My research operates between architecture, performance and inter-medial studies, with a focus on possible futures for small contemporary live music performance venues. In my doctoral practice-based creative works for New Zealand Maori performer Anika Moa, I relate music performance to larger political and historical contexts through a critical spatial practice (Rendell). My work challenges the colonial performance space located on confiscated Maori land for contemporary indigenous performance, by rejecting the stage and working in the margins. I reinterpret the artist’s own cultural devices for intimacy in her performances, particularly comedy, proximity, and intoxication, alongside working class practices of female agency and politics of gender, class and sexuality. I am a doctoral candidate working on a thesis entitled The Spatial Dramaturgy of Live Music Performance.
As a practitioner and educator, I am passionate about challenging normative urban planning and conservative capitalist politics for city development, by drawing on concealed (hi)stories and the existing agency of community and local urban fabric. My teaching employs agonistic practices for real and built projects with students, to productively critique the built environment within which their work is situated and to imagine alternate possible futures there. Recently I led Masters of Architecture students to design and build four structures in the earthquake damaged central business district of Christchurch, New Zealand. Our work contributed to a festival, while simultaneously delivering a critique of the premise that the sites were vacant and required activation. We chose instead to respond to the emerging architecture, indeterminate zones, and to engage with local activist community on themes of ecological and social sustainability. For example, one project worked with the fledgling Food Resilience Network: Otakaro Orchard. Under a disused city awning we provided a pop-up restaurant. We designed tables to create a social space for sharing meals and locally sourced food.
As an academic in the School of Architecture at University of Technology Sydney (UTS) since 2007, I coordinate design studios from first year Undergraduate to final year Masters of Architecture. I also teach construction, with a focus on the manifestation of critical design intent through material practice.
I have studied at the University of Otago, Aarhus Universitetet (exchange), Victoria University, and UTS.
NSW Australian Institute of Architects' Education Committee
Performance Studies International
Critical Spatial Practice
Gender and Feminist Politics
In this chapter, we critique traditional Placemaking approaches to site, through the Indigenous Australian concept of Country. We contest that a move away from the word ‘placemaking’ is overdue. We instead propose a practice of ‘making place’, and further ‘making space’ i) that allows overlooked spatial (hi)stories to reclaim sites that they have always occupied, and ii) for the very occupants and stories that are ordi-narily overlooked in urban and spatial design practice. To do so is to accept that we must look to those marginal occupants, practices and writings that challenge the gen-dered, heteronormative, white, neuro-typical and colonising discourses that dominate architecture. Placemaking practices employ community consultation, privileging local stories and quotidian ways-of-being in response. It is our position, that even these ‘community-engaged’ processes perpetuate erasure and marginalisation precisely through their conceptualisations of ‘Site’ and what constitutes community.
We present a model for an Indigenous/non-Indigenous collaboration that offers methods of spatially encountering site within a colonial context. We share our experi-ences of a project that we collaboratively produced in the Badu Mangroves at Syd-ney Olympic Park, to share the overlooked spatial histories and cultures of countless millennia. We have woven together Indigenous epistemologies, ontologies and axiol-ogies, and design-as-research methodology.
Kinniburgh, J & King, L 2020, 'Maria Island: A Landscape and Architecture(s) for Tracing Margins of Love, Desire, and Futurity' in Stead, N & Frichot, H (eds), Fictocritical Approaches to a Writing Architecture.
