Conference 2016

PEOPLE AND THE CITY

In the grand evolution of life on the planet, human clusters formed, developed and grew resulting in the present ever-expanding cities that are as living as any other organism with people as its Life-Force. Without people a city or town would be a soulless mass of debris. People make a city happen; they bring it forth, give it character, endow it with art and culture, fulfill aspirations and suffer frustrations. They can make it a place of joy, a thing of beauty which in turn gives them a sense of identity and pride, or when, without the humane vision, they can turn the city into a place of horror from which it is difficult to escape. City changes with its people.

 

The phenomenon of large scale human settlements has, on the one hand, brought about rapid capital accumulation leading to spectacular developments in commerce, industry, travel, and communication, yet on the other it has generated a very high level of inequity among its residents. In Pakistan it has created an innumerable variety of growing and expanding villages, towns and cities; however, the administrative framework has failed to keep pace and continues to be a hangover from the colonial period. People’s participation is only perfunctory and that too is rigidly controlled. Unfortunately, even after decades of post-colonial rule the administrative ethos, in Pakistan, remains colonial, exploitative and demeaning; it continues to be feared and hated. The residents of the urban clusters in Pakistan have very little say in management, with no sense of ownership and in small towns the lower strata of administration, police and civic management have created an intolerable situation of fear, exploitation and graft.

When a city is filthy, as most of our cities are, when a large number of its citizens live without the basic amenities of life, when we tolerate this with lame excuse of lack of resources, when we see the ultimate degradation of humans as outcasts, treated as animals, when we see little children begging on cold nights, as we see them aplenty in Lahore, how can we remain untouched; that is not what the city came into being for. Justice and equity must be the stated destiny of a city.

 

The process of urbanization is irreversible and cannot be wished away. Cities continue to lure people with hopes of a better life and then abandon them to abject poverty. Huge metropolises – mega cities – carry social turmoil in their wake. Nevertheless, agglomeration of humans, from small town to the large metropolis, is an opportunity, a necessary step towards the future – it is entirely up to us to think about and design a better future.

 

 

CONFERENCE BRIEF

Conference Theme,  Abstracts Received ,  Papers Presented , Publication  and Additional Information.

 

SEVENTH INTERNATIONAL THAAP CONFERENCE 2016

(held on November 11-13, 2016 at 43-G, Gulberg-III, Lahore)

People and the City 134 22 The peer-reviewed research journal ‘People and the City’ will be published and launched in November 2017. Prof. Pervaiz Vandal is the Editor. Seventh International Thaap Conference was held in collaboration with Government College University Lahore with the support of Higher Education Commission Pakistan and Society for Cultural Education in which scholars from Australia, Austria, China, Nepal, Iran, France, UK, USA and Pakistan presented their papers.

 

A 3 day conference with several events in conjunction were held as follows:

- THAAP Punjabi Mushaira at 43-G, Gulberg-III, Lahore.

- THAAP Film Screening 2016 in collaboration with Information Technology University, Centre for Governance and Policy and Government College University Lahore with the support of Higher Education Commission Pakistan and Society for Cultural Education at ITU Auditorium.

- 1st International THAAP Photography Conference 2016 in collaboration with Camera for People and Government College University Lahore with the support of Higher Education Commission Pakistan and Society for Cultural Education at 43-G, Gulberg-III, Lahore.

- Painting Exhibition titled “Gems of Lahore” in collaboration with Ejaz Art Gallery at Ejaz Art Gallery.

Closing Session at 43-G, Gulberg-III, Lahore and Dinner sponsored by Mr. Shamim ul Haq.

List of Paper Readers

Australia

1.  Michal Glikson

PhD candidate, School of Art, CASS, The Australian National University Art and Immersion: Notes from a Painter (Re)imagining the City

 

Austria

2.  Gudrun Wallenböck

Founder and Artistic Director, Hinterland Galerie, Vienna Hinterland Galerie

 

China

3.  Shuxi Yin, PhD

Professor of Sociology, Hefei University, China Spirituality in Beijing and Shanghai

 

France

4.  Rehana Lafont

Author, translator, and traveller  Seventeen years in Lahore:

A Frenchman’s life in the Punjabi capital

 

Iran

5.  Zahra Taraneh Yalda, PhD

Architect, Urban Planner

 Towards People's Right to Iranian Cities: Rasht and Chabahar

 

Nepal

6.  Swati Pujari

Architect & Urban Manager, One to Watch Nepal; Nepal Rebuilds; &

Creative Design Architects Pvt. Ltd.

