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Meike Schalk

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ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR

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OSQUARS BACKE 5

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About me

I am an architect, associate professor in urban design and urban theory and docent in architecture at KTH School of Architecture. I am head of the doctoral program in Architecture, and the interdisciplinary doctoral program in Art, Technology and Design, a temporary collaboration with Konstfack - the University of Arts, Crafts and Design in Stockholm. Currently, I am also an Anna Boyksen Fellow at the Technical University in Munich (2020-2022) exploring gender- and diversity-relevant themes in technosciences.

Between 2011-2016, I was the programme director in Architecture of the crossdisciplinary and interdepartmental MSc programme Sustainable Urban Planning and Design. Until recently, I served as external examiner for the MA program in Urban Design at Sheffield University, School of Architecture, 2016-2020.

2015-2018, I was director of the Strong Research Environment: Architecture in Effect: Rethinking the Social. Since 2019, I am a member of the committee for artistic research at the Swedish Research Council.

While my first discipline is Architecture, I hold a Ph.D. in Theoretical and Applied Aesthetics of Landscape Architecture from the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, 2007. My research on architecture and urban questions is transdisciplinary; it combines critical inquiry into discourses of sustainability, democracy and participation in urban planning with practice-oriented research methods.  Since 1999 I have focused on exploring architecture and urban design in conjunction with the fields of feminist theory and practice, gender studies, intersectionality studies and questions of equality, diversity and inclusion in architecture, planning and education. Since 2013, I have been examining historical and contemporary shifts of welfare spaces and policies in housing in Sweden, and in a comparable study in Vienna, through ethnographic studies, action research and practice-oriented research, in individual and collaborative research projects.

I was co-founder of the feminist architecture teaching and research group FATALE (Feminist Architecture Theory Analysis Laboratory Education), 2007-2012, and of the nonprofit association Action Archive, from 2013, dedicated to urban research through approaches of oral history and participatory historiography.

I was an editor for the culture periodical SITE (2001-2013). My recent publications include Feminist Futures of Spatial Practice: Materialisms, Activisms, Dialogues, Pedagogies, Projections, co-edited with Thérèse Kristiansson and Ramia Mazé, 2017; Architecture and Culture, Vol.5 (3), Styles of Queer Feminist Practices and Objects in Architecture, 2017; and Field 7, Becoming a Feminist Architect, 2017, both co-edited with Karin Reisinger.


Current reseacrch projects

A full loop of performance: from the perspectives of young citizens, through informal and formal spatial learning, to the making of policies in multi-actor constellations, and back again, with Anette Göthlund and Miro Sazdic Löwstedt, Konstfack - University of Arts, Crafts and Design, Stockholm, funded by Formas, Designed Living Environment Call 2021-2024

The project examines access to public space from the perspective of young citizens. In contrast to a currently dominant safety discourse, it seeks to foreground children and youth’s agency in exploring and creating public spaces on their own terms. The project activates a mobile laboratory and applies sloyd practices and environmental learning as tools for inclusive public spaces for children in close collaboration with institutions and non-profit organizations.

STINT Africa Initiation Grant for Internationalization: In Situ - Architecture in Context: Promoting a Partnership between KTH, Sweden and Lusófona University, Guinea Bissau with colleagues from KTH-ABE and Lusófona, funded by STINT 2021-2022

The grant allows us to establish a partnership between The School of Architecture, the Department of Urban and Regional Studies at KTH with Lusófona University and UN Habitat in Bissau, Guinea Bissau. Through studio teaching, common workshops and seminars, we anticipate to initiate and develop cross-cultural collaboration and mutual learning. Our common objectives are: 1) to promote exchange of knowledge and practice-related experience in architecture, and sustainable urban planning and design, 2) to build a long-term collaboration for learning through common educational activities, as well as research projects, and 3) to bring together the universities with both local NGOs and international organizations such as UN Habitat, to situate education in architecture and sustainable urban development closer to the informal reality large parts of the world are facing.

ProSHARE: Enhancing Diversity, Inclusion and Social Cohesion through Practices of Sharing in Housing and Public Space (PI for Sweden), with IBF at Uppsala University, the University of Kassel (project leader), HTW Berlin, TU Wien, University of Sheffield. Funded by Formas, 2020-2022.