Maria Island: A Landscape and Architecture(s) for Tracing Margins of Love, Desire, and Futurity
“Spaces can be real or imagined. Spaces can tell stories and unfold histories. Spaces can be interrupted, appropriated, and transformed through artistic and literary practice.” (hooks, 1989, 209. Our emphasis)
In this chapter we foreground how ficto-critical praxis has a viable and germane relationship to writing the memory of spatial experiences, for imagining yet unknown spatial relations, and for conjuring fantasies of fugitivity and escape. Writing through themes of the ‘margin,’ the ‘undercommons,’ islandness, and love, in this chapter we engage with the projective nature of ficto-criticism and how it aligns with the speculative act of designing, by generating critical and counter-narrative constructions of space, and the futurity of spatial relations. (Grosz, 2001)
For bell hooks, the margin is imagined “as a location of radical openness and possibility.” (1989, 209) What hooks calls the ‘margin,’ Stefano Harney and Fred Moten (2013) have identified as the ‘space of the undercommons’. Here reside the minority, the oppressed, and the broken in non-normative and queer outlying space. In the spirit of the ‘margin’ and the ‘undercommons’ we explore Maria Island, a peripheral and contested landscape located to the southeast of Tasmania. A former penal colony (the island now designated as a National Park) stages remnants of its multiple built histories: ruins of dismantled housing and abandoned industry; disused postindustrial cement silos; and refurbished convict dormitories (now tourist accommodations). The authors trace these layers and their performative agency, revealing hidden narratives and uncovering ‘Other’ and heterogeneous vistas of the island’s spatial histories.
Our navigation of ficto-critical praxis evokes the undercommons by ‘making visible’ (Grosz, 2008) the lesser-known spatial histories of Maria Island as they were made and lived by marginal occ...
Janssen, SC & Kinniburgh, JR 2017, 'Fantasy in the Hold: Architecture and Performance of Mobility', Abstracts only, Performance Studies International #23 Overflow, Kampnagel, Hamburg, Germany.
In 'Fantasy in the Hold: Architecture, and Performance of Mobility' our presentation takes the architecture of the container as a critical interior and performative site for considering the spatial histories and futures of mobility and containment, biculturality, circuits of capital, and the contemporary continuum of the ‘shipped’ and shipping. “Fantasy in the Hold,” the proposed title of our project is both borrowed from and a response to Stefano Harney and Fred Moten’s chapter by the
same name in their book The Undercommons: Fugitive Planning and Black Study (2013). For Harney and Moten the ‘hold’ is the slave ship and, as Jack Halberstam contends, this ‘hold’ can also be “the hold we have on reality and fantasy, the hold they have on us and the hold we forego on the other, preferring instead to be with, to love.”
In this presentation we explore a series of urban and postindustrial spaces of performance and performances themselves that operate at the intersections of architecture, performance, and inter-mediality. We foreground the scenographic and contemporary spatial (re)uses/ retrofitting of the shipping container as a contested
social space, as a site of cultural appropriation and postindustrial leisure,
as well as their potential to operate as devices for articulating a material, spatial, and performative response to globalization and themes of mobility, fugitivity, and containerization. Our investigation of ‘overflows’ in relation to the interiors, architectures, and performances of mobility and leisure references sites in New Zealand, Canada, and Germany.
We are conditioned to experience our environment so that over time we no longer register the familiar. Where surroundings become predictably constructed, perceptual habituation occurs, whereby attention to the context is diminished. If habituation has an impact on environmental apathy, can disruption to the environmental construct offer opportunities for dishabituation that might challenge this indifference? In this paper we explore the responsiveness of material performance to environment through a series of case-studies which deploy a material approach to reinterpret the everyday object. Taking normative devices of the contemporary urban streetscape and of the theatre, we focus on the surfaces and their potential to impact perceptions of space in performative and dishabituative ways. Inverting its historical identity as an object embedded in space, we employ the mirror ball as the provocation: in the city to the street banner; in the performance space to the backdrop. Our subsequent projects explore the material and atmospheric effects produced. What are the architectural implications of capturing both the natural and artificial conditions of the context in which it is embedded? At the scale of the interior, site-specificity creates a more strategic transformation that allows information about the environment to become legible: the invisible becomes unexpectedly visible, and the familiar is transformed.
