The Right to the City

Course works from the Aalto University’s University Wide Art Studies UWAS course The Right to the City.

The Right to the City course is based on insights and research I have conducted in the last 20 years, as well as relevant experiences that go further back in time. The main focus of the course is public space in our cities. By posing the question “Who has the right to public space?”, we swiftly land on discussions about entitlements, stereotypes, identities, Othereness, prejudices, expertise, norms, laws, and urban design and planning.

The course belongs to the study area of Urban Studies and brings along enquiries into the fields of art, design, and architecture. The Right to the City aspires to be a truly transdisciplinary course wherein the focus is on inquiries into the subject matter of public space regardless of disciplinary silos.

In the first occurrence of the course for UWAS in 2021 we tackled the remoteness due to covid restrictions, the best we could. The 21 students participating in the course were crucial agents for the development of the course. I, as the course teacher, aspire to be a facilitator overlooking the creation of a safe learning space for different perspectives to emerge. I strongly believe that learning is not a one way process from teacher to student; the “gifts” students bring into the discussions, and the collaborative learning that takes place are rewarding experiences.

In this blog you may see visual material students created during an exercise, as well as segments from some of their writing assignments (commentaries on the course reader). The material is published after the expressed consent of Labiba Abdul, Zara Asgher, Elaine Banks, Kathleen Diémeé, Maija Kenttämies, Ieva Laube, Anna Lioliou, Maija Pakarinen, and Hannah Roche. Thank you!

Michail Galanakis

About UWAS

University Wide Art Studies (UWAS) offers every Aalto student an access to art-based thinking, creative practices, and culture. UWAS opens a possibility to include art and design studies to one’s curriculum and broaden one’s knowledge and skills beyond disciplinary boundaries. This ensures that Aalto University educates multidisciplinary graduates informed in and knowledgeable of how art and creative practices shape and define the world around us. There are no prerequisites for UWAS courses, so students from all Aalto schools are welcome to participate.

Images in the header are photographs by Michail Galanakis, images in the other student folders, are by the participating students.