Tangible Utopias Symposium

  • Liston, K. (Participant)
  • Hamja Ahsan (Participant)
  • Hann, R. (Participant)
  • David Bell (Participant)
  • Alex Goody (Participant)
  • Alex Niven (Participant)

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventOrganising a conference, workshop, ...


The Tangible Utopias Symposium was a day of discussion on the nature and function of utopias in civic life and art practice at BALTIC 39, Newcastle upon Tyne.

Town Hall Meeting of the Air was originally conceived by Tess Denman-Cleaver and Kate Liston as a host space for public gathering in which alternative poetics for civic life could be considered. When the exhibition was postponed in 2020 due to coronavirus, the simple act of gathering became not only prohibited but increasingly hard to imagine. As work developed between the remote collaborators, they began to look for models for rethinking future life.

Curated by Tess Denman-Cleaver and Kate Liston, and chaired by David Bell (author of Rethinking Utopia: Place, Power, Affect, 2018), Tangible Utopias considered the poetics, function and limits of utopian thinking in the context of statecraft, exhibition making and language.

Speakers included:

Hamja Ahsan (artist, writer, curator, activist and author of Shy Radicals: The Antisystemic Politics of the Militant Introvert)

David Bell (symposium chair; author of Rethinking Utopia: Place, Power, Affect, 2018; Programme Coordinator & Radar Producer at Loughborough University)

Rachel Hann (author of Beyond Scenography, 2019; Senior Lecturer at Northumbria University)

Alex Goody (author of Modernist Poetry, Gender and Leisure Technologies: Machine Amusements; Professor of Twentieth-Century Literature and Culture at Oxford Brookes University)

Alex Niven (author of New Model Island, 2019; lecturer in English Literature at Newcastle University)

Tess Denman-Cleaver and Kate Liston (artists, Town Hall Meeting of the Air at BALTIC 39, 2021)
Period29 Jul 2021
Event typeSeminar
LocationNewcastle upon tyne, United KingdomShow on map