Urban Cultures research in the IMCC is a trans-disciplinary venture that focuses on analysis of the specifically cultural forms of contemporary urban life. Drawing on expertise from architectural history and theory, literary studies, urban history, and visual culture studies – as well as on the distinctive knowledge created by contemporary art, literary and architectural practice – our Urban Cultures research seeks to understand what modern urbanization means for different forms of cultural production and experience in the globally dispersed capitalist metropolis of today, while also tracing their development from the nineteenth century onwards.

The core group within the IMCC Urban Cultures project have organised previous conferences on, for example, The Sensuous Metropolis and on Marx, Architecture and Modernity at the University of Westminster, as well as, for example, Fantasy Space: Surrealism and Architecture, in conjunction with AHRC Centre for Studies of Surrealism, at the Whitworth Art Gallery in Manchester.

The IMCC also hosts the Queer London Research Forum which aims to facilitate interdisciplinary discussion on various aspects of queer London, c. 1850-present and which encourages dialogue and debate about the range of London’s queer lives and experiences. The forum is co-directed by Simon Avery (Westminster/IMCC) and Katherine M. Graham (Westminster), and, among other events, co-organised the 2016 three-day LGBTQ+ Archives, Libraries, Museums and Special Collections Conference, in collaboration with the Bishopsgate Institute and London Metropolitan Archives.

Selected Research

Simon Avery and Katherine M. Graham, eds., Sex, Time and Place: Queer Histories of London
John Beck, Landscape as Weapon: Cultures of Exhaustion and Refusal
David Cunningham, ‘The Concept of Metropolis
David Cunningham, ‘Floating on the Same Plane: Metropolis, Money and the Culture of Abstraction
David Cunningham & Jon Goodbun, ‘Marx, Architecture and Modernity
Harriet Evans, Beijing From Below: Stories of Marginal Lives in the Capital’s Centre
Paul Kendall, The Sounds of Social Space: Branding, Built Environment and Leisure in Urban China
Paul Kendall, ‘Between Big City and Authentic Village: Branding the Small Chinese City
Rachel Lichtenstein, Diamond Street: The Hidden World of Hatton Garden
Rachel Lichtenstein, On Brick Lane 
Federica Mazzara, ‘Redefining Italian Spaces: Piazza Vittorio and Migratory Aesthetics
Alex Warwick & David Cunningham, ‘Unnoticed Apocalypse: Science Fiction Politics of Urban Crisis
Anne Witchard, ed., London Gothic: Space, Place and the Gothic Imagination
Anne Witchard, Thomas Burke’s Dark Chinoiserie