STREET SIGNS is the official publishing platform of the Centre for Urban and Community Research (CUCR) at Goldsmiths, University of London.

CUCR is a well established interdisciplinary research centre within Goldsmiths’ Department of Sociology with a distinguished history of collaboration with local communities and activists. It combines theoretical investigation with critical ‘local’ project implementation from Deptford to Jakarta.

CUCR Manifesto 2024

1. Our collective CUCR project is a way of knowing and being that looks outwards from New Cross. Our interventions seek to understand and reimagine how we live together in cities and beyond. We work collectively towards building reparative and justice-oriented futures with human and more-than-human communities.

2. When Nikolas Rose founded the Centre in 1994, he described it as a place where ‘The Frankfurt School meets the Chicago School on the banks of the Thames’. This is our spatial baseline, globally connected with scholars from Jakarta, Durban, Mexico City, Seoul, São Paulo, Gaza and many more. We are a meeting place of global urbanisms.

3. Researching locally, thinking globally. Our location - in the heart of New Cross - asks questions of us that we must respond to with different communities. These have included pollution, racism, development and gentrification, environmental issues and housing. Our feet are in South East London but we approach the locality with a planetary imagination and global sense of place. We are multiple criss-crossing diasporas.

4. We believe in thinking together. Our work engages with and is enriched by the local communities and the organisations that we work with. Our mode of operating values collectivities, including our own. Our sociology is sociable. We walk, read and write together. Both the international and inter-connected local intellectual ecologies are what makes us.

5. We analyse the city with a close eye and ear on the paradoxes of urban life, its daily injustices and joys; the racism that is deeply intertwined with its conviviality, the sexism and homophobia, alongside the im/possibilities of communities.

6. We read and weave the political, economic and cultural life of the city, its pleasures and exclusions. From sound systems to cinemas, pubs to bowling alleys, shopping centres to seafood stands, rivers to factories, dance halls and cathedrals, marches to swimming.

7. If in doubt, go for a walk. We have a long history of researching within cities from its streets, parks and pools. This stimulates sociological curiosities, keeping us in touch with the dynamism of multi-species urban lives, which won’t stand still for us to research and capture. Taking us beyond cities, to connected landscapes and deep time.

8. Thinking with a democracy of the senses is fundamental to understanding both the universals and particulars of urban lives, as well as the specific and abstract. Cities are spectacular and can be understood partly visually. Cities also need to be listened to, touched and tasted to be understood.

9. We are committed to both teaching and learning from our students. We have close affiliations to graduate programmes – within Goldsmiths and beyond – that encourage the artistic, interdisciplinary and creative interplay between visual practice, the senses and sensory experiences, urban theory, research methods and ethics, critical reflexivity, individual and developments by communities.

10. We practise ‘Live Methods’ (Back and Puwar, 2012) with a deep commitment to activating creative methods in the making and sharing of our research. Issues are alive, as is our sociological imagination, engaged in interdisciplinary roaming to wherever the research problem takes us.

CUCR Steering Group 2024: Jennifer FleetwoodEmma Jackson, Nirmal Puwar, Alex Rhys-Taylor, Simon Rowe, Zoe Walshe

Beyond current projects, this website contains some older words and images produced by CUCR members, giving insights into their research. A complete archive of our members’ previous work (up to 2021) can be found in our Old Blog.

If you have any comments, suggestions and/or ideas for new content, please, feel free to get in touch: ︎

And remember to check back for regular updates!

Director of CUCR: Dr Emma Jackson
Editor of STREET SIGNS: Claire Levy

Centre for Urban and Community Research
Department of Sociology
Goldsmiths, University of London
8 Lewisham Way, London SE14 6NW

︎ Website designed with Cargo by George Kalivis.