2014-2015 - University of East London

Unit 8,  The Sound of the Division Bell


Diploma Unit 8

+ Unit Brief

This year saw the most closely fought British general election in history; the unit's research and investigations were centred around the Palace of Westminster. Home to the UK Parliament, a place and Palace that we all thought we knew but, upon closer investigation, posed more serious questions and challenges.

The year started with an individual design and advocacy project to create a soapbox to debate on at Speakers' Corner, Hyde Park. Here the students tested their own political and design convictions on a public audience. Their topics ranged from 'should technology rule the world' to the 'rigging of the Scottish referendum.'

We then immersed ourselves in a period of deep and detailed observation of the Palace of Westminster and in particular an unchartered area whose origins are at the Palace's very heart: the Division Bell area, a region of the city that is 8 minutes, walk, run, cycle and ministerial motorcade away from the division lobby doors of both the Houses of Lords and the Commons. The bell rings out in pubs and clubs throughout Westminster, and Members and Lords race to dive through the doors of the lobby before they are locked shut, the vote is cast and the law is passed. This area, which is so central to the workings of our democratic system, had remained uncharted. The Unit mapped this by foot, by bike, by car and even by boat for the very first time. The result was delivered to the Palace of Westminster as a piece of original research.

+ Unit Members

Tutor: Alex Scott-Whitby


Year 4: Robin Philpott, Sagal Muhumad, Stephanie Chalaktevaki, Aaron Jones, Michalis Georgiou

Year 5: Farihah Anwar, Sayed Sharestani, Yosuke Nakano

Visiting Critics: Rory Pennant-Rea, Roger Whiteman, Owen Hopkins, Chris Williamson, Osman Marfo-Gyasi, Anna Pizova, Paulina Huukari

Special thanks to: PellFrischmann Engineers, Weston Williamson+Partners, Element Energy