Kinniburgh, JR, Crosby, A & Hromek, M 2016, 'No Design Without Indigenous Design: Extending First Year Design and Architecture Students’ Understanding of Indigenous Australia', STARS (Students Transition Achievement Retention and Success), STARS (Students Transition Achievement Retention and Success), STARS, Perth, Western Australia.
The design professions have undergone immense shifts over recent decades including an overdue, new receptivity to Indigenous skills and knowledge. Universities in Australia are currently examining approaches to engaging Indigenous knowledge in their degrees. This paper examines a project at at the University of Technology (UTS), supported by the institution-wide Centre for Advancement of Indigenous Knowledges and implemented across the Faculty of Design, Architecture and Building. Specifically, the research asks how first year design and architecture students can learn about Indigenous perspectives on design, space, place and Country. We draw from literature on transition pedagogy as well as Indigenous education and analyse the student response to this project as it was implemented in 2015.
Crosby, A, Hromek, M & Kinniburgh, J 2015, 'Making space: working together for Indigenous design and architecture curricula', Indigenous Content in Education, University of South Australia, University of South Australia, Adelaide.View/Download from: Publisher's site
The professions of design and architecture have undergone immense shifts over recent decades with a new receptivity to Indigenous skills and knowledge. As such universities are examining approaches to engaging Indigenous knowledges in these degrees. This paper explores how tertiary students of design and architecture can learn about Indigenous Australians, with a focus on spatial literacy. Firstly, we explore best practices in higher education curriculums, drawing from the work of scholars such as Watson (2013). Secondly, we discuss these practices in relation to the professions, referring to examples such as architect Kevin O'Brien (http://koarchitects.com.au/) who draws on Indigenous concepts of space, and the service innovation approach to land rights by design firm 2nd Road (http://www.secondroad.com.au/). Lastly, we reflect on our own efforts to embed Indigenous ways of knowing within our teaching. We draw from experience collaborating over a twelve month period to change curriculum within undergraduate programs to better prepare students to be inter-culturally competent in their professional and community lives. Initiatives include bringing an Indigenous perspective to the mapping component of the interdisciplinary design program. In explaining this work, we argue that design and architecture are important disciplines for working with and improving the lives of Indigenous Australians.
Kinniburgh, JR 2014, 'Conflating Student and Professional Identities: fostering development of professional identity in first year architecture', 17th International First Year in Higher Education Conference, International First Year in Higher Education Conference, FYHE, Darwin, Australia, pp. 1-10.
Students in architecture undergo a dual transition when they commence tertiary study, taking on a student identity but also assuming their professional identity as a creative practitioner. The peculiarities of pedagogical frameworks in these disciplines require tailored support mechanisms to ensure student success. Students undertake a series of inquiry and practice based formative assessment tasks in the design studio, which build to the final summative assessment the design jury and critique. As the predominant mode of studio assessment around the world, this is a daunting event for students. Facilitating students to successfully develop their professional identity from the commencement of first year, and building resilience into their learning experiences, can transform this event into a genuine learning experience. This paper outlines the interventions for transition students in the School of Architecture at University of Technology Sydney.
Kinniburgh, JR 2013, 'A Culture of Success: Building Depth into Institution-Wide Approaches to First Year Transition.', Proceedings of the 16th International First Year in Higher Education Conference, The International First year in Higher Education Conference, The International First year in Higher Education Conference, Wellington, New Zealand, pp. 1-10.
A deeply embedded culture of success facilitates students to effectively negotiate their higher education experiences, holding more promise for first year transition than initiatives that target transition alone. It is imperative that issues of first year transition are anchored in institution-wide approach, and not executed in a 'piecemeal' fashion around the various faculties of a university. This paper argues that breadth of approach (at an institutional level) must also foster and support depth (at a school or faculty level) for the transition experiences of students to be best supported. Following Tintos (2005, 2009) institutional conditions for student success, we developed a multi-level intervention, which aims to transform a school culture. It is the overarching ambition of success and engagement that ensures the result is greater than the sum of its parts, accomplishing significant outcomes for student learning and support in the Architecture School at University of Technology, Sydney (UTS).
