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The City Talks Back

Tom Western’s new project and a new course

The City Talks Back

Dr Tom Western joined UCL Geography in July 2020 having spent the last four years in Athens where his research centred on sound and citizenship.  In Athens he is a member of the Syrian and Greek Youth Forum who are developing methods of creative activism to become citizens in Greek society.

A new project, launched online at the end of September, is The City Talks Back, bringing together architects, urbanists, activists, artists and anthropologists to explore the political voices of contemporary Athens.

Initiated by London-based urban research organisation Theatrum Mundi and hosted by Athens-based cultural foundation Onassis Stegi, the project aims to question who is (and isn’t) heard in Athens and how the audibility of voices changes across its varying public spaces. Contributions from the project participants are now gathered online at

Tom is developing a series of videos for the project that remap Athens through rhythms, relations, circles, circulations, and echoes. These use history, poetry, and the contemporary urban landscape to argue for an open city and new forms of citizenship built on shared resistance and commonality.

The videos – in English and Greek – are available atπαγκόσμια-ηχώ/

The project will continue with online performances and discussions over the coming months, culminating in a public assembly in Athens in summer 2021.

Meanwhile, at UCL Geography, Tom is introducing a new MSc course, Migratory Activisms, Creative Citizenships. This explores how citizenship is not just something conferred or denied by the nation-state but is also crafted and claimed at street level. It will trace activist and resistance movements in various global contexts, exploring ways of belonging that are not limited by national borders.

For more on the work of the Syrian and Greek Youth Forum:


Loudspeaker and bread, Athens

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