Background

In the early hours of 14 June 2017, a fire broke out within the kitchen of flat 16 on the fourth floor of Grenfell Tower, a residential high-rise block of flats located in the Lancaster West Estate in North Kensington W11. The block sits within one of the richest neighbourhoods in Europe. Within a matter of hours, the majority of the tower was substantially destroyed by fire, with the tragic loss of 72 lives; this was the worst loss of life to fire in domestic premises since the Second World War. 

The Inquiry

An Inquiry was set up on 15 August 2017 to examine the circumstances leading up to and surrounding the fire under a retired judge, Sir Martin Moore-Bick. Phase 1 of the Inquiry focussed on the events on the night of 14 June 2017. Hearings for Phase 1 began on 21 May 2018 and concluded on 12 December 2018. The Chairman published his Phase 1 report on 30 October 2019; he concluded inter alia that:

there was compelling evidence that the external walls of the building failed to comply with Requirement B4(1) of Schedule 1 to the Building Regulations 2010, in that they did not adequately resist the spread of fire having regard to the height, use and position of the building. On the contrary, they actively promoted it.Phase 2 of the Inquiry is examining the causes of these events, including how Grenfell Tower came to be in a condition which allowed the fire to spread in the way identified by Phase 1. Hearings for Phase 2 began in January 2020, but have been suspended since 16 March following the COVID-19 outbreak.

Seminars

This series of seminars (2 -3 chaired panels of papers, author presented to an audience, with discussant comments and general discussion), hosted by the Bartlett School of Construction and Project Management in association with the School of History, Philosophy and Social Sciences, Bangor University, seeks to accompany the Inquiry by discussing the key financial, economic, management and social phenomena in urban housing that led to the disaster in an academic setting.

Four seminars will examine the key aspects of the climate and context in which the disaster occurred to try to extrapolate the wider implications and lessons for how urban housing is funded, managed, and supports the social and working lives of urban inhabitants. The seminars will be held at dates to be fixed in the autumn of 2020, either in person or virtually, depending on the regulations then in place.

What we are looking for

We will accept individual twenty-minute talks as well as complete panel submissions and roundtables. Individual abstracts should be 250-300 words. Panels are expected to consist of three or four papers and should be submitted by one person who is willing to serve as the point of contact. Complete panels should also include a chair. In addition to abstracts for each individual paper, panel and roundtable submissions should also include a 100-150 word introduction describing the main theme. Applications are welcomed from experienced practitioners, tenant groups, legal and business fields as well as academic researchers. 

All submissions should be received by Monday, 29 June 2020 with decisions on inclusion announced by Friday, 17 July. Submissions should be made by email to [email protected] or [email protected]. The decision to include a submission rests with the organizers. Please submit all information in the body of your email (no attachments or PDFs, thank you) and in the following order: name, affiliation, email, paper title, abstract, keywords.

Each of the seminars will follow a theme, please visit the website here to explore the themes which we would like papers submitted about. 

Outcome

It is envisioned that some form of publication, of both papers and proceedings (recorded video or text or otherwise), will follow from the conferences. 


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