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Unsorted: Redefining the Canon of Architectural History

“Unsorted” forms part of the 2022-2023 MA Architectural History Symposium and Exhibition and is a reflection on transdisciplinary methodologies and perspectives within the practice of architectural history. The concept of ‘unsorted' represents the core dilemma and essence of work in architectural history and research. As scholars, we face an ever-critical, ever-excavating process of inquiry where definitive conclusions remain elusive. By highlighting the idea of the ‘unsorted,’ this symposium calls into question the norms, criteria, and power structures that have traditionally defined what counts as part of the architectural canon. It asks us to consider: What has been left out? Whose histories have been overlooked or excluded when we sort architecture into subjects, hierarchies, time periods, and canonical categories?  


This event features MA AH students presenting their research. Their presentations are interspersed with talks and responses by distinguished speakers, Mark Swenarton, Jagjeet Lally, Abiba Coulibaly and Jos Boys. These speakers will meticulously examine the spatial, social, economic, historical, and environmental frameworks that have shaped the research conducted by this cohort.  


The symposium is structured around three distinct panels: “Peripheral Voices,” “Governing through Architecture,” and “Decentring Normative Users of Architecture.” The papers highlight the diversity of narratives that emerge when we resist the urge to neatly classify and sort architectural production. From the voices muted by traditional canons to counter-narratives hidden in plain sight, the authors highlight the messy, contested realities of architecture past and present. They model the critical disposition that keeps architectural history dynamic and unsorted.  


A temporary exhibition, co-curated by students from the 2022-23 MAAH and MASP programs, was also showcased on the first-floor landing on November 4th. This exhibition offered a glimpse into a selection of MAAH dissertations and Site-writing works from both cohorts.

A collection of abstracts offering an overview of this cohort's final dissertations, introducing the theme of 'unsorted.'

An archive of the symposium on November 4th, 2023, including details such as the event schedule and guest speakers' bios.

The online publication created by this year's dedicated editorial team.

Symposium Organisers

Vaishnavi Gondane

Eliot Haworth

Sara Mahmud

Rehman Qadir

Tianpei (Tian) Wang

Publication Editors and Designers

Vaishnavi Gondane

Sara Mahmud

2022-2023 Webpage Construction

Tianpei (Tian) Wang

Symposium Supervisors

Barbara Penner

Robin Wilson

2022-2023 MAAH Cohort

Sarah Al-Ajeeli

Lisa Belabed

Jessie Buckle

Emilie Crossan

Harry Fisher

Matthew Gibbons

Vaishnavi Gondane

Eliot Haworth

Guiming He

Qiaodan Liu

Sara Mahmud

Isobella Valerie Poulden

Rehman Qadir

Martin Shepherd

Ruolan Si

Tavia Swain

Jieya Wang

Tianpei (Tian) Wang

Yichen Wu

Thanks to the following Bartlett Staff

Matthew Bowles

Srijana Gurung

Abi Luter

Joe McGrath

Don Onyido

Drew Pessoa

Paul Weston

Gen Williams

Special Thanks

Peg Rawes

2022-2023 MAAH Academic Staff

Iain Borden

Ben Campkin

Mario Carpo

Edward Denison

Murray Fraser

Polly Gould

Stelios Giamarelos

Clare Melhuish

Barbara Penner

Peg Rawes

Jane Rendell

Robin Wilson

The Survey of London

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