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Re-imaging Rio - LSE launches design competition to address 'respect' in Rio de Janeiro

TheatrumMundiRioA competition challenging residents, artists, activists, performers and others to design ways a space in Rio de Janeiro could be improved so as to promote respect has been launched by Theatrum Mundi at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).

Theatrum Mundi, which is based at LSE Cities, is, in partnership with Museu de Arte do Rio, Spectaculu and People’s Palace Projects, asking people to identify a space in Rio de Janeiro that they feel currently produces a condition of disrespect - a physical structure, a neighbourhood or resource for example - and to propose a design or intervention that will improve it.

Entries can be architectural, performative, virtual or organisational and can be for a permanent structure or a one off event, but all must aim to create a real improvement to the space that will engender the condition of respect and so improve relations between the people who use it.

Adam Kaasa, Director of Theatrum Mundi, said: “We like to imagine the city as a diverse place where everyone shares respect across differences, but in reality, cities remain spaces of extreme accumulations of wealth and extreme conditions of poverty and respect can seem to be in short supply. What impact has the growth of gated communities for the wealthy and the mass privatisation of public space had on our view of each other as equals? Where today is there space in public for people to cohabit together and produce a city of respect? How can spaces be used to encourage us to focus on our connections rather than our differences? These are the types of questions we’re looking to explore though this competition.

“Rio de Janeiro has a long history of living with, and through, difference and at a moment of intense urban and political transformation is the ideal place to consider these issues. The challenge will be to think beyond the familiar lines of respect for authority, respect for elders or power, and instead consider the way those lines of power may be in fact creating disrespect. I look forward to seeing what innovative ways people look to address this issue, which is so important if we are to create a positive environment for all who live in it.”  

This is the third ‘Ideas Challenge’ run by Theatrum Mundi, and the first time that entries will be judged both by an expert panel and a jury of their peers.

Alongside the expert jury, which includes Brazilian rapper and social activist Marcelo Duguettu, Washington Fajardo, President of Cultural Heritage Protection City Council, and journalist Ana Claudia Souza, everyone who has entered the competition will be invited to a day-long peer jury event where they can view all the entries, with those unable to attend able to cast their votes electronically.

Ten winning entries will be chosen, and will be exhibited in late September 2016 in Rio de Janeiro.

The closing date for submissions to Designing for Respect is 23.59, 24 August 2016. Submissions must include visual materials (up to five images or one video of up to 3min in length) and 300 words detailing the rationale behind the proposition. For more, see http://www.designingpolitics.org



Brenno Erick, People’s Palace Projects, brenno.erick@gmail.com

Jess Winterstein, LSE Press Office, 020 7107 5025, j.winterstein@lse.ac.uk

Notes for editors:

Design Respect expert jury: 

  • Gringo Cardia, desinger, artist and architect
  • Deborah Colker, dancer and choreographer
  • Marcelo Duguettu, rapper, producer and social ativist
  • Washington Fajardo, Urbanist and President of  ‘Instituto Rio Patrimônio da Humanidade’ and Cultural Heritage Protection City Council
  • Marcos Faustini, Documentarist, Social activist and founder of ‘Agência de Redes Para Juventude’
  • Jane Hall, Founder of Assemble, UK
  • Paul Heritage, Director of People’s Palace Projects
  • Adam Kaasa, Director of Theatrum Mundi
  • Pedro Rivera, Architect, Urbanist and Director of Studio-X Rio
  • Ana Claudia Souza, Journalist
  • Eliana Souza, Director of Redes da Maré
  • Jailson Silva, Director of Observatório de Favelas

Theatrum Mundi was founded in 2012 by Richard Sennett, Professor of Sociology at LSE and New York University. It is a network that forges links between people from the performing and visual arts and those working within built environment disciplines. Based in London, at LSE Cities, it brings together its collaborators in diverse settings across the world – workshops, competitions, intimate discussion and public debate – to afford challenging, vulnerable provocation between thinkers and practitioners addressing the condition, inequalities, and design-politics of urban culture. https://lsecities.net/objects/research-projects/theatrum-mundi

Theatrum Mundi ‘Ideas Challenge’

This is the third Ideas Challenge, established by Theatrum Mundi to address the potentials and the limits of design in thinking critical questions about the politics of urban culture. ‘Designing for Free Speech’ (2014) in New York City asked can we design for free speech?  ‘Designing the Urban Commons’ (2015) in London, asked a question about ownership, stewardship and collective practice in relationship to the historica question of the common, and its related very: communing.

‘Designing for Respect’ is the first in a new four-year partnership between Theatrum Mundi at LSE and the ‘Global Cities’ Chair in the College d’études mondiales at the Foundation Maison des Sciences de l’Homme in Paris, that will extend the competition to Latin America, the Middle East and Asia.

27 June 2016