Dr Emma Cheatle is an architect and has a PhD in architecture from the Bartlett, UCL. Her research is interdisciplinary and examines the political, cultural and social implications of architecture, art and urban space, addressing issues of inequality, health, and gender. Her monograph Part-Architecture, a complex architectural humanities project, uses critical writing, creative writing and drawn analysis of the building the Maison de Verre and the artwork the Large Glass, and places new primary and archival material on them in the context of social, sexual and medical history of 1920s and 30s Paris.
In this talk Dr Emma Cheatle will trace the methodology that she has evolved to write about subjects that are historically left out of architectural and urban history, theory and humanities discourse, namely the subjects of the gendered body, health and care.
She will begin with a revisiting of her 2017 book Part-Architecture: The Maison de Verre, Duchamp, Domesticity and Desire in 1930s Paris, that was developed out of her PhD research undertaken at the Bartlett, UCL. Here, making new kinds of analyses of a modernist iconic building, she was interested primarily in how the building constructed attitudes towards sexuality and women’s health.
From this, travelling through her more recent research on histories of spaces of lying-in and maternal practices, and new research on embodied ‘storying’ of spatial health and care, she will draw out her combined interdisciplinary methodology of close observation through drawing and looking, and archival and literary research with creative and embodied writing. This research practice continues to be closely aligned to the material it analyses, namely spaces of health and care, and the bodies that use and inhabit them.
Her postdoctoral research, also a forthcoming book, examined the spatial histories of lying-in and maternal practices. She is working on a new research project on embodied ‘storying’ of spatial health and care using ethnography, participatory arts and new historical analysis. with Hélène Frichot she is editing a major retrospective on the feminist theorist Jennifer Bloomer for the Journal of Architecture. She is the UK Editor for the Bloomsbury Global Encyclopaedia of Women in Architecture 1960–2015 (2021)