 

Kathmandu

 Urban Governance Perspective Based on Citizens’ Response to Gorakha Earthquake 2015

 

Pakistan

7.  Hafsa Imtiaz

Associate Professor, School of Architecture, Design and Urbanism, University of Culture and Art (upcoming), Lahore Public Redefinition of Green Spaces in the New Developments of Lahore

 

8.  Khataumal Lohano

MBBS and Dominic Stephen

Mithi, Tharparkar The Denizens of Mithi: Life in Changing Times

 

9.  Khola Cheema

PhD Scholar, Department of History

Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad and Visiting Scholar, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, SOAS University of London Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa, Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh:

Nankana And The Sikh Yatree

 

10.  Maria Aslam

Editor, ADA, Karachi & Post‐Professional Candidate, Architecture Department, McGill University, Montreal Tangible Boundaries – The City of Karachi

 

11.  Meeza Ubaid Ullah

Secretary, THAAP Cultural Development Program and

Research Fellow, School of Architecture, Design and Urbanism, University of Culture and Art (upcoming) Chiniot: Artisans and the Hand Carved Wooden Furniture Industry

 

12. Mehwish Abid

Architect, and Assistant Professor, School of Architecture, Design and Urbanism, University of Culture and Art (upcoming), Lahore Being and The City

 

13.  Qaisar Abbas

Assistant Professor, School of Culture and Languages, University of Culture and Art (upcoming), Lahore and

Project Coordinator, THAAP, Lahore

 

Ghiasuddin Pir

Lecturer, School of Culture and Languages, University of Culture and Art (upcoming), Lahore Lahore: De-politicization of Public Spaces

 

14.  Razia Latif

Assistant Professor, Razia Hassan School of Architecture, Beaconhouse National University, Lahore

 

Gulzar Haider, PhD

Dean and Professor of Architecture,

Razia Hassan School of Architecture,

Beaconhouse National University, Lahore Remembering Manto: City, Architecture and Fiction

 

15.  Sadia Pasha Kamran

PhD Scholar, University of the Punjab Visiting Assistant Professor, Kinnaird College and Beaconhouse National University and

Coordinator, School of Art, University of Culture and Art (upcoming), Lahore Emerging Trends in Public Art  -People Owning their Cities

 

16.  Saniya Jafri

Architect, Designer and Teaching Fellow, School of Architecture, Design and Urbanism, University of Culture and Art (upcoming), Lahore The Ambiguity of Sacredness: Offerings, Images and Symbols Exploring the Mazaar of Bibi Pak Daaman, Lahore

 

17.  Umair Ghani

Freelance Photographer, Lahore

 

Amna Yaseen

Freelance Photographer and Painter

Pursuing M. Phil (Art History), Lahore Retreating Akhara Culture In Expanding Metropolitan

 

United Kingdom

18.  Najia Zaidi

Ph.D. Scholar, School of Planning and Geography, Cardiff University and

Lecturer,  Department of Architecture and Town Planning, NED UET Exploring Social, Spatial and Political Drivers of the Informal Economy in a Divided City: Karachi, Pakistan

 

United States of America

19.  Catherine Weinstock

Interior Designer and Journalist The Duality of Gentrification

 

20.  Jonathan Shapiro Anjaria, PhD

Assistant Professor of Anthropology, Brandeis University Cycle Sheher: Mumbai’s Hidden Bicycle Stories

 

21.  Mehreen Jamal

PhD Scholar, Department of History, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville and

Lecturer, Department of History

University of Karachi, Pakistan Finding Her In The Cinematic Representation In Pakistan

 

22.  Ammr Vandal

Architect and Associate Principal, nARCHITECTS, New York My Micro NY

 

CONFERENCE REPORT

THAAP being a forum of academics and professionals is dedicated towards improving the state of education where multi-disciplinary discourses take place, diversity thrives and consistent efforts are made towards building a richer future - a future which rather than being lived in is carved out ourselves… for you; own only what you add to the world.

 

This year’s theme, “People and the City” had a series of monthly talks at its background which set the tone for this 7th International THAAP Conference 2016. The Conference has been organized by THAAP in collaboration with Government College University and Information Technology University together with the support of Higher Education Commission and Society for Cultural Education (Forthcoming University of Culture and Art).

 

The Inaugural Session at Day-01 of the Conference on 11th of November started with the welcome address by Prof. Sajida Vandal, an educationist, architect & CEO of THAAP. She thanked the guests for their active participation in the Conference and elucidated that THAAP, a not for profit registered organization founded in 2006 has various subsets including THAAP Talks which are organized on monthly basis culminating into THAAP Conference at the end of each year, THAAP Publications that takes out peer reviewed Journals based on the papers presented at the Conference and THAAP Crafts that brings livelihood to rural population and the poor. Prof. Pervaiz Vandal, an architect, educationist & THAAP Conference Convener was the keynote speaker of the event. He explained that THAAP has played a pivotal role in improving the state of education along with promoting socio-economic & cultural development in Pakistan. Elaborating the conference theme, he elucidated that without people, a city or town would be a soulless mass of debris… City changes with its people and People make a city happen; they bring it forth, give it character, endow it with art and culture, fulfill aspirations and suffer frustrations. Prof. Dr. Hassan Amir Shah, Vice Chancellor, Government College University Lahore was the Chief Guest of the event. He congratulated THAAP on consistently organizing successful Conferences sincethe year 2010. This brought the Inaugural Session at its conclusion.