To lose marble is to lose an assembled collective. Marble holds the fragments of a number of lives, compressed together in a single location. To honor this geologic tradition, we reassemble a collective. We spatially locate our Lost Rock, drawing on a series of fragments, stories and lives – each incomplete. We find ourselves on wukaluwikiwayna/ Maria Island, a National Park that stages remnants of its multiple built histories. Some of the fragments are visible: ruins of dismantled housing and abandoned industry; middens several meters deep, reinforcing the dunes of the isthmus; disused post-industrial cement silos that stand sentinel over the ferry wharf; and convict dormitories refurbished as tourist accommodations. Some remnants are no longer visible, except within archives: the desecrated tyreddeme cremation site along a freshwater stream; records of the Napoleonic Wars; an upturned paraganna/abalone shell singed black; Eurocentric notes of the colonial patriarchy. We trace these layers and their performative agency through a ficto-critical practice that makes visible (Prosser, 2006) lesser-known spatial histories of Maria Island as they were lived by marginal occupants. We reflect on marble to imply the creative potential within this collective in two ways. Firstly, through ficto-critical writing practice, we acknowledge the neglected social fragments of the island that are not readily found in the published accounts of the place. Secondly, through a conversation between two feminist authors, each writing in the first person, contributing their own fragments, stories and reflections…
Kinniburgh, J & Foster, S 2019, 'Ganbyuma', Captain Cook's Landing Site Design Competition.
Kinniburgh, J, Foster, S & Beasly, D 2019, 'Yana Nura', Museum of Sydney.
New Indigenous Education Space and Indigenous Education Landscape within the existing Museum of Sydney Site. Refurbishment of Library
Janssen, SC & Kinniburgh, J 2017, 'Islandness and Spatial Histories of Longing: A Lovers' Discourse', Matiu Island: Turn2 of Performing, Writing Symposium, Massey University, Wellington New Zealand.
Kinniburgh, JR 2017, 'kākahu', State Opera Theatre, Wellington, Aotearoa/New Zealand.
Pop Up Performance space for live music performance We are conditioned to experience our environment so that over time we no longer register the familiar. Where surroundings become predictably constructed, perceptual habituation occurs, whereby attention to the context is diminished. If habituation has an impact on environmental apathy, disruption to the environmental construct offers opportunities for dishabituation that might challenge this indifference.
Exploring the responsiveness of material performance to environment, the project operates as the second in a series of mechanisms that deploy a material approach to reinterpret the everyday object. The work has taken the normative devices of the contemporary theatre, to focus on surfaces and their potential to activate space in performative and dishabituative ways. Inverting its historical identity as an object embedded in space, the mirror-ball has been employed as the provocation: in the performance space, to the back-drop, generating an apparatus that interrogates material and atmospheric effects for an instant performance venue. The architectural implications of capturing both the natural and artificial conditions of the context in which it is embedded are explored. At the scale of the interior, site-specificity creates a more strategic transformation that allows information about the environment to become legible: the invisible becomes unexpectedly visible, and the familiar is transformed.
Hannah, D, Kinniburgh, JR & Janssen, SC, 'PhoneHome:', CHILE XX ARCHITECTURE & URBANISM BIENNIAL: ‘UNPOSTPONABLE’, Metales Pesados.
For many in exile, the smartphone stands in for home, kept safe with identity documents in a watertight plastic bag. As an innate body extension it
situates, orients, documents, represents, transcends and resists a life lived in exile. PhoneHome explores this contemporary condition of being alien
and architecture’s complicity in detaining bodies. Videos, playing on mobile phone screens housed in miniature refugee cabins, engage with the
pervasive geo-cultural, geo-mythical and geo-political issues of our time and architecture’s role in housing those without home and homeland.