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A one-day symposium held together with the exhibition of Catherine Yass’s film works in Ambika P3

About this event

The symposium will bring together researchers and practitioners from a diverse range of disciplines to discuss the agency of falling in contemporary culture. Metaphors of falling are often evoked to describe the current period of insecurity and instability. At the same time, the built environment reflects and in turns reproduces this state of suspension: while highrise construction reshapes the landscapes of cities around the world, including London, its impact on our perception of gravity is yet to be understood. Typically defined as ‘the force that makes objects fall toward the earth’, gravity is so pervasive that we may overlook the ways in which it conditions our daily lives, and how we abandon ourselves to its force – or resist it.

How do creative practices engage with the perception of gravity, balance and falling? Can they mediate our fears and desires to lose the ground? What links can be drawn between the vertiginous spaces of our cities and the conditions of social instability in which we live? These and other related issues will be addressed from a variety of perspectives drawing on art, architecture, design, geography, psychology, and dance. Structured around a series of conversations, the symposium will conclude with a panel discussion with the artist Catherine Yass.

The event is organised in conjunction with Falling Away, a major exhibition of Catherine Yass’s work in Ambika P3. Curated by Davide Deriu and Michael Mazière, the exhibition comprises seven vertiginous films of modern architectural structures that embody the institutions which built them. Spanning the past two decades, it is the first retrospective of the artist’s extensive body of film work in the UK. The joint events are aligned with the Vertigo in the City project based at the School of Architecture + Cities, University of Westminster.

Register for tickets for the private view of Falling Away on 21st October

Confirmed speakers

  • Ruth Anderwald + Leonhard Grond, Artists-Researchers and Professors of Artistic Research, University of Applied Arts Vienna
  • Amy Butt, Practising Architect and Lecturer in Architecture, University of Reading
  • Emilyn Claid, Dance artist, director, performer and educator
  • John Golding, Professor of Applied Psychology, University of Westminster
  • Andrew Harris, Associate Professor in Geography and Urban Studies, University College London
  • Catherine James, Art Historian and Lecturer in Academic Practice, University of the Arts London
  • Michael Mazière, Ambika P3 curator and Reader in Film and Video, University of Westminster
  • Brendan Walker, Thrill Engineer and Professor of Creative Industries, Middlesex University
  • Catherine Yass, London-based artist
  • Convenor: Davide Deriu, School of Architecture + Cities, University of Westminster

View the Programme for the 'Falling Away' Symposium

View the Falling Away Exhibition Catalogue

Important information - Covid Response

The University of Westminster have introduced a range of measures to ensure your safety and wellbeing whilst attending events on campus, including the requirement for face-coverings to be worn when indoors - unless you have an exemption, directional markings, hand-sanitisation points, and safety screens.

Please refer to the following page for further details:

In-person attendance will be limited to 50 attendees. If you book a place and cannot attend the event, please ensure that you cancel your booking via Eventbrite, so this can be released for another attendee.

All in person attendees must book in advance via Eventbrite. If you have not booked in advance, you will not be admitted to the event.

Should you have any questions or queries please feel free to contact


Given the limited number of tickets available, the symposium will be simultaneously webcast on Zoom - with a link to the session to follow shortly before the event.

For those attending remotely, participation in any Q&A sessions will be via text in the Chat window only - you will not be asked to pose your question in camera, and a moderator will pick a selection of questions and ask the speaker on their behalf.


We want to ensure our events are inclusive and accessible to all. Should you have any specific access requirements, or have any queries, please do contact us via: so we can ensure these are accommodated.


The symposium is generously supported by the British Academy.

Venue (for in person attendance)

University of Westminster

School of Architecture + Cities

35 Marylebone Road



United Kingdom

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