10 episodes

Disobedient Buildings (disobedientbuildings.com) is a multi-sited research project about housing, welfare and wellbeing based at the Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology, part of the School of Anthropology and Museum Ethnography (anthro.ox.ac.uk), at the University of Oxford. It is funded for four years by the Art and Humanities Research Council. Launched in January 2020, the project employs a multi-disciplinary team of researchers and visual practitioners to study the impact of neoliberal reforms over the past three decades on the everyday lived experiences of inhabitants of ageing tower blocks in different European welfare states: the UK, Romania and Norway.

The Disobedient Buildings podcast is conceived and presented by Inge Daniels, the project's principal investigator, and the project’s two postdoctoral researchers: Gabriela Nicolescu and Anna Ulrikke Andersen. In Season One, the team scrutinises key themes guiding their research such as disobedience, inequality, urban development, welfare and health. The 10 episodes feature interviews with local experts and highlight commonalities and differences experienced by residents in the three field sites of London, Bucharest and Oslo. The podcast asks, what is a disobedient building, why is home ownership promoted, and will the State look after you?

Disobedient Buildings Oxford University

    • Education

Disobedient Buildings (disobedientbuildings.com) is a multi-sited research project about housing, welfare and wellbeing based at the Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology, part of the School of Anthropology and Museum Ethnography (anthro.ox.ac.uk), at the University of Oxford. It is funded for four years by the Art and Humanities Research Council. Launched in January 2020, the project employs a multi-disciplinary team of researchers and visual practitioners to study the impact of neoliberal reforms over the past three decades on the everyday lived experiences of inhabitants of ageing tower blocks in different European welfare states: the UK, Romania and Norway.

The Disobedient Buildings podcast is conceived and presented by Inge Daniels, the project's principal investigator, and the project’s two postdoctoral researchers: Gabriela Nicolescu and Anna Ulrikke Andersen. In Season One, the team scrutinises key themes guiding their research such as disobedience, inequality, urban development, welfare and health. The 10 episodes feature interviews with local experts and highlight commonalities and differences experienced by residents in the three field sites of London, Bucharest and Oslo. The podcast asks, what is a disobedient building, why is home ownership promoted, and will the State look after you?

    How has COVID-19 influenced domestic life?

    How has COVID-19 influenced domestic life?

    The Disobedient Buildings team reflect on both the positive and negative implications of spending more time in the home and within the community during Covid-19 lockdowns across their field sites. In the final episode of the series, Inge Daniels talks with Gabriela Nicolescu and Anna Ulrikke Andersen about how COVID-19 has influenced domestic life in London, Bucharest and Oslo. During the pandemic’s lockdowns residents valued the sense of security that was established in their community but also experienced frictions with neighbours both within and beyond block boundaries. Key to these experiences was sound, which brought both positive and negative implications. How did noise directly affect the health and wellbeing of participants?

    • 12 min
    Does home ownership increase inequality?

    Does home ownership increase inequality?

    The Disobedient Buildings team examine the relationships between the privatization of housing and rising inequality in London, Bucharest and Oslo. In this episode Inge Daniels, Gabriela Nicolescu and Anna Ulrikke Andersen discuss the characteristics of house ownership in London, Bucharest and Oslo. With the neoliberal turn, from the 1970s onwards, residents in these cities have experienced a move towards privatization and the end of socialist values that aimed to provide every citizen with suitable housing. How have changes to social housing provisioning and the deregulation of the housing market increased social inequality across the three cities? And how do the different characteristics of ownership in blocks of flats put restrictions on the ways in which residents live?

    • 15 min
    What does welfare mean today?

    What does welfare mean today?

    The Disobedient Buildings team explore the continuities and differences in the welfare systems in the UK, Romania and Norway . In episode 8, Inge Daniels, the project's principal investigator, leads a discussion on welfare with Disobedient Buildings researchers Gabriela Nicolescu and Anna Ulrikke Andersen. In the post Second World War period many European countries established robust welfare systems to protect the health and wellbeing of their citizens. But with the rise of neoliberalism a weakening of trust between society and those who govern has occurred. The teams researchers examine the continuities and differences across the three field sites, who have all experienced major changes to their welfare systems in the last 30-40 years. We ask what does welfare mean in London, Bucharest and Oslo today?

    • 13 min
    Are local authorities meeting the needs of diverse communities?

    Are local authorities meeting the needs of diverse communities?

    Anna Ulrikke Andersen interviews researcher Tom Davies about socially driven building design in post-Second World War Oslo and the challenges inhabitants of those buildings face today. In this seventh episode, postdoctoral researcher Anna Ulrikke Andersen talks to Tom Davies from the Oslo School of Architecture and Design. His research into the preservation of post Second World War architecture, explores the different ways that the social aspects of space have influenced the design process and how local authorities aim to meet the needs of diverse and complex communities living in ageing buildings. Working within a British and Norwegian context, Davies has a unique insight into the complex relationship between post-war designs and welfare. What were the priorities when blocks of flat were built after the war, and what are the practical and material challenges that residents of these aging blocks of flats face today?

    • 17 min
    Have people lost their sense of civic duty?

    Have people lost their sense of civic duty?

    Gabriela Nicolescu interviews architecture lecturer Ilinca Păun-Constantinescu about the loss of community and the demise of civic duty in post-socialist Bucharest. In the sixth episode, postdoctoral researcher Gabriela Nicolescu talks to Ilinca Păun-Constantinescu, lecturer at the University of Architecture and Urbanism in Bucharest. In her work on shrinking cities Păun-Constantinescu focuses on cultural, social and infrastructural phenomena that have occurred during the transformation of Bucharest from a socialist to a post-socialist city. She describes how contemporary residents have lost not only their sense of ‘community’ and civic duty but also vital public facilities, services and green spaces. How do dysfunctional buildings and the infrastructure of cities impact residents experience of urban life?

    • 20 min
    Will the State look after you?

    Will the State look after you?

    Inge daniels talks to Jacky Peacock from Advice to Renters on the housing challenges faced by vulnerable people in London. In this episode Inge Daniels talks to Jacky Peacock, director of London-based charity Advice for Renters. Based in the London borough of Brent the organisation provides private tenants in crisis legal advice, financial services and mentoring to help them improve their living conditions. London is a city of extremes. Its reputation as a tax haven has attracted investors buying luxury housing that remains empty for much of the year. Yet simultaneously, poverty is rampant and poor-quality housing and rough sleeping is increasing. How has COVID-19 impacted society’s most vulnerable? What hopes are there for change in the future?

    • 21 min

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