Within the framework of the large influx of migrants and refugees in recent years, debates about the future of European cities have referred to problems such as housing shortages, gentrification, segregation as well as unrest, protest and violence. There have also been, however, expressions of solidarity and pragmatic approaches to support marginalized and precarious groups. Against this backdrop, the project explores 1) the forms and conditions in which practices of sharing in the field of housing and public space take place in socially mixed neighbourhoods in different European cities and 2) the potential and limits of these practices for fostering participation and collaboration between diverse populations, including migrant and non-migrant communities. The underlying assumption is that practices of sharing can contribute to reduce space competition, enhance diversity in the urban space by civic engagement and community building and in the long term, contribute to social cohesion. The project is based on four phases: First, sharing and comparison of partner’s ongoing and previous research results; second, transnational empirical research across eight European cities (i.e. Berlin-Stuttgart-Kassel, Wien, Uppsala-Stockholm, London-Paris) third, implementation of ‘‘Practices of Sharing - Labs’ in selected neighbourhoods; fourth, examination of results within the consortium and dissemination of outcomes.

Coordination of the Swedish Entries for the Bloomsbury Global Encyclopdia of Women in Architecture, 1960-2015 (eds Lori Brown and Karen Burns, forthcoming 2021) and Wikipedia work with Thérèse Kristiansson and Helena Mattsson, colleagues, and students at KTH, involving a common writing workshop at Iaspis. Funded by Arkus stiftelse, 2019-2021. Read more here: https://www.arkus.se/new-blog/bloomsbury-global-encyclopedia-of-women-in-architecture-1960-2015


Recent research projects

The Political City with Sara Brolund de Carvalho and Helena Mattsson (SRE: Architecture in the Making (Formas), Architekturzentrum Wien, ARQ Foundation), 2017-2019

The research project explored common rooms for tenants in subsidized housing (Genossenschaften), at the development area Nordbahnhof in Vienna. Through fieldstudies, in collaboration with planner Beatrice Stude and together with residents and interviews with non-profit housing developers and district managers, 10 housing projects were examined. Common rooms were regarded through the lens of shifting policies, regulations and laws, and acts or ’rituals’ of care. The project was developed together with Architekturzentrum Wien – Az W in the international workshop Care + Repair, at Workspace Nordbahnhalle, for the Vienna Biennial (2017). The study led to the publication Caring for Communities / Für Gemeinschaften sorgen (2019) and evolved in the Forum theatre event Theatre of Care and Repair, September 2019, produced for the exhibition Architecture and Urbanism for a Broken Planet, at Az W (2019). It discusses the shifts in welfare housing through a comparison between the current Vienna subsidized housing model and the dismantled Swedish Allmännyttan (2011). It raises awareness of the values of social sustainability in welfare housing.

The transdisciplinary research project Decode (project leader: Björn Hellström), 2016-2018, dealt with developing integrative forms of cooperation between municipalities, academia, state agencies and interest groups for sustainable urban development. My focus in the project was on the sparsely-populated northern regions in Sweden, which have received new impulses through the reception of refugees since 2015. The project was funded by Vinnova Challenge-Driven Innovation - Sustainable Cities section.

Feminist Futures of Spatial Practice: Materialisms, Activisms, Dialogues, Pedagogies, Projections with Thérèse Kristiansson and Ramia Mazé (SRE: Architecture in Effect (Formas) and Ivar och Anders Tengboms fond), 2013-2017

Architecture and the arts have long been on the forefront of socio-spatial struggles, in which equality, access, representation and expression are at stake in our cities, communities and everyday lives. Feminist spatial practices contribute substantially to new forms of activism, expanding dialogues, engaging materialisms, transforming pedagogies, and projecting alternatives. The research project and the book Feminist Futures of Spatial Practice trace practical tools and theoretical dimensions, as well as temporalities, emergence, histories, events, durations – and futures – of feminist practices. Contributors include international practitioners, researchers, and educators, from a wide range of spatial practices and queer, intersectional and gender studies. Established as well as emerging voices write critically from within their institutions, professions, and their activist, political and personal practices. Feminist Futures of Spatial Practice deepens and broadens how we can understand and engage with different genders, bodies and peoples, diverse voices and forms of expression, alternative norms and ways of living together.


Courses

Architecture and Gender: Introduction (AD236V), teacher | Course web

Gender and Sustainability: Introducing Feminist Environmental Humanities (FAD3115), examiner | Course web

Individual Reading Course: Art, Technology and Design (FAD3110), examiner | Course web

Rethinking Research Practices in Art, Technology and Design (FAD3101), examiner | Course web

Scientific Theory and Research Methodology in Architecture (F1A5035), examiner, course responsible | Course web

Seminar Course, Advanced Level 4HT (A42SEH), teacher | Course web

Seminar Course, Advanced Level 5HT (A52SEH), teacher | Course web