The Institute for Social Futures and the Sociology Department and Lancaster Institute for Contemporary Arts are delighted to announce the appointment of Dr Melissa Fernández to a lectureship in Urban Futures. The appointment is one of Lancaster University’s 50th anniversary lectureships, one of four to be appointed at the Institute, and the first to be affiliated with LICA.
Melissa joins the ISF, and the Departments of Sociology and LICA, from the London School of Economics, where she was an Associate Professorial Research Fellow at LSE London, an interdisciplinary research centre based out of the Geography and Environment Department. Melissa’s research looks at urban futures through the socio-material ‘making’ and ‘unmaking’ of homes in places like Puerto Rico, Brazil, South Asia the UK and other European countries. Her work has ranged from the trajectories and experiences of social housing evictions and resettlements, to the production of alternative home futures, especially cohousing, through collaborative, community-led practices. The issues of gender, race and ‘belonging’ cut across all of these interests.
Commenting on her appointment, Melissa said: ‘Our understanding of urban futures everywhere is enriched when we take the realm of the home as a serious object of inquiry where historical desires, everyday life and future aspirations intersect. I’m particularly interested in how the discourses, practices and materialities of housing get mobilised during times of crisis and austerity in the name of imagined futures, at the same time that they enable radical individual and collective transformations that project hope.’
The intellectual propositions at the Institute for Social Futures and Lancaster’s broader cutting-edge research community, Melissa said, provide a stimulating space from where to pursue cross-disciplinary work that thinks critically and relationally about urban, everyday and mobility futures. ‘I’m excited to form part of this leading UK institution and to work with new colleagues and initiatives at the ISF, Sociology and LICA.’