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Create Ireland and the Irish Architecture Foundation are delighted to partner to present the City Conversation series. Welcoming architects, arts collectives, collaborative practitioners, activists, sociologists, planners and geographers, the City Conversation series explores how arts and architectural initiatives engaging with broader civic expertise can animate the public sphere and reimagine our cities, town and neighbourhoods. We particularly encourage practising architects, artists, planners, geographers and other professionals with a keen interest in more socially engaged and collaborative forms of architecture to attend.
The first City Conversation takes place on May 30th and features Architects Leticia Lozano (Mexico) Ryan Swanson (US) , Social Enterprise CEO Kate Stewart (UK) and Pete Vance (UK), of Creative Producers International, a cohort of international producers. These guests will explore how producers, artists, architects and community organisers and activists can more effectively make artwork in and for the city of the future, discussing successful and unsuccessful case studies in cities around the world, through the prism of The Playful City ethos. The conversation will be chaired by Nathalie Weadick, Director of the Irish Architecture Foundation.
The contributors will also be leading the City Change Masterclass, curated by Michelle Browne as part of her collaborative arts programme ‘The Citizen Cycle’, offered for 15 producers, artists, designers, architects and community organisers and activists who are interested in working in the built environment.
Leticia Lozano, Co-founder & Director of Macia Estud, is passionate about public space, cities and experience creation. As co-founder and director of Macia, she is involved in the development of integral processes that give an answer to urban communities’ real needs and are manifested as placemaking strategies, participation, prototypes or urban public policy recommendations. Leticia has collaborated as an experience designer, creative strategist and play researcher with organisations, governments and universities in Mexico, Italy, UK, Czech Republic and Japan. Leticia has been an associate lecturer at UDLAP, UNARTE and CENTRO, as well as speaker at various panels and conferences.
For the past four years, she collaborated with the Lab for the City — the experimental and creative area of Mexico City’s government— as a Coordinator of Playful City where she researched how play and playfulness can reconfigure urban imaginaries and provoke citizens to take an active role in the process of creating a city. She co-authored “Architecture for Urban Play: Guidelines to design playscapes in Mexico City” and collaborates with articles for various magazines or architecture and design.
Leticia has a BArch from UDLAP, with studies in restoration and set design at Politecnico di Torino and an MA in Narrative Environments from CSM, UAL. She is currently a member of the Creative Producers International program and a Salzburg Global International Fellow.
Ryan Swanson is a creator, architect, place maker and the Founder/ CEO of The Urban Conga, a multidisciplinary design firm that promotes community activity and social interaction through play. They achieve this by creating interactive installations and environments that spark creativity, exploration, and free-choice learning into a variety of spaces. The work ranges from their playable products such as musical public park benches, public ping pong tables, sound sculptures, touch sensor murals to custom immersive environments for both public and private clients. Their work has achieved a multitude of international design awards and publications.
Along with running The Urban Conga, Ryan is also a visiting professor at The University of South Florida School of Architecture and Community Design. Where he is working with students on exploring the importance of different scaled interventions within the urban infrastructure. He also was selected by The British Council as part of fifteen exceptional Creative Producers from all over the world, encouraging a new kind of conversation with creative communities, citizens and city authorities.
Kate Stewart is CEO of Liverpool based Social Enterprise We Make Places where she leads their creative and engagement strategies and curates the annual symposium on citizen-led interventions in the built environment The Maverick City. Her community engagement role sees her designing and running participative processes to give a voice to the unheard, using culture, conversations and design to challenge perspectives on place. Having started life as a theatre producer and director over 30 years ago, Kate still works as a freelance Creative Producer, her most recent project being the Punk! exhibition at Liverpool Central Library.
In November 2018 she undertook a research trip to South Africa to explore how the We Make Places learning and construction project Urban Workbench could support communities there.
Over the last 30 years Kate has won various business accolades, and was recently named in the WISE100 list recognising Women in Social Enterprise. She is proud to also be one of 15 individuals selected to be part of the Creative Producers International programme alongside her fellow masterclass facilitators.
Pete Vance is the lead producer for Creative Producers International, a talent development programme led by Watershed, developing the capacity and skills of Creative Producers from the UK and around the world to become the city change-makers of the future. His background is in factual television, exploring real people through documentary and finding innovative ways to share their stories with audiences who might not otherwise have access to, or interest in, such different perspectives.