Monsoon Assemblages | Expanded Territories

Lindsay Bremner

  • Principal Investigator: Professor Lindsay Bremner
  • Post Doctoral Research Fellow: Dr Beth Cullen (anthropologist)
  • Research Fellow: Christina Geros (architect, landscape architect)
  • Research Associate: John Cook (architect)
  • PhD: Harshavardhan Bhat (political scientist) and Anthony Powis (architect)
  • MArch Studio DS18: Aligned with the project 2016-2018

The ambition of this research project has been to enquire into changing monsoon climates in three of South Asia’s rapidly growing cities – Chennai, Dhaka and Yangon. This has been undertaken at a time when climate change and urban development have conspired to produce unlikely futures for urban survival. Extreme weather events, all attributed to the monsoon’s capricious nature, have resulted with increasing frequency in water shortages, power failures, floods, out-breaks of disease, damage to property and loss of life. In approaching these circumstances, the project has challenged conceptions of the monsoon as a natural meteorological system external to society and proceeded from the understanding that lived social environments are co-produced by it and entangled within it.

The project has advanced research of lived environments as emergent natural, social and political assemblages and proposed models for studying and contributing to them through cartographic and ethnographic research. Its research team has comprised architects, a landscape architect, an anthropologist and a political scientist. It has assessed the political, theoretical and aesthetic agendas for the spatial design disciplines and the environmental humanities its approach has opened up, and engaged critically with the climate change adaption paradigm through the idea of climate co-production.

MONASS ran MArch design studios in the School of Architecture and Cities for three years from 2016 to 2018, the first in Chennai, the second in Dhaka, and the third in Yangon. It is currently preparing an online exhibition of its work, which will be launched in March 2021 alongside an artists residency, a series of public events and a limited exhibition in Ambika P3.

Monsoon Assemblages is a research project funded by the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (Grant Agreement No. 679873).