 

First Session of the conference was chaired by Mr. I. A. Rehman, a Journalist and Human Rights Activist. 1st paper of the Conference was presented by Michal Glikson, a PhD candidate at the Australian National University, Canberra, Australia. Her paper titled “Art and Immersion: Notes from a Painter (Re)imagining the City” explored how art reflected lived experiences of travelling in its form and content, whilst yielding insights into the relationships between people and places in different environments across Australia, India and Pakistan. Rehana Lafont, an author, translator, traveller and entrepreneur, presented the 2nd paper titled, “Seventeen Years in Lahore: A Frenchman’s Life in the Punjabi Capital”.  The paper discussed Lahore’s day-to-day life in different contexts by taking into account the experiences of various French officials. 3rd paper was presented by Dr. Jonathan Shapiro Anjaria, an Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Brandeis University, USA. His paper on “Cycle Sheher: Gender, Freedom and the Bicycle in India” explored the existing trends of cycling in the urban culture of Mumbai and also explored the alternative role of cycling in globalizing cities as well as its role in the political structure and mobilization across cities. The 4th paper of the day on, “Retreating Akhara Culture in Expanding Metropolitan” was presented by Umair Ghani, a Freelance Photographer, and Amna Yaseen, a photographer and a painter currently pursuing her M. Phil in Art History. Their paper discussed the saga of present day Lahori Pehalwans in context to the Akhara culture and elucidated that new-fangled facade of urbanized Lahore does not seem to offer anything more to Akharas beyond a meager ceremonial status.

 

The Second Session was chaired by Prof. Dr. Anis Siddiqui an Architect and Educationist. Prof. Dr. Shuxi Yin, a professor of sociology at Hefei University in China, presented the 5th paper of the day on, “Spirituality in Beijing and Shanghai”. The paper examined the dynamics of spirituality among the middle classes in Beijing and Shanghai, the two biggest cities of China with distinct regulatory environments, historical and social backgrounds. 6th paper was presented by Saniya Jafri, an architect and Teaching Fellow at the University of Culture and Art (forthcoming), titled “The Ambiguity of Sacredness: Offerings, Images and Symbols Exploring the Mazaar of Bibi Pak Daaman, Lahore”. The paper explored the concept of a mazaar in the subcontinent, while exploring sacredness and socio-narratology in the stories inhabiting its spaces. 7th paper was presented by Khola Cheema, a PhD candidate at Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad. Her paper on “Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa, Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh: Nankana and the Sikh Yatree” explored the relationship of city and its people while focusing on Sikh community in Nankana city. The delegates then moved to Information Technology University at Arfa Technology Park for THAAP Film Screening.

 

Third Session on the Day-02 of the Conference was chaired by Prof. Dr. Tariq Rehman, Dean, School of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences and Acting Dean, School of Education, Beaconhouse National University. 1st paper of the day was presented by Najia Zaidi, a PhD candidate at Cardiff University on “Exploring Social, Spatial and Political Drivers of the Informal Economy in a Divided City of Karachi”. This paper investigated the impact of urban informality and resultant social-spatial integration as well as the power struggle on informal trading spaces that catered to the employment needs of the poor. 2nd paper was presented by Maria Aslam Hyder, a practicing architect and Post-Professional candidate at Architecture Department, McGill University Montreal, Canada. Her paper titled, “Tangible Boundaries – The City of Karachi” investigated the psychological boundaries existing within the living parameters of the city among its residents and explored their nature, meaning and physicality. 3rd paper was presented by Dr. Khataumal Lohano and Dominic Stephen titled, “The Denizens of Mithi: Life in Changing Times”. Their paper discussed the current stand of caste system in globalized cities such as Mithi in Tharparker, as a result of changing times.

