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Mohamad Hafeda

Research Subject

Negotiating Spaces, Informal Processes for Claiming Spaces in Beirut

First and second supervisors 

Jane Rendell & Yeoryia Manolopoulou

Abstract

I’m conducting a project based PhD research that investigates the design, use and experience of contested boundaries in Beirut. My research investigates, in particular, the negotiation of spaces of sectarian-political conflict and the informal processes and strategies for claiming spaces by different site users and controllers such as residents, militia, and politicians. The study aims to examine the notions of division, connection and negotiation between and within two adjacent and contested sectarian communities of Tarik Al-Jdideh (Sunni majority) and Al-Mazraa (a Sunni and Shiite mixed area with Christian minority) in specific and consequently the ephemeral and concealed borderlines experienced in the city. The research aims to use participatory research methodology by employing design and ethnographic research tools to work with site users/residents on their everyday spatial practices through observation, documentation, analysis and intervention. The research method aims to test the ability of the creative processes to play an active role in sites of conflict by engaging in both; conceptual debates and practical situations inside and outside the geographic site of interest to understand how divisions (or borderlines) are constructed and confirmed in a country as both mental notions and material practices – spatialised and negotiated everyday by people.

Biography

Mohamad Hafeda is conducting a PhD in Architectural Design at the Bartlett-UCL. A founding partner of Febrik (www.febrik.org); an NGO engaged in participatory art and design research projects in refugee camps in the Middle East and London. He has also taught design at the department of architecture and design at both the Lebanese American University and the American University of Beirut. He completed his MA in public art at Chelsea College of Art and Design-London and has a bachelors degree in Interior Architecture from the Fine Arts Institute-Lebanese University.

Sources of funding:

He is awarded the Frederick Bonnart Braunthal Scholarship-UCL.