in Chennai

Date: 21-10-2016

Monsoon Assemblages Seminar 03

Niranjana Ramesh, PhD candidate, UCL.

In progress dissertation: Techno-politics of urban water: the case of desalination in London and Chennai

Date: 18-11-2016

You are very welcome to join us. Seminars will take place during lunchtime, approximately every third Friday of the month at 13.00.  The venue will be 35, Marylebone Road, Marylebone Campus, University of Westminster, NW1 5LS, room M330. Check out our events page to see the latest updates.

For more information please contact: Michele Vianello