 

Fourth Session of the Conference was chaired by Prof. Dr. Syeda Arfa Zahra, Professor, History Department, Forman Christian College, Lahore. The 4th paper of the day was presented on, “Lahore: Depoliticization of Public Spaces” by Qaisar Abbas, an actor & director and Ghiasuddin Pir, who are both currently establishing the curricula for the School of Culture and Language at University of Culture and Art (forthcoming). Their paper discussed the impact of urban expansion of the city of Lahore on restructuring our lives in regard to the restriction of public places to private ones and the discouragement of apolitical performances through political oppression. 5th paper of the day was presented by Catherine Weinstock, Principal Interior Designer at CW Design and freelance journalist. Her paper titled “The duality of Gentrification” discussed the same in all its manifestations and consequences, in addition to offering certain solutions which may mitigate its far-reaching effects. 6th paper of the day was presented by Bedatri Datta Choudhry, a graduate student at the Department of Cinema Studies, Tisch School of the Arts, New York University on “Gazing Men, Looking Women: The Eye within the Metropolis”. This paper explored the differences among men and women in the way they viewed the city, depending on the mobility or the restrictions afforded by each gender, by reviewing characters in certain films. 7th paper was by Mehreen Jamal, a PhD candidate in History at University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, USA. Her paper titled “Finding Her in the Cinematic Representation in Pakistan” discussed the film, Aurat Raj, and how it challenged the stereotypical feminine representation in the present society.

 

Fifth Session of the Conference was chaired by Prof. Dr. Rukhsana David, Principal, Kinnaird College for Women University. 8th paper was presented by Sadia Pasha Kamran, a Ph.D. candidate and an academic. Her paper titled “Emerging Trends in Public Art-People Owning their Cities” discussed the historical context of public art in Pakistan and highlighted the moderating role of artist community and intelligentsia in social discourses. 9th paper of the day was presented by Gudrun Wallenböck, founder and artistic director of Hinterland Galerie based in Vienna, Austria. The paper titled “Hinterland Galerie” highlighted the importance of an interdisciplinary art space for intercultural and inter-social communication long with its role in finding urban solutions and understanding through international collaboration. 10th paper of the day was presented by Meeza Ubaid Ullah, Secretary at THAAP Cultural Development Program and Research Fellow at forthcoming University of Culture and Art titled “Chiniot: Artisans and the Hand Carved Wooden Furniture Industry”. Her paper explored the life and work of the artisans in Chiniot. The delegation then moved to Government College University, Lahore for an illustrated talk by Prof. Tahir Kamran followed by the Screening of Irani Feature Film “Close Up” directed by Abbas Kiarostami & Mohsen Makhmalbaf, courtesy Dr. Zahra Taraneh Yalda.

 

Sixth Session on Day-03 of the Conference was chaired by Dr. Zahra Taraneh Yalda, Architect and City Planner from Iran. 1st paper of the day by Ammr Vandal, an Associate Principal Architect at nArchitects, USA was presented by Prof. Pervaiz Vandal. The paper titled “My Micro NY” presented the project of winning proposal presented in the adAPT NYC competition in context to all urban environments; as the demographic changes facing NY are mostly large urban environments across the globe, with a housing stock that does not offer solutions. 2nd paper was presented by Mehwish Abid, a published researcher, a practicing architect and an academic. Her paper titled, “Being and the City” discussed the relationship between phenomenology and being within the context of architecture while highlighting the importance of understanding spiritual context to understand modern era space. 3rd paper of the session titled “Remembering Manto: City, Architecture and Fiction” was presented by Razia Latif, an architect and Assistant Professor at Beaconhouse National University and Prof. Dr. Gulzar Haider, an educationist, architect and Dean at School of Architecture, Beaconhouse National University. Their paper examined the work of Manto and used it as a base for establishing an architectural design project in two unoccupied distinct spaces and making them conducive to reading and storytelling. 4th paper of the session by Hafsa Imtiaz, an architect, educationist and urban planner was titled, “Public Redefinition of Green Spaces in the new developments of Lahore”. The paper aimed at using activity mapping to understand new developments of Lahore and available green space from people’s perspective.

 

Seventh Session of the Conference was chaired by Prof. Dr. Gulzar Haider, Dean, School of Architecture, Beaconhouse National University. 5th paper of the day was presented by Swati Pujari, an architect and an urban manager on the topic, “Urban Governance Perspective based on Citizen’s Response to Gorakha Earthquake 2015”. It highlighted the history and evolution of communal and self-organized groups and their role in assisting the Government in taking decisions for the rehabilitation of people after the 2015 earthquake. 6th paper of the day was presented by Dr. Taraneh Yalda, an Architect and a City Planner from Iran. Her paper titled “Towards People's Right to Iranian Cities: Rasht and Chabahar” highlighted a history of what these two cities had gone through as empowerment experience with a perspective of what could make it a success.

 

Ladies and Gentle, this session brought a successful closure to the THAAP Conference 2016 Paper reading sessions. THAAP Conference this year put forth a variety of research papers on the theme of “People and the City” allowing a proactive discourse on the same in which participants from varied professional backgrounds and delegates from Australia, Austria, China, France, Iran, Nepal, USA, UK and from various cities of Pakistan including Lahore, Karachi, Islamabad and Mithi Tharparkar participated.

 

Report by: Sahar Saqlain

Joint Secretary to THAAP

Rapporteur General THAAP Conference 2016