Urban Imaginaries: Students‘ Workshop

The international workshop brings together students from Indian and German Universities who are studying architecture, art history / education or photography. Accompanied by the curatorial team and in conversation with renowned scholars and artists who are partially participating in CPB Edition III, the participating students will explore the topic of “urban imaginaries” – one of the key topics of CPB Edition III: Maps of Disquiet - through close readings of exemplarily architectural manifestations, both in India and in Germany, that can be compared in their function as symbols for the new society after WWII or in the aftermath of colonialism. 

Besides approaching new topics, the students will deepen their methodological knowledge by learning more about mapping strategies, while also developing such exercises themselves, and exploring transcultural avenues of thought through the experience of international working groups. The results will be put together to form an "associative map" of urban imaginaries that entangles the Chennai region and the Ruhr Area. Selected guests who are participating in the workshop (Katja Stuke, Oliver Sieber, Yuvan Aves) will assist to bring this associative map into a form to be published on our biennale website.  

The Urban imaginaries-workshop is conceived by CPB co-curators Kerstin Meincke and Bhooma Padmanabhan. 

Parts of the workshop are opened for the public audience. Please join us for the following talks and presentations and help spread the word in other educational and cultural networks. 

Public Presentations: 


Friday, November 19, 2021 | 3.00 - 4.30 PM IST / 10.30 AM - 12.00 PM CET

Presentations by 

  • Yuvan Aves on ongoing “Urban Wilderness Walk” project. 

  • Katja Stuke + Oliver Sieber on “La cartographie dynamique” with a particular focus on Chennai.  

Register here


Monday, November 22, 2021

Part 1: 2.00 - 3.30 PM IST  / 9.30 - 11.00 AM CET 

Presentations by 

  • Thirupurasundari Sevvel on Mapping the living heritage of Madras - Understanding the tangibles through intangibles

  • Tim Rieniets on Modern architecture in the Ruhr Area. 

Part 2: 6:30 - 8:00 PM IST / 2:00 - 3:30 PM CET

Presentations by 

  • Nico Joana Weber on modern architecture and educational buildings, both in Germany and in Nigeria. 

  • Ram Rahman on Architect Habib Rahman’s photographic archives.

Register here

Participating universities: Anna University, Chennai, India (School of Architecture and Planning), University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany (Institute for Art and Art History), and Folkwang University of Arts, Essen, Germany (Photography Department). 

Academic supervisors: Gabriele Genge, Kerstin Meincke, Kiranmayi Raparthi, Elke Seeger.

About the speakers 

Katja Stuke and Oliver Sieber

Katja Stkke and Oliver Sieber’s presentation titled “The Indian Defense”, 2021 explains the virtual mapping of the Chennai city from Düsseldorf. 

Katja Stuke (*1968) and Oliver Sieber (1966) live and work in Düsseldorf, Germany. They cover an extensive range of personas: photographers and artists, curators and exhibition organizers, designers and art book editors. Regardless, in their works and activities as artists and art facilitators they have long since become moderators of a very specific photographic culture. Since 2005 they have worked regularly abroad, including artist residencies in Osaka, Tokyo, Paris, Chicago, Chongqing, Rotterdam, Sarajevo and Toronto.

Nico Joana Weber

Nico Joana Weber (Ludwigshafen, Germany) speaks of her interest in modernist education architecture in Germany and Nigeria. She will present extracts of her film "Markasit" (2014) and give an insight into her new project, "No Longer A Single Root" (2021), commissioned by Chennai Photo Biennale.

Nico Joana Weber lives and works in Ludwigshafen am Rhein, Germany. By means of different artistic media such as video, installation, photography and drawing, she explores the aesthetic and political characteristics of architecture and landscape in transcultural contexts. Weber's work is fuelled by an unsteady search for historical traces and cultural processes of transformation and appropriation that doesn't arrive at simplistic solutions but rather focuses on zones of ambivalence. 

Ram Rahman

Ram Rahman’s  presentation focuses on the photographic archive of architect Habib Rahman, 1950s-1980s, his connection with Walter Gropius, and the relevance of looking back at post-colonial Indian Modernism, especially now, when the political climate has become proto-fascist.

Photographer, artist, curator, designer and activist Ram Rahman, graduated from Modern School in 1973. Later, Rahman completed a degree in Graphic Design from Yale University’s School of Art in 1979. Ram has been lecturing on aspects of contemporary Indian photography and architecture in the last few years at various museums and galleries.The artist lives and works in New Delhi.


Thirupurasundari sevvel

Thirupurasundari Sevvel’s presentation titled “Mapping the living heritage of Madras” talks about the post independent architecture of Madras with basic features and examples.


Thirupurasundari Sevvel is an Architect and Urban Planner trained in India, UK and France. She runs ‘Studio Conclave’, an architectural consultancy and ‘Nam Veedu Nam Oor Nam Kadhai’, an initiative that stems from her passion for storytelling , heritage , history and education. For her platform Thirupurasundari curates stories , exhibitions, workshops on social issues , heritage , household heritage , personal/ social history etc and uses her expertise as material restorer and conservationist to document traditional techniques and practices of design.

Tim Rieniets


Tim Rieniets' research and mediation activities focused in particular on the topics of shrinking cities, segregation and integration in urban development as well as conversion and revitalization strategies for residential buildings, commercial properties and churches. 

Tim Rieniets is professor for urban and spatial development in a diversified society. Trained as an architect, Tim Rieniets has devoted himself to researching, conveying and discussing contemporary issues in architecture and urban development in his professional career. He was involved in research and exhibition projects at home and abroad and has published numerous writings and award-winning specialist books.


Yuvan Aves

Yuvan Aves is here to talk about the broad philosophy and purpose of urban wilderness in relation to mapping. His presentation intends to disrupt and shift the way we perceive urban landscapes.

Yuvan is a writer, educator, naturalist, and activist based in Chennai. His interests include reimagining an Earth-centric and child-centric education in schools, the reciprocity between languages and ecologies, and ground-up processes of change and politics. He writes on topics at the intersection of ecology, education, and human consciousness. He is currently travelling and documenting stories of biodiversity, people and change along the Indian coastline.


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