Cecilia De Marinis
Dorotea Ottaviani


2020 has challenged our ways of living and making sense of the world, driving us to rethinking our daily life in both the private and public spheres. Public space has especially been questioned; our understanding of it and the way we use it have been completely revolutionised, opening up new interpretations and evaluations.
At the end of 2020 Rhizoma Design and Research Lab launched a Call for Postcards, inviting architects, designers, artists, and activists to reflect upon the paradigm shift happening in our cities, observing and documenting the changing everyday praxis of inhabiting public space as well as envisioning its future, capturing those reflections and ideas in a Postcard.
In a time when access to public space was restricted and art in public was paused, the call explored the role of a virtual space for the active creation, sharing, and fruition of public artworks. 
The call led to a virtual and physical exhibition titled Back to the Future of Public Space: Postcards from 2020 which has become an observatory of, perspectives, memories, and visions that are currently shaping public space, transforming the individual contributions in a collective narrative. 


How to Cite
De Marinis, C. and Ottaviani, D. (2022) “Activism, Participation and Art during the Pandemic: the Project Back to the Future of Public Space”, The Journal of Public Space, 7(3), pp. 87–100. doi: 10.32891/jps.v7i3.1591.
Author Biographies

Cecilia De Marinis, Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia (IAAC)

Cecilia De Marinis is an Italian Architect, researcher, and educator, with a PhD in Urban Sustainable Design. Her research interests are in urban regeneration, public space dynamics, and the interplay between people and space, as well as in design research and experimental pedagogy. She is the Coordinator of the Master in Robotics and Advanced Construction (MRAC) at the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia (IAAC) where she is contributing to the delivery of this groundbreaking education model.
She is co-founder of Rhizoma Design and Research Lab, a space for research and design in the urban environment, based in Barcelona (SP), Rome (IT), and Melbourne (AU). Prior to joining IAAC, she was a Lecturer in Architecture at Deakin University from 2018 to 2022, where she pursued her research interests and established her educational profile, especially focusing on innovation in design research methods. Cecilia’s research on design research and education started in 2015 when she joined RMIT Europe Barcelona (SP) as a Post-doc Research Fellow within the European project ADAPT-r ITN followed by her joining RMIT University in Melbourne (AU) in 2017 as a Post-doc Research Fellow within the DAP_r project. Outcomes of her research work have been published in academic journals, presented at international conferences, and exhibited in different institutions in Europe, Australia, and the US.

Dorotea Ottaviani, University of Bologna

Dorotea Ottaviani is an architect, researcher, and educator, currently serving as a post-doctorial research associate at the Department of Architecture, University of Bologna. She was Senior Project Associate with the College of Architecture and Urban Studies (CAUS) at Virginia Tech (USA), contributing to the coordination and management of the Practice-based PhD program at Virginia Tech.
Dr Ottaviani collaborates in a range of special projects central to the implementation of innovative experiential and practice-based pedagogies. As an Experience Researcher for the European Union-funded project ADAPT-r ITN at the Glasgow School of Art (UK), she explored the role of Tacit Knowledge in the Design Research for the Creative Practices.
Her interests have always been nurtured through both academic research and professional practice and span from urban renewal and architectural adaptive reuse to interior design and design research.


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