project: architectures for creativity

From January to April 2008, CHARTS is presenting Architectures for Creativity, a protracted symposium involving interdisciplinary students and participants. Each week explores an area of critical theory related to space. Architecture is the subject matter, and we are looking at the ability of both formal and more ephemeral architectures to embody critical spatial practice. As well as introducing a history of creative forms as research and intervention in contemporary surroundings, a series of visiting participants will model different contemporary approaches in this investigation.

Applying the evolving ideas in two main creative projects, students will consider these concepts in relation to their visual surroundings:

* an audio walk that explores elements of narrative, memory, and imagination in the experience of built landscape
* an architectural proposal for a cultural space to be built for a vacant lot at the corner of Bridge and Main Streets in Sackville's downtown; will be presented as digital projections on site Friday March 28, 7 pm

Schedule and Participants

  • 8 introduction
  • 15 influences and intentions
  • 22 modernity and monumentality
  • 29 retelling the city: practiced places and spatial stories
  • 2 workshop, audio architectures with Halifax-based artist Eleanor King Saturday 12-4 pm
  • 5 phenomenology and everyday architectures
  • 12 collage city: meaning and context in the urban landscape : : Peter Rukavina on Plazes and contemporary senses of place
  • 19 spaces of imagination and representation : : 6 pm Andrew King / 7:30 pm public seminar on contemporary approaches to the built landscape - Owens Art Gallery with Michael Awad (Toronto) / Andrew King + Angela Silver (Calgary)
  • 30 imagineacity exhibition open @ Owens Art Gallery : : Vito Acconci / BGHJ / Ed Burtynsky / Chris Down / DIN Projects / MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple / PHB Group / Andrew King + Angela Silver / Thorsten Knaub / Alison Norlen / Shim-Sutcliffe Architects
  • 4 counter-spaces and alternative architectures : : workshop Alison Norlen (Saskatoon)
  • 11 nature and place: organic architectures and critical regionalisms : : presentation Silva Stojak, BGHJ architects (Charlottetown)
  • 18 virtual + architecture : : presentation Dr. Josephine Mills, Director, University of Lethbridge Art Gallery on Histories, Realities, Prospects: The Erickson Building
  • 25 from universe to meta-verse
  • 28 imagineacity exhibition reception Owens Art Gallery + public projections of student architectural proposals @ corner of Main and Bridge Streets, Sackville, New Brunswick
  • 1 Hyper_spaces
  • 8 Conclusion


what we do...

Welcome to CHARTS, the Centre for Humanities and Arts Research in Transdisciplinary Space based at Mount Allison University in Sackville, New Brunswick

Our research focuses on the imaginative and symbolic quality of space, on landscape as layered and dynamic, examining the forces that shape built landscapes and what architecture might contribute to our understanding of real and imagined places. Here, "architecture" is used in broad sense, encompassing formal and informal practices, not simply buildings, but the creative forms and critical ideas that underlie and infuse the imagination and experience of spaces, beyond their functionality. For spaces are in no way static, but liquid - constantly shifting and changing, like Graham Swift's Waterland, by "simultaneous accretion and erosion: neither progress nor decay."

When you look past surfaces to see this fluidity, things get interesting - it is where the ordinary takes on the light of the out-of-the-ordinary, allowing glimpses of the concealed inner workings of landscape, "public secrets," and of the relationship between space and meaning - the way architectures are thoroughly ephemeral, or as Lisa Robertson describes, “neither palatial nor theatrical but soft.”

A key focus of CHARTS is on creative activity as critical research, central not only in shaping perception of place, but actively intervening in the imagination and experience of everyday life. We are starting from an assumption of the inextricability of the real and imagined, for as cultural theories have suggested, the construction of identity and memory is a spatial process, taking place not only in physical forms, but in language, stories, images, and thought. The goal is to create a platform for production and experimentation as well as the dissemination of cross-disciplinary research practices that build new forms of knowledge.

Taking advantage of its home within a progressive institution that has prioritised creativity as a strategic element linking disciplines, CHARTS pushes boundaries and definitions of research and supports collaboration, innovation and the dissemination of ideas locally, regionally, nationally and internationally. The program also draws on its surrounding context, a community with thriving levels of arts and civic activity, to show the relevance of critical theory to contemporary visual and built landscapes, exploring ways in which forms of critical and creative research interface with the public domain and diverse public experience.