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Critical Subjects Background

The origins of the summer school


mantownhuman (manifesto towards a new humanism) was founded to initiate a debate over the future of architecture and to build a new educational tradition. They believe that only by critically engaging with ideas that are widely accepted and seldom debated can we develop an architectural vision for our time. Together with an alliance of designers, practitioners and educators willing to take intellectual and practical risks, mantownhuman hopes to make a contribution to the contemporary debate in order to create opportunities in the future.


Alastair Donald

Alistair Donald

Alastair Donald is project director for the British Pavilion for Venice Architecture Biennale 2014. He is associate director of the Future Cities Project, convenor of the Critical Subjects Architecture and Design Summer School 2014, and co-editor of The Lure of the City: From Slums to Suburbs. Alastair has worked in urban design and urban planning, construction, property, regeneration and urban policy. He has advised on urban policy at the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, and masterplanning and urban design at the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment.

Austin Williams

Austin Williams

Austin Williams is director of the Future Cities Project and associate professor of architecture, XJTLU, Suzhou, China. With Alastair, he co-wrote the mantownhuman manifesto, which is included in the Penguin Classics “100 Artists Manifestos” and he is the managing editor of Masterplanning the Future which is the first independent online architecture magazine in China written in English. Austin is the China correspondent for The Architectural Review and contributing editor for Architectural Review (Pacific Region), Australia. He is the author of The Enemies of Progress and co-edited The Future of Community. He is currently writing a book on education in China, and working on the new Masters programme